Drew Peterson Hearsay arguments to be broadcast live today

You can watch the proceedings live today as oral arguments are presented to the Third District Appellate Court in the matter of hearsay evidence that may or may not be admitted in Drew Peterson’s trial for the murder of third wife, Kathleen Savio.

Drew Peterson will not be at the hearing, while the head of his defense team, Joel Brodsky, will be seated in the gallery. Assistant State’s attorney Colleen Griffin will be presenting for the State, with a rebuttal by State’s Attorney, James Glasgow. Steven Greenberg will be presenting the arguments for the defense, supported by newcomer, Lisa Lopez.

The hearing is scheduled to start at 1:15 p.m. CLTV and TruTV will carry live video of the proceedings on TV starting around 1 p.m. You can also watch live online via WGN or Chicago Tribune websites. Proceedings should take about an hour.

Legal pundits have warned that the arguments may not be as interesting as the eventual trial, but this is a historic hearing and there is a lot at stake as the bulk of the State’s evidence is circumstantial. The admission of some of these statements would allow Kathleen Savio to in essence ‘speak from the grave’.

Please join us in live-blogging the event in the comments thread if you are so inclined.

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64 thoughts on “Drew Peterson Hearsay arguments to be broadcast live today

  1. Funny how in that clip Greenberg tries to blast the State for wanting to use Common Law instead of something he calls, “Drew’s Law”. There is no such thing as a law drafted for a specific case, much less a specific defendant. There is a statute that was enacted that allows some statements of murder victims to be used as evidence in court. Why would the state need to cite it though, if there are already common law hearsay exceptions to the right to confront (forfeiture by wrongdoing)?

    Silly man.

  2. Thanks Facsmiley for the link to Craig Wall’s twitter feed. I’ve got that bookmarked, along with the Chicago Tribune website and CLTV. I couldn’t find any link on the Chicago Trib site for a live stream, but CLTV had a link and it appears to be working. So, I’m all set. :)

  3. Thanks Grandam. That’s actually channel 65 for me. It will be different depending on your provider. At any event it looks as if it’s preempting InSession, if that helps.

  4. Wise comment at the Tribune site. Nice to see someone talking about what the hearsay law actually says and not some reactionary terror of what it does not.

    ChiGirl21 at 10:53 AM February 16, 2011
    The hearsay law is narrowly written. The judge must find the evidence reliable AND that secondary evidence points toward the defendant having made the witness unavailable (read: killed or injured or kidnapped the witness so they couldn’t testify). Hardly leads to a “he said/she said” scenario with your neighbor unless you are in the habit of maiming or killing your neighbors to keep them from testifying….

  5. CLTV has a camera in the courtroom since proceedings haven’t begun yet. Much milling about. Griffin and Glasgow already seated while Greenberg, Lopez, Brodsky and Ms. Lopez hobnob. Also saw Craig Wall pass through.

    Once the hearing starts only the stationary camera at the back of the room will be in use.

  6. Griffin is arguing to cite common law doctrine but justices are asking why it wasn’t pursued. She says common law trumps the new hearsay statute (something like that – it’s highly legalese!)

  7. Justices are questioning the timeliness of the motion to reconsider. Griffin cites People vs. Hanson as constituting a change in law. She says Hanson made clear what the Common law Doctinre means.

    Griffin says there are nine statements that were not allowed. Two by Stacy and seven by Kathleen.

  8. Justices addressing the ‘prior bad acts’ and legal expert testimony brought up in the Certificates of Impairment.

    Vicky Connolly’s testimony was not allowed because she was not the victim. The expert was not allowed because her testimony would have been speculation.

    Griffin cited another case where hearsay was allowed and the victim was different. She defends the expert has being able to provide testimony that would be useful or educational to the jury.

  9. Expert was allowed to testify about child support. Justice says it may be speculative as well. Griffin says it would have aided the jury in knowing what was potentially at stake as well as the motive.

