REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – The judge in Scott Peterson's (search) murder trial on Monday banned cameras from the courtroom out of fear that jurors and witnesses would "get antsy."
Judge Alfred A. Delucchi also agreed to delay the trial by at least a week because Peterson's lawyer, Mark Geragos (search), is defending another murder suspect in Southern California. Neither side was willing to speculate when the trial would now begin.
On the camera issue, Delucchi rejected arguments by media lawyers who argued that the public has a right to see images from the trial.
"Jurors get antsy when there's cameras in the court. Witnesses get antsy," Delucchi said during the 20-minute hearing. "The print media is welcome. This is not going to be a secret trial."
Attorney Karl Olson, who represented several newspapers, told the judge that coverage of the trial would be improved with photographs -- just as front-page pictures enhanced coverage of the Super Bowl (search).
The judge berated Olson: "This isn't the Super Bowl."
Prosecutors agreed with Geragos, who argued that in-court cameras would only make the trial "a bigger zoo than it already is."
Peterson appeared in court for the first time since the case was moved from his hometown of Modesto to this bedroom community south of San Francisco. He told the judge he accepted as "a regrettable necessity" his attorney's request to postpone the start of the trial.
A noticeably thinner Peterson, wearing a light gray suit, smiled at his parents and other relatives as he walked into court. The parents of Laci Peterson (search) and about a dozen other family members also attended.
The day saw little of the frenzy the sensational case is expected to generate -- just 10 of the 25 seats available to local citizens were filled.
County officials have asked television stations to pay $51,000 to reserve one of 16 sidewalk spaces outside the courthouse for the duration of the trial, which is expected to last six months. Pelted by a dark rain, just two television tents were up Monday morning as lawyers assembled in the courtroom.
Geragos also dropped his initial insistence that another judge handle the trial. Outside court, he told reporters he now thinks Delucchi "is even-handed, is fair and that's all we're asking for."
Left undecided was the possible sequestration of jurors. That could be discussed at another hearing scheduled for next Monday.
Peterson, 31, could face the death penalty if he is convicted of two counts of murder for the deaths of Laci Peterson and the couple's unborn son. In April, the remains of mother and child washed ashore along San Francisco Bay, two miles from the spot where Scott Peterson said he was fishing on Christmas Eve 2002, when his wife vanished.