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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Michael Peterson wins retrial

Over a year ago I blogged on the possibility that Michael Peterson would be granted a retrial and reconfirmed my belief, dating to 2002, that Peterson committed the murder. I have not changed my mind.

However, I agree with the court's recent decision to grant a retrial. The original trial was hopelessly marred by evidence and testimony falsified by SBI agent Duane Deaver, who was subsequently discredited and disgraced.

What no one, including myself, foresaw a year ago is that Tracey Cline, whom voters elected as District Attorney of Durham County in 2008 -- five years after the Peterson trial -- would go nuts in office.

There's a good chance that either the grant of retrial to Peterson will prod the North Carolina State Bar into disbarring Cline so that another Durham prosecutor can take over or the office of the North Carolina Attorney General will step in. I hope so. The Peterson case is too important for him to be acquitted because of incompetent prosecution.

Meanwhile, former Peterson defense counsel David Rudolf has reappeared. Retrial may be an opportunity for him to repair his reputation.

Do I believe Peterson will be convicted a second time? 50-50. Both sides may prefer to negotiate a plea bargain, given such an uncertain outcome at trial and the cost involved.

But he did do it.