    Justice says you can bring in any lawyer to talk about the child support statute but you can’t speculate how much $ would be involved.

  10. Now discussing the expert witness (Panos) in the divorce case – being argued that she was only speaking in terms of generalities, not specifics of what a divorce court would do. Her report was not specific as to what would happen.

  11. Greenberg – We have an attempt by the state to go back and write a statute to admit certain statements. We had a long hearing, the judge made his rulings. We asked about common law and now the state is coming in and trying to cite Hanson.

  12. Justice says they understood that they were dealing with the new statute with its extra reliability requirement. He brings up the tarot card reader testimony (which was withdrawn so what’s the point?).

    Justice says lets just talk about standard. Trial judge said he couldn’t review this under common law. Justice says doesn’t statue say it doesn’t preclude common law? Greenberg says then the statute is frivolous.

  13. Greenberg cites Giles. Justice reminds him that forfeiture by wrongdoing has to do with murder in a divorce case – it’s different from Giles. Greenberg says it isn’t different. Says that supreme court said says there should be no assumption of guilt before trial for the same offense. (or something like that).

    More Giles stuff. I’ll have to listen more closely again later.

    Greenberg says there’s no common law where a victim was allowed to speak from the grave. Cites a Steven Manning case. If Kathleen Savio was available to testify would any of this evidence allowed in. It’s circular reasoning.

    Justice says in this case, that under a lower standard Drew Killed Kathleen in order to keep her from testifying at a divorce trial. So it’s not circular.

  14. Greenberg seems very confrontational and is speaking way to loudly, bordering on yelling………had to turn my volume down.

  15. Greenberg says what if Mr. Peterson wanted a bench trial? How could it work that the judge had already determined guilt under that lower standard?

    Justice brings up Crawford…confrontation is not a problem if there’s forfeiture by wrongdoing.

  16. Greenberg is saying that if you forfeit your rights due to wrongdoing that the forfeiture should only apply to that case…it shouldn’t extend to another case.

  17. Greenberg is saying that Hanson was wrongly decided. Justice wants Greenberg to defend why they should ignore something decided by the supreme court.

    On June 30, state filed a motion to cite common law. Greenberg is saying it was filed too late. Greenberg says a change in law is not the same as a change in material evidence, plus there was no change in the law.

  18. Just want to interject how glad I am that the Justices are asking very hard questions of both sides, here. This gives them both a chance to make their best arguments.

  19. Glasgow now up, talking about Hanson. He says, “Yeah, there is new law”. Compares Steckly (?) to the ruling in Hanson. Says defense misrepresents the holding in the case of Giles.

  20. Glasgow argues that Judge White had stated, “The statue trumps common law”. Justice asks why they didn’t appeal that.

    Brings up paragraph G of the statue (which i think allows for citation of common law. I’ll have to look).

    Says, the finding of reliability was not necessary. “It’s up to us to prove that it’s probative at trial.”

  21. Proceedings over. I see the back of Hosey’s head at the defense table getting some quotes.

    I’m sorry I didn’t get post much during the State’s argument. I was trying to use my little notebook in front of the TV and couldn’t see a thing. LOL
    Looking forward to the news stories later since it was hard for a lay person like me to keep up with most of the discussion. Sorry if the comments are lame!

  22. This hearing was fascinating! Although there was a lot of legalese, I felt I was able to follow it somewhat. I have good vibes about the outcome. I think the appellate court is going to allow more of the hearsay items to come in.

    I think they’re not going to allow the statement made by Vicky Connelly, as they stated that she was not the victim, and it’s a separate case. I think this properly falls under prior bad acts.

    I think the testimony by Panos, the expert financial witness is another one that won’t be allowed, as the judges questioned it’s appropriateness stating it was speculation on how a divorce court judge would rule.

    The state withdrew one statement made by Stacy Peterson, so I think there’s a total of 7 statements at question.

  23. Sureyouwill, you hit the nail on the head they know it was, that is why he called it that. He said that a few times while speaking.

    “Easier to prove the murder”

  24. Very legalistic stuff going on there, and hard to grasp and understand it all.

    Anxious to hear how the legal analysts break it down so it’s easier to understand in laypersons’ terms.

    One thing, though, this is going to go on for a long time in the courts. Terry Sullivan, WGN’s legal analyst, said that it might even make its way to the US Supreme Court. Yikes.

  25. On CLTV Terry Sullivan brought up an interesting point that while the defense had at one time tried to get the hearsay statute tossed as being unconstitutional, they are no longer saying that since they want the State to have to stick to the statute rather than common law. If the case moves further up to Illinois or even Federal Supreme court you could even end up seeing the defense defending the constitutionality of the statute (the so-called Drew Peterson Law), in order to make it and its reliability requirements stick! Wowee Zowwee

  26. Rescueapet………….I can see this case going all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. I think this case is a precedent – setting case, in that future hearsay cases will quote the Supreme Court ruling in the “state vs. Peterson”.

  27. Sureyouwill……………very interesting that Greenberg stated “they just want to make it easier to prove THE murder” as opposed to “they just want to make it easier to prove A murder.”

    The way the sentence reads “THE murder” is an admission that the murder took place, whereas if Greenberg had said “A murder” it would have sounded vague.

  28. Is it just me or is it annoying that the media calls it “The Drew Peterson Murder Trial”? I am pretty sure it is the “Kathleen Savio Murder Trial”! Anyway….

    I heard Steve say that several times as well! “Easier to prove the murder”

  29. Just an FYI…. WGN did not have it on here. Apparently there is a WGN and a WGN America.

    Watched it on Court TV and computer.

  30. Greenberg, Lopez and Brodsky. Class, all class.

    Because, no matter how you look at it, Kathleen is dead, and she’s not here to pound the attorneys ad nauseum with digs and name calling.

    For Lopez to call her “a wild broad…a bruiser…a barroom brawler. She could kick Drew’s ass,” was astonishing.

    She left behind two children, she is silent. What the hell is wrong with him?

    Even if the hearsay is not introduced at trial, I’m not so sure there’s the sympathy for Drew Peterson that the defense would have people believe. With comments like that, and others, the jury just may find to convict the murder defendant after all.

  31. Isn’t it odd that a newly admitted attorney (less than a year), sat at the defense table with Greenberg, but the head attorney, who has been representing Peterson for over 3 years, didn’t?

    What’s up with that?

  32. Yeah, what’s up with that?! LOL! I swear I heard Ms. Lopez give a “sigh” when Joel approached her directly after the hearing.. he came up to her, she turned towards him then away… then….”sigh!” LOL!!! The elephant in the room… no pun intended!

  33. I DVR’d the thing and I’m going to have to watch it all again, but Joel certainly did seem to be banished.

    I was a little disappointed with how hesitant and unsure Ass’t SA Griffin seemed, but on the other hand I found Greenberg’s bluster and volume to be pretty off-putting as well. Shouting something doesn’t make it any more believable – and there was no jury there to impress so it was just annoying. And when he brought up the tarot-card reader testimony that had already been withdrawn I groaned out loud. Even the Justices seemed annoyed by that move.

  34. Peterson prosecutors argue against ‘Drew’s Law’

    By Stacy St. Clair
    Tribune reporter
    2:58 p.m. CST, February 16, 2011

    In attempting to get hearsay statements admitted in Drew Peterson’s murder case, Will County prosecutors today found themselves arguing against the very law they helped create.

    Saddled with a botched police investigation several years ago, State’s Attorney James Glasgow had pushed for a state statute that would allow hearsay statements against Peterson at trial. Dubbed Drew’s Law by legal experts and legislators, he hailed the bill’s passage as a way of letting Peterson’s third and fourth wives speak from the grave.

    Glasgow acknowledged the strange turn as he asked the Third District Appellate Court to ignore his statute in favor of the less-restrictive common law. “Ironically, I’m in a unique position here,” he told the three-member panel. “I wrote the statute.”…

    …During a 50-minute hearing, judges peppered both sides about the application of common law and the timeliness of the prosecution’s appeal. They suggested that even if common law does not require a judge to consider reliability, the court can still bar testimony for that reason.

    One judge said that he could not order the judge to admit the statements.

    “Just because a statement is admissible under one doctrine doesn’t mean a judge can’t preclude it (under another),” Appellate Judge Daniel L. Schmidt said…

    Read more at: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chibrknews-peterson-prosecutors-argue-against-drews-law-20110216,0,1247679.story

  35. The point is, the justices should rule on the facts, and that’s the way it should be. Whatever way that is!!!!!

    The camera posturing and playing up their careers in the media sucks.

    Calling Kathleen Savio a broad and a bruiser sucks.

    To think, we get shit when we take on the lawyers. At least they can continue to spew their venom. Kathleen and Stacy cannot.

  36. Hosey’s got a story up plus some good photos for those who missed the video today. Nice pic of Ray Ruiz, the WGN cameraman who ran the historic sole camera at the proceedings.

    Drew Peterson Hearsay Decision in Appellate Court’s Hands
    The appellate court heard arguments about whether to allow hearsay evidence at Drew Peterson’s murder trial but will wait weeks, if not months, before making a decision.

    By Joseph Hosey 4:45pm

    Drew Peterson’s attorneys fought for a month last year to knock out most of the 13 hearsay statements prosecutors wanted to use at his murder trial. Today, one of his lawyers went at it for another hour in hopes of keeping them out.

    Attorney Steven Greenberg, who was not even part of Peterson’s legal team during last year’s landmark hearsay hearing in Will County court, was tasked with attacking a prosecution appeal of how many secondhand statements can be introduced at Peterson’s trial.

    Greenberg pointed out that State’s Attorney James Glasgow crafted a specific statute, apparently to use against Peterson, and is now asking the Third District Appellate Court in Ottawa to ignore it in favor of the common law, which requires prosecutors to overcome fewer hurdles when introducing hearsay evidence…

    …Savio’s sister Susan Doman attended the hearing and viewed it favorably.

    “I think James Glasgow did a wonderful job,” Doman said. “I can’t ask for anything more.”

    Stacy Peterson’s sister, Cassandra Cales, and brother, Yelton Cales, also attended. Cassandra Cales said prosecutors don’t even need the hearsay statements to put Peterson away.

    “The hearsay’s not going to prove the murder. The evidence is,” Cassandra Cales said. “There’s a substantial amount of evidence. Justice will prevail. I know it.

    “It’s been a long emotional roller coaster ride,” Cassandra Cales said of the more than three years since her sister disappeared. “We’ll get there some day.”

    http://shorewood-il.patch.com/articles/drew-peterson-hearsay-decision-in-appellate-courts-hands

  37. I thought SA Griffin was a bit hesitant and unsure initially, but then she seemed to find her footing and I feel she did a good job in defending her points.

    I was very put off by Greenberg. As I mentioned earlier, he was loud to the point of yelling and that was very annoying. I had to turn the speaker volume down on my computer to almost mute. For want of a better word, he was bombastic! He also didn’t express himself well. He resorted to using slang in some cases, and came across as pushy and a bully.

    I came away from this with a degree of confidence though. I felt that the line of questioning by the judges was favorable to the prosecution rather than to the defense. I think we’ll see some of the hearsay allowed. I think if the majority of the hearsay is allowed, the state will be ready to take it to trial.

    The question is, will the defense keep pushing this further up the chain and take it to the State Supreme Court?

    It’s been almost 7 years since Kathleen Savio’s murder, and going on 3 and 1/2 years since Stacy disappeared. It’s time for this to go to trial!

  38. Savio’s sister Susan Doman attended the hearing and viewed it favorably.

    “I think James Glasgow did