FRESNO, Calif. – Scott Peterson's (search) six-month murder trial and three months of jury selection racked up costs of more than $700,000 for the San Mateo County Superior Court, slightly more than half of which has been reimbursed, a judge said Tuesday.
The trial was moved from Modesto in Stanislaus County (search) after a judge found Peterson couldn't get a fair trial in the town where he and his wife, Laci, lived. State law requires costs for moving a trial to be paid by the original court.
Presiding Judge George Miram said the money has been coming in from the Stanislaus County court too slowly. The San Mateo court has only received about $400,000 so far.
"It's money out of pocket for us," Miram said. "The day will come, if we don't get reimbursed, that we'll be looking at a loss of positions or layoffs."
Stanislaus County Court Executive Officer Michael Tozzi said his court cannot afford to pay any additional costs without its own cutbacks or layoffs. He said his court has asked the state to help.
In addition to court costs, entities of San Mateo County (search), including the sheriff's department and public works office, spent roughly $500,000 on Peterson-related items, said Lee Lazaro, director of finance for the sheriff's department. Those costs included extra deputies, security, transportation and housing for Peterson in the jail.
Stanislaus County, an entity separate from the county's court, is responsible for reimbursing those costs, Lazaro said.
Peterson was convicted Nov. 12 in the murders of his pregnant wife and the fetus she carried. Jurors recommended a death sentence. Peterson is set to be formally sentenced March 11.