Laci Trial: Resume Or Move Again?

Scott Peterson and Laci Peterson
After a week's hiatus, the Scott Peterson double murder trial was to resume in a Redwood City, Calif., courtroom Monday.

Judge Alfred A. Delucchi will hold a hearing on two issues, whether television interviews Peterson did before he was arrested can be admitted as evidence, and a second change of venue request.

The prosecution claims Peterson contradicts himself in the interviews, and they prove he killed his wife.

The case has already been moved once from Modesto, where Laci and Scott Peterson lived, to Redwood City, reports CBS News Correspondent Steve Futterman. Most observers believe a second change of venue is highly unlikely.

"It's possible but highly unlikely that there will be another venue change for this case," said Legal Analyst Andrew Cohen. "One move is rare enough, two is virtually unheard of."

Initially, Scott Peterson's chief attorney Mark Geragos was pleased when the case was moved to Redwood City. In recent weeks, though, he's hinted he does not believe Peterson can received a fair trial here as well. Geragos says too many potential jurors in Redwood City already believe Peterson is guilty.

"Peterson is entitled to a fair trial, not a perfect one, and like it or not he has to contend with the fact that a lot of people have heard about the case and his alleged role in his wife's death," said Cohen.

Jury selection is expected to resume once the hearing is over.

Peterson, 31, is accused of killing his wife Laci and their unborn son in December of 2002, and he could face the death penalty if convicted of killing his pregnant wife.

The bodies of Laci Peterson and the couple's unborn son were discovered in April on a San Francisco Bay shoreline, near where Scott Peterson said he went on a solo fishing trip the morning his wife vanished. Authorities allege Peterson killed her Dec. 24, 2002 because he was having an affair, then dumped the body in the bay.

Potential jurors have filled out extensive questionnaires. Lawyers will review those forms to help decide which 12 jurors and six alternates will be selected.

Both sides probably can agree on 18 acceptable jurors or alternates if 300 to 400 candidates are left from the initial 1,000 called to court, said jury expert David Graeven of Trial Behavior Consulting in San Francisco.

Delucchi had recessed court until March 22 to give attorneys time to review the questionnaires. When court reconvenes, attorneys will begin questioning prospective jurors individually. Each side has 20 chances to dismiss potential panelists without explanation.