Gag order issued in Peterson case

06/12/2003 7:41 PM

11/20/2007 6:39 AM

A Stanislaus County judge issued a gag order Thursday limiting public statements by people associated with the Scott Peterson case.

Judge Al Girolami's order came just hours after another superior court judge, Roger Beauchesne, ruled that eight search warrants in the case should be unsealed.

But Beauchesne's ruling does not go into effect until July 8, allowing time for a potential appeal by prosecutors, defense attorneys or both.

Peterson, 30, is charged with two counts of murder in the deaths of his wife, Laci, and their unborn son, Conner. The gag order applies to attorneys, staff, experts, court employees, law enforcement personnel, witnesses and others. It limits a range of public comments about the case, including statements about the "existence or possible existence of any document, exhibit, photograph or any other evidence" that may be introduced in court.

The order also forbids publicly identifying potential witnesses and commenting on the effect of testimony given in court.

The order does allow parties to quote or refer to public records in the case, and allows witnesses to talk to attorneys.

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