Tag Archives: guilty

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.