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Scott Peterson was denied bond as his re-sentencing for the killing of pregnant wife Laci and the couple’s unborn child looms in December.
John Goold, the deputy district attorney and public information liaison for the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office confirmed to Oxygen.com that a judge granted the prosecutor’s request Wednesday to keep Peterson behind bars.
“Since we are not retrying the death penalty phase, Peterson is now an un-sentenced convicted defendant and bail had to be set,” Goold said.
The decision is just the latest development in a series of hearings being held in the decades-old case as the court moves closer to re-sentencing Peterson.
For 15 years, Peterson lived on death row in San Quentin State Prison, but that sentence was overturned last year by the California Supreme Court after the court ruled that the trial judge had “made a series of clear and significant errors in jury selection” during the penalty phase of the 2004 trial, according to the decision obtained by Oxygen.com.
The district attorney’s office has said they don’t plan to seek the death penalty a second time, but California Supreme Court’s decision has left Peterson without a sentence.
Peterson’s defense attorneys have resisted re-sentencing Peterson as they try to get a completely new trial, but last month Superior Court Judge Anne-Christine Massullo decided the re-sentencing would need to move forward, regardless of any other legal battles, local station KRON reported.
On Wednesday, Goold said the judge also signed a transportation order to have Peterson personally appear at the Dec. 8 sentencing in Redwood City, where he'll be re-sentenced to life in prison.
Laci’s family is also expected to appear to deliver new victim impact statements.
Prosecutors also questioned whether lawyers for the Habeas Corpus Resource Center could still represent Peterson now that the district attorney’s office has stated it does not plan to seek the death penalty, according to The New York Post.
By law, the organization only handles death penalty cases, according to the outlet.
“So now we have them saying even in cases where we don’t have jurisdiction, because we want to stay, the court should not inquire whether we should stay on these cases or not,” Stanislaus County Assistant District Attorney David Harris said, adding that he thought it could be a “bad precedent” for the court.
Michael J. Hersek, the executive director of the Habeas Corpus Resource Center, argued, however, that the judge did not have jurisdiction to determine whether his attorneys can still represent him.
He argued that withdrawing from the case now, with only a “partial victory,” “would not be fair” to Peterson.
He also said he felt that it would send a “terrible message” to their other clients who they have spent years developing relationships with.
“Not only would we lose the trust and confidence of all our clients because they will see us as a penalty phase only stop, because once we get a partial victory, they’re out of luck. And we can’t have that. That’s an institutional concern from our point of view,” he said.
Oxygen.com reached out to the Habeas Corpus Resource Center but did not receive an immediate response.
Goold told Oxygen.com another hearing on Nov. 10 is planned to discuss whether or not the law center can still represent Peterson.
Laci disappeared on Dec. 24, 2002 while eight months pregnant. Peterson—who continues to maintain his innocence—had claimed to be out fishing in the San Francisco Bay the day his wife disappeared.
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