REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – Potential jurors in the Scott Peterson (search) double-murder trial will be questioned about whether they have ever had an extramarital affair or lost a child when selection begins next week.
A judge on Monday scheduled the opening stages of jury selection after lawyers outlined questions they plan to ask San Mateo County (search) residents who report for duty next Monday.
Potential jurors will be handed a questionnaire designed to probe their attitudes on everything from the death penalty to how much news they've absorbed about the case.
Judge Alfred A. Delucchi (search) said he will give prosecutors another chance to add questions Tuesday, but at 120 questions the form is nearly complete.
It may be tough to find 12 jurors and six alternates with limited exposure to a case that has already generated a made-for-television movie, and the questioning of jurors is expected to take weeks.
It was unclear how many jurors would be questioned in the first day, but a court spokeswoman said 400 potential jurors show up on a typical day to supply all the cases in the courthouse.
In other developments Monday, the judge deferred a decision about the admissibility of wiretap evidence because defense lawyer Mark Geragos said he may present witnesses on the issue Tuesday. Delucchi also ruled that Geragos cannot call as a witness a judge who let investigators wiretap Peterson's phones.
Delucchi said it would be "contrary to public policy" to force his colleague, Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Wray Ladine, to testify.
Geragos wants Delucchi to toss out all wiretap evidence gathered in the weeks after Laci Peterson's disappearance, saying investigators violated Scott Peterson's attorney-client privilege when they listened to snippets of conversations with his first attorney, Kirk McAllister.
Peterson's phones were tapped last year from Jan. 10 to Feb. 4 and again from April 15-18 — the latter period was when the bodies of Laci Peterson and her unborn son washed up on a San Francisco Bay shore. Soon after, authorities arrested Scott Peterson on suspicion of killing them on the morning of Christmas Eve, 2002.
With both sides bound by a gag order, it's unclear exactly what evidence prosecutors plan to use from the wiretaps.