Published January 14, 2015
This is a partial transcript from On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, January 21, 2004. On Thursday, the day after this interview was conducted, prosecutors in the murder case against Scott Peterson exercised their authority to remove the judge appointed to preside at the trial.
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GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Tonight, there's a new judge assigned to the Scott Peterson murder trial. Judge Richard Arnason (search) will preside over the case in Redwood City, California, where the case was just moved. Arnason is a retired Contra Costa judge who has spent 41 years on the bench presiding over several high-profile cases.
And joining us from San Francisco is criminal-defense attorney Michael Cardoza who has tried cases before Judge Arnason.
MICHAEL CARDOZA, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Hi, Greta. How are you?
VAN SUSTEREN: Good. So, Michael, give me the rundown. What's this judge like?
CARDOZA: He's -- he's an outstanding, outstanding trial judge. I think the district attorney and Mr. Geragos are going to love to try a case in front of this judge. He brings the wisdom of all those years on the bench. He brings the wisdom of age certainly with him.
He lets attorneys try their case. But, if any hi-jinx erupts, boy, he steps on it and stops it. So he's an excellent judge to try a case in front of. He lets you have your head.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, Michael, he is 82 years old. I once tried a case before a federal judge who was over 70 who threatened to have us in trial every morning at 5:00 a.m. and sort of ran us ragged as lawyer, but...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... having said that -- you know -- you know, it's important that a case be moved forward quickly. Is he of good, strong physical health that he can take a long trial?
CARDOZA: Boy, they must be related, the judge you're talking about and Judge Arnason. I'll tell you this guy has more energy than anyone I've ever met.
In speaking with him a while back, he told me that the one thing he's changed in his life -- he doesn't run his staff as hard. He said, you know, I used to really work them, but now I just let them work 8:00 to 5:00.
That's the kind of guy he is. He comes in early, and he himself works late. He's going to outwork both those attorneys in this case, you watch.
VAN SUSTEREN: Will it be a four-day work week or a five-day work week?
CARDOZA: You know, I think that's something that's going to have to be decided with the district attorney, the defense, and the judge. It depends on the preferences of the attorneys in the case.
As a trial attorney, I like the four-day work week because it gives you a chance to, you know, sort of collect yourself over that three-day weekend, get your witnesses in order.
And that's another thing that I really like about the judge. If there's a witness problem -- he used to try cases before he hit the bench. He's tried a lot of cases, even high-publicity cases, a lot of death-penalty cases. He understands the problems that both prosecutors have and defense attorneys have with witnesses. So he's understanding of that.
VAN SUSTEREN: I never had...
CARDOZA: He's not one of those...
VAN SUSTEREN: I never had a judge -- I never had a judge do a four-day work week, so I'm a little bit envious. But we always make fun of you California lawyers out here.
CARDOZA: Hey, come on, Greta. It's California. We're like that.
VAN SUSTEREN: I -- that's -- I know, I know. I've got -- you know, I've got lots of thoughts about the way you try cases in California.
All right. Thirty seconds left. How did he get this case?
VAN SUSTEREN: What -- does he just picked by a -- some judicial conference?
CARDOZA: I -- the judicial council appoints him, but, actually, I think it finally goes up to the Supreme Court, and the chief justice is the one that actually makes the appointment.
I think he's an excellent, excellent choice. And, if you were to say which side is going to be a little happier, I think it's going to be the defense in this case.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. I've got five seconds. Cameras or no cameras with this judge?
CARDOZA: Oh, absolutely not. I mean he's going to be astounded that you guys ask him the question. He'll say this is a courtroom, why would you dare want cameras in my courtroom? No, he's old school. You're not coming anywhere near that courtroom with cameras.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Good. Well, appreciate the insight. Thank you, Michael.
CARDOZA: Take care, Greta. Bye-bye.
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