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We are on "verdict watch" — waiting to see what the Peterson (search) jury will do. The options are: life without parole, death and no unanimous decision (which the judge is then compelled to sentence Peterson to 'life without parole.') Most of us have had a "feeling" what the jury will do, or not do, but for some of us that feeling is constantly changing. Bottom line: We don't know. I don't know.
I do think the defense has a tough job to get "life" for their client, but they could get it. This murder is horrendous and there is not much to say about Peterson to spare his life. The defense's best shot is one hold out on the jury, since that is automatic life without parole and not death. You may know from our show that there was not much for the defense to argue to spare his life from a strict California law perspective, but there is this notion of "lingering doubt" which the defense argued Thursday.
Lingering doubt means that despite the verdict, there is a very small "piece" of the juror that thinks MAYBE he did not do it. The jury convicted Peterson "beyond a reasonable doubt," but not beyond ALL doubt. The law does not require "all doubt" for a conviction. It is possible — but I have no idea if this is true — that a juror could think: "Yes, my guilty verdict is absolutely right beyond a reasonable doubt, but I am still troubled by the fact that there is no murder weapon, no murder scene, no cause of death and no one saw him dump the body. So, for the ultimate penalty of death, I am going to hold back."
When will the jury decide? Again, no one knows. However, many think that the jury will decide before the end of Friday. The conventional wisdom — but just a guess — is that the jury will not want to sit in a hotel all weekend long so will decide today.
Here are some randomly selected e-mails:
E-mail No. 1
You are a disgrace to the legal profession. The law is supposed to be clear-cut without emotion. I cannot see how you can sit there and allow bloodthirsty 'guests' appear on your show. But, of course, you set the tone.
The mother of Laci Peterson is not someone special, nor should she be treated as such. She is not the only one who has become a victim at the hands of another. Scott, even though he has been found guilty he is not the worst killer of all time and is not the diabolical person your program promotes. There have been for worse than he.
We are fast becoming a nation of nasty, vindictive, people. Just look around. Former misdemeanors have become felonies. Jail terms have been lengthened beyond all hope of rehabilitation. Life sentences are handed out as routine. As evidence, it is well known, in this land of the free, we have more people in jail per capita than any other 'free' nation.
I deplore victim impact statements and the Scott Peterson case is a striking example. Couple that with the emotions that were being promoted from the beginning I have sincere doubts that he is in fact, guilty. Well, I don't believe he was proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt or on any evidence to support fact. The small, but important qualification contained in the Judge's instruction suggests, he, too, has doubts and opened the door for a life sentence.
Our un-justice system needs adjustment.
OK, yes, this next e-mail says nice things, but I figured from time to time you might want to see a nice email:
E-mail No. 2
I had never heard of the name "Greta" before the Scott Peterson Trial. But, my interest in this court case has been sparked because of you.
I work late, and found you on FOX by accident one evening. Now, for months I watch you every night. I was having a hard time the next day at work because I was so tired, so I purchased a subscription with Dish so I could get a DVR and now I automatically tape you every single night so I can watch you earlier.
I also like the type of stories you cover, and feel confident that if I ever have a loved one that was lost, you would help me find them by your broadcasting stories about missing people.
Thanks Greta ... you have made my life more interesting, and I thank you.
E-mail No. 3
Even if it's true that he killed Laci and the baby, I still feel sad for him. At the end of the day, the lawyers go home (with money), the jury goes home (feeling powerful), Amber goes home (makes money as does her ——- attorney), the Rochas feel vindicated (they won't live long enough to see him put to death), the Petersons will have shorter lives because of this, it makes me angry.
Gloria Allred a disgrace, an absolute disgrace, I would love to sit in on her meeting with God when he asks her what good she did while here. I wonder if she puts the mirror down at home.
Even Scott Petersen deserved better council than he received, what a joke, and don't even get me started on dismissed juror who became and expert on the jury when he is no more knowledgeable than me. Unbelievable. Only in America.
Santa Rosa, CA
E-mail No. 4
I am so glad that you had David Gest on your show because he is a good power of example for men who are abused by their spouses. He has courage to say this openly and this will help other men to come forward and to exit from abusive relationships. Men are so afraid to say that women are violent or that they are victims. So, I respect David for doing so. Lisa is lucky that he has a gentle manner and he didn't retaliate.
E-mail No. 5
Greta...isn't it possible that the jurors' tears were exacerbated by the fact that they knew how much pain they were going to put this mom in b/c they are going to vote "death?"
E-mail No. 6
Life in prison for Scott. That's the only way. Death is too quick. Not easy just quick.
Give him time to dwell on what he has done. Maybe in time he will be remorseful and show it. Not yet he hasn't, but in time he will.
E-mail No. 7
Scads of people sent bouquets of flowers to the Peterson Family today with messages of love, prayers for Scott's vindication and strength for their family.
Lee and Jackie need to know that all the world is not against them — in fact many are embracing them and thoroughly believe in Scott's innocence.
It WILL be proven on appeal.
Thank you Greta,
Watch "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren" weeknights at 10 p.m. ET