ABC NewsBY: MIKE GUDGELL, JIM VOJTECK and MEREDITH DELISO, ABC News(WASHINGTON) — The California Supreme Court overturned the death penalty sentence for Scott Peterson, who was found guilty of murdering his pregnant wife in a highly publicized case, based on judicial error.Scott Peterson, 42, was convicted in 2004 of one count of first-degree murder for killing his wife, Laci Peterson, who was nearly 8 months pregnant at the time, and one count of second-degree murder for killing their unborn son.Laci Peterson, 27, disappeared on Christmas Eve in 2002. The bodies of Laci and her unborn son were found in San Francisco Bay in April 2003.In a written decision dated Monday, the court upheld Scott Peterson’s guilty judgment.“Peterson contends his trial was flawed for multiple reasons, beginning with the unusual amount of pretrial publicity that surrounded the case,” the court said. “We reject Peterson’s claim that he received an unfair trial as to guilt and thus affirm his convictions for murder.”But the court did note that “the trial court made a series of clear and significant errors in jury selection that, under long-standing United States Supreme Court precedent, undermined Peterson’s right to an impartial jury at the penalty phase.”The court said it was required to reverse the death sentence after determining that the trial court “erroneously dismissed” prospective jurors who said they opposed the death penalty, “even though the jurors gave no indication that their views would prevent them from following the law.”“We are grateful for the California Supreme Court’s unanimous recognition that if the state wishes to put someone to death, it must proceed to trial only with a fairly selected jury,” Cliff Gardner, Scott Peterson’s appellate attorney, said in a statement.The Stanislaus County prosecutor, Birgit Fladager, can decide to retry the penalty phase, though a decision will not likely be made until the court decides on Scott Peterson’s pending habeas petition.“[While] we are disappointed that such a biased jury selection process results in a reversal of only the death sentence, we look forward to the Court’s review of the new forensic and eyewitness evidence of innocence,” Gardner said in the statement.The Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the decision.Sharon Rocha, Laci Peterson’s mother, also declined to comment.Laci Peterson was last seen at home in Modesto, California. Scott Peterson reported his wife missing on Dec. 24, 2002. His mistress, Amber Frey, secretly worked with police to help convict him. A jury unanimously found him guilty of murdering his wife and unborn child, and a judge sentenced him to die by lethal injection. He has been on death row at the San Quentin State Prison.In a 2017 A&E documentary series, “The Murder of Laci Peterson,” Scott Peterson described the moment he heard his guilty verdict.“It was crazy, just this amazing, horrible, physical reaction I had,” he said. “I couldn’t feel my feet on the floor. I couldn’t feel the chair I was sitting in. My vision got a little blurry.”California’s last execution was in 2006, under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Last year Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a moratorium on executions while he is in office.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
Trey Anastasio waded into the waters of The Beacon Jams on Friday night for the first of eight weekly live streams from New York’s storied Beacon Theatre. We’ve already said plenty about the significance and scenarios surrounding this unprecedented virtual residency, so we’ll get right to it here with a rundown of the action at The Beacon Jams Night 1. (Check out recaps of Night 2 here and Night 3 here).Heading in, we had essentially no idea what to expect. Very quickly, a few things stood out. First—the band. Prior to the camera panning down from the chandelier to start the show, it wasn’t clear who would be on the stage. Quickly, viewers tuning in via Twitch were shown a horn-less version of the current Trey Anastasio Band lineup, with Russ Lawton on drums, Tony Markellis on bass, Ray Paczkowski on keys, and Cyro Baptista on all sorts of percussion. The other immediate take-away was the stage setup: rather than facing out toward the non-existent crowd as they usually would, the band set up facing backstage, allowing the viewers at home to take in the show with the Beacon in all her majesty as the backdrop. For whatever reason, this simple but powerful distinction didn’t dawn on this writer until that first shot came into frame, and seeing the ornate venue adorned by extra lights planted in strategic seats in the house was a “eureka” moment out of the gate. Of course! Score one for The Beacon Jams.Another thing that quickly stood out was the relaxed vibe of the band and the pauses between the songs. It sure is eerie hearing TAB rip a fantastic “Blaze On” only to finish to total silence. It’s a wrinkle that all parties—both inside the venue and outside tuning in—will adjust and adapt to over the course of the next several weeks of Beacon Jams. However, this unusual aspect also revealed a fun new layer for this run of “virtual” shows: The band appears to be facing a screen that displays the Twitch comment section, allowing Trey to interact with fans tuning in in real time. He spent a fair amount of time during the one-set, two-and-a-half-hour show responding to commenters. However you may have felt about the frequent chat tangents, this feels like a fun new development, and we’re excited to see how that interaction evolves as the run goes on.The set continued in the same stop-start fashion with a mix of live debuts from Trey’s quarantine record, Lonely Trip (like “I Never Left Home”, “A Wave of Hope”, and “If I Could See The World”) and go-to live TAB songs (like “Soul Planet”, “Dark and Down”, and “Sand”). Early on, we got our first “special guest” of the residency when Trey’s frequent theatrical collaborator Jeff Tanski, a Queens, NY resident, joined Ray on keys for a lovely rendition of Phish‘s Sigma Oasis ballad, “Shade”.Trey Anastasio – “A Wave of Hope” – The Beacon Jams Night 1 – 10/9/20Trey Anastasio – “If I Could See The World” – The Beacon Jams Night 1 – 10/9/20Perhaps the most unusual musical segment of the evening was a jazzy performance of Phish classic “Stash” by the trio of Trey (guitar/vocals), Tanski (piano), and Baptista (clapping/beat-boxing). A clear deviation from the norm for the song, this version is worth a listen sheerly based in its unique arrangement. That is, if we can re-listen. Surely this content will surface at some point, but who knows when—tomorrow morning? At the end of the residency? As an archival release years down the road? On Twitch, there’s no “going back,” so we’ll have to wait and see if the show, whether in chunks or in full, makes its way to LivePhish or YouTube. As with many of the details for The Beacon Jams, it seems we’re going to have to keep making our best guesses as we go. Game on. [Update 10/10/20: The first night of The Beacon Jams is now available on LivePhish]. [Update 10/14/20: Trey Anastasio has shared a video of “Everything’s Right” > “…And Flew Away” from Night 1 of The Beacon Jams. Watch it below]. [Update 12/19/20: Trey Anastasio has shared a video of “Stash” from Night 1 of The Beacon Jams. Watch It below].Trey Anastasio – “Stash” – The Beacon Jams Night 1 – 10/9/20[Video: Trey Anastasio]Trey Anastasio – “Everything’s Right” > “…And Flew Away” [Pro-Shot] – The Beacon Jams Night 1 – 10/9/20[Video: Trey Anastasio]After “Stash”, the rest of the band made their exit as Trey pulled up a chair for an acoustic take on quarantine tune “When The Words Go Away”. Rather than performing an extended acoustic “set,” however, the band quickly returned for a hot and heavy “Everything’s Right”, which moved into quarantune “…And Flew Away”. Trey once again grabbed his acoustic for “The Inlaw Josie Wales” and “Sunset Days”, and paused to express his gratitude for all the parties involved in making The Beacon Jams a reality before closing out Night 1 with a rocking “46 Days”.With that, the camera panned back up to the chandelier and the credits rolled. Night 1 of the Trey Anastasio Beacon Jams is in the books. In case you were wondering, they gave no indication as to what was to come next week. We have a strong suspicion that this is how it will go every week: Until the camera pans down from the Beacon ceiling on Friday night, what you’re about to see will be a mystery. Trey has already confirmed that the band lineups will change from week to week, so your guess is as good as anyone’s. We did, however, take it upon ourselves to drum up some educated guesses of our own. You can dive into them here.Either way, everyone, this is exciting. Live Trey, every Friday, with inherent surprise and intrigue built in. We’re all in. Catch you in the chat next Friday.Setlist: Trey Anastasio | The Beacon Jams Night 1 | Beacon Theatre | New York, NY | 10/9/20SET 1: Corona > Blaze On, I Never Left Home , Soul Planet, Shade , Dark and Down, A Wave of Hope, If I Could See The World > Sand, Stash , When the Words Go Away , Everything’s Right > …And Flew Away, The Inlaw Josie Wales , Sunset Days , 46 Days Debut. Jeff Tanski on piano. Only Trey, Jeff Tanski on piano, and Cyro clapping. Debut; Trey solo acoustic. Only Trey on acoustic and Jeff Tanski on piano. Trey solo acoustic.This performance was part of the Beacon Jams series and featured the debuts of I Never Left Home, A Wave of Hope, If I Could See The World, When the Words Go Away, and …And Flew Away. Trey quoted Windora Bug after Soul Planet. Shade featured Jeff Tanski on piano. Stash was performed by Trey, Jeff on piano, and Cyro clapping. When the Words Go Away and Sunset Days were performed by Trey solo acoustic. The Inlaw Josie Wales was performed by just Trey on acoustic and Jeff Tanski on piano.
The annual open enrollment period for State employees to choose among medical plans begins November 1. Human Resources Commissioner Maribeth Spellman announced today that the plans will see a 17.9 percent premium increase in 2015 for active State employees and non-Medicare retirees, while Medicare retirees will see a decrease or very small increase (-2.3 percent or +1.0 percent) depending on their plan.The increase for active employees is driven primarily by significantly greater than expected high cost claims experience beginning in the 3rd quarter of 2013, which correlates with increased inpatient utilization, including hospital admissions and days spent in the hospital.Spellman noted that the spike in high cost claims began prior to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont (BCBSVT) taking over as administrator of the state’s medical plans. In 2014, the State selected BCBSVT to administer the medical plans, and Express Scripts and Northeast Delta Dental for its pharmacy and dental coverage. Although still higher than projections, the claims experience in recent quarters is not as high as the 3rd quarter spike of 2013.The Commissioner said that over the past two years, state employees have seen no rate increases and have had seven premium holidays worth $1,183 for a family in the most popular health plan. With the anticipated increase in premium rates for 2015, active state employee medical plans will be in line with the increases seen over the same 3 year period of time in comparable public employee plans, such as the Vermont teacher medical plans.Retiree rates are benefitting from pharmacy discounts offered through the Employer Group Waiver Plan (EGWP), the Commissioner said, which allows the State to utilize federal subsidies in providing pharmacy services. This new feature for 2015 was the result of collaboration between the State and employee groups.The State employee plan is self-insured and this rate increase is necessary to offset plan’s deficit and maintain solid financial footing.While Commissioner Spellman acknowledged that the premium increase for active employees is not welcome news, she appreciated the willingness of VSEA and VTA leadership to meet with her team recently to discuss the reasons for the increase and the wisdom of addressing the plan deficit in the near term. She also noted that other aspects of the state employee plan have performed as expected, including new wellness programs. BCBSVT has been a strong partner in employee wellness initiatives, providing the State with $250,000 for expenditure on wellness initiatives. With these resources the State has developed a comprehensive Wellness Program – some highlights:So far this year, 2,958 employees have completed the personal health assessment, providing valuable insight into the actual health and mental health issues impacting employees and the guidance to tailor Wellness Program initiatives to tackle those issues;1,254 employees and retirees have received in person biometric screenings (blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol) to date.Source: State of Vermont 10.20.2014
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