Category Archives: Drew Peterson

Drew Peterson Going to Trial Again

Drew Peterson

Drew Peterson, via IL DOC

Drew Peterson, the former Chicago Police Officer, infamous for the murder of his third wife (and possibly another), has another trial coming up. He was convicted in 2012 of killing his former wife Kathleen Savio, who died in 2004. His fourth wife, Stacey, has been missing since 2007. Now he is again facing charges for attempting to hire someone to kill the Assistant State’s Attorney who prosecuted him in that case. Opening statements should be underway as of today.

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Aside

Drew Peterson was sentenced to 38 years, he was facing a maximum of 60, for the murder of his third wife. The judge also denied his motion for a new trial, though that will certainly be an issue on the … Continue reading

Drew Peterson still has the same lawyer

In spite of a motion filed by one of the secondary attorneys in the case, Peterson told the judge he wishes for lead attorney Joel Brodsky to remain as his attorney of record.  Here’s the story on ABAJounal.com.  The other attorney, John Paul Carroll, bizarrely filed a motion for new trial, alleging that Brodsky was incompetent.  Based on Peterson’s statement, Carroll has now withdrawn this motion.  (Peterson will still have the ability to file ineffective assistance of counsel motions at a later time.  I’m not intimately familiar with Ill. law, but in Florida, such motions come after all appeals.)  So it goes…

Drew Peterson story

Drew Peterson

Dateline did a pretty solid and in-depth piece on Drew Peterson and his trial last week.  You can check out the full video of the episode online.  It seems to be the most complete discussion of the trial I have yet seen in one place, and is presently clearly and concisely.  If you have followed the case, it’s a must see.

They ran parts of the statements from the jurors that agreed to speak to the press.  I found it particularly insightful that the jurors (according to the foreman Eduardo Saldana) relied heavily on the hearsay evidence: including the controversial evidence that was admitted only thanks to a new law passed in Illinois that changed hundreds of years of courtroom procedure.  He specifically referenced statements Stacy Peterson made to her divorce attorney about admissions Drew Peterson had made about Kathleen Savio’s death.

The defense team had seemed cocky earlier in the case.  I wonder if they were banking on the jury disregarding the hearsay due to its reliability concerns.  Having heard the prejudicial statements that were introduced, I’d say they were just too damaging, and they didn’t just come from one source.  Collectively, the prosecutors were able to use the hearsay evidence to put on a relatively strong case against Peterson.  Dateline’s Lester Holt categorized the verdict as “shocking.”  I wouldn’t go that far, in spite of the lack of physical evidence, the testimonial evidence was devastating.

Drew Peterson GUILTY

Drew Peterson

The jury has come back with a guilty verdict in the death of Peterson’s 3rd wife, Kathleen Savio.  I’ve discussed before that I think there are substantial issues on appeal, though even an appellate court will be more concerned with publicity in this case than any other.  This case was so highly charged and controversial that a new law was passed that changed the rules of evidence to let in normally inadmissible evidence.  That goes in the face of hundreds of years of common law and one of the prime checks and balances of our jury system.

The case may not even make it to the appellate level, as I’m sure counsel will be filing a motion for new trial; or whatever the Illinois equivalent is.  There were multiple errors that the prosecutors made that the judge could point to say the trial was too flawed to let the verdict.  I don’t think he will, but it’s a possibility based on the way the trial played out.  Well, maybe it is if is wasn’t such a high-profile case!  I will continue to follow this case here, legally the appellate issues may be more interesting to me than the verdict itself, but I’m a law nerd.

Drew Peterson case goes to jury

Closing arguments concluded this afternoon.  Jury deliberations will begin tomorrow morning.  The Tribune’s live blog has some good highlights from arguments today.

Drew Peterson closing arguments begin today.

Drew Peterson

The Drew Peterson case is winding to a close, with closing arguments beginning today.  Crimesider has a brief summary of the case to date: it’s tough to break a month’s worth of evidence down to a few paragraphs.  Defense lawyers were feeling good from the get go- it is a very tenuous criminal case.  No matter what you think, the burden of proof will be hard to meet.  The State scored a victory when they were allowed to introduce the testimony Peterson had tried to contract a killer to murder Kathleen Savio, his 4th wife.  I think that’s damning enough character evidence that they may win their conviction, but have a major issue for appeal.  On the other hand, weeks of character evidence in the Casey Anthony trial didn’t help prosecutors overcome the holes in their proof in that case.  The deliberations will take several days, I think.

Jeff Ruby Mugshot

On the Jeff Ruby front, I didn’t know the judge had issued a warrant and thrown him in jail.  I agree with the Tribune the judge probably had more important things to be worried about.  (Does Illinois allow direct contempt if the judge doesn’t see it: any IL lawyers got any input on that?)