The California state attorney's court told Friday he would not seek a new death sentence from Scott Peterson, who was convicted in 2005 of killing his pregnant wife.
The Stanislaus County attorney general's office said it would reject efforts to recover the fine imposed last year by the state Supreme Court. The DA said the decision was made in consultation with Laci Peterson's family.
Californian judges ruled that the death penalty could not be suspended because potential judges were released after saying they did not agree with the death penalty.
The family "no doubt" Peterson has killed his wife and unborn son Conner and deserves the death penalty but does not want to follow that punishment because "this process is too painful for you to tolerate again," District Attorney Birgit Fladager told the San Mateo High Court.
Peterson, now 48, was convicted in a San Mateo court after his case was dropped in Stanislaus County over a major pre-trial trial following the 2002 Christmas disappearance of 27-year-old Laci, who was eight months pregnant.
Investigators say Peterson took the bodies from their home in Modto and dumped them in his fishing boat and transported them to San Francisco Bay, where they were found months later.
Peterson maintains his chastity, and the judge is considering whether to plead guilty to the new charge because the judge failed to disclose that he wanted a restraining order in 2000 against his ex-girlfriend. He said by seeking an order that he was afraid of his unborn child. The judge must decide whether that was the juror's misconduct, and if so, whether it was discriminatory that the new case be allowed.
If a new case is not opened, he will be sentenced to life in prison.
One of Peterson's lawyers said the announcement was not a prelude to an admission of guilt agreement and that his client would seek a new case if the judge ruled that his first case was tainted by the joror's misconduct.
High Court Judge Anne-Christine Massullo said she hoped to decide this year whether Peterson was eligible for a new trial.
It is not clear whether prosecutors could re-apply for the death penalty if a new case was dropped and he was convicted, said defense attorney Pat Harris, who is in charge of the death penalty.
A separate lawyer, Andras Farkas, is representing Peterson over whether he will receive a new trial. Farkas did not respond to an email asking for comment.
"It is not clear to me what they say or do, we remove the death penalty from the table ... or they say that when we return to court we have the right to impose the death penalty. back up again, ”says Harris. "It sounds like they are holding on to the fact that if the judge orders a new trial, they can return the death sentence to the table."
That could be clarified in what was supposed to be a process hearing on Tuesday, he said.
The district attorney's office did not comment.
Harris noted that prosecutors had previously said the family supported him and demanded the death penalty, arguing that their new proposal was a way to gamble to avoid a new case.
"The truth of the matter is they are determined ... that the handwriting is on the wall and when we return to court we will prove that Scott is innocent," he said.
He said he could attest to the fact that there was a burglary on the day of Peterson's disappearance, aiding and abetting a security dispute that someone had killed him while stumbling.
If prosecutors were to proceed with a new sentence, they would have to try the whole case again before a new judge - so that new evidence would come out even if the lawyers could not release him and only recommend a death or life sentence, he said.
“The truth will be out. The important thing is that people will know what happened ”even if he does not find a new case in his case or innocence, Harris said.
The family and supporters of Scott Peterson have made a similar argument in a Facebook post, that Harris' request last week for evidence in the hands of prosecutors has begun their decision.
"We are pleased that Stanislaus County no longer wants to kill Scott, but it is the # Time4aNewTrial," the statement said.