REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – No video or still cameras will be allowed in the courtroom for the verdict in Scott Peterson's (search) murder trial, the judge ruled, citing concern for the families of both the former fertilizer salesman and his slain wife.
Judge Alfred A. Delucchi (search) also ruled Thursday that transcripts from the many private meetings with attorneys held in his chambers throughout the trial will remain sealed. "The defendant's right to a fair trial trumps the public's need to know," Delucchi said.
Meanwhile, jurors deliberated Peterson's fate for a second day before breaking up around 4 p.m.
Peterson faces two counts of murder in the deaths of his wife, Laci, and the fetus she carried. Prosecutors claim Peterson killed his wife around Christmas Eve 2002, then dumped her weighted body into San Francisco Bay. Her badly decomposed remains and those of the fetus were discovered four months later, not far from where Peterson claims to have been fishing alone the day she vanished.
Defense lawyers claim someone else abducted and killed the Modesto woman, then placed the bodies in the water.
The issue of television coverage pitted both the prosecution and defense against the news media.
"The public has not seen what has happened in this trial in a way that only can be seen over television," media attorney Rochelle Wilcox argued during the open court hearing Thursday.
The judge previously had agreed to allow television coverage of the verdict, but reversed his ruling after attorneys on both sides of the case filed a joint motion opposing it.
Prosecutor Dave Harris told the judge that cameras would "focus in on someone's grief, someone's anguish and that has nothing to do with teaching what the legal system is all about."
Delucchi told Wilcox that he thought the media were "interested more in this verdict as a spectacle rather than for the public's confidence in the judicial system."
The verdict will, however, be captured on a live audio feed, the judge ruled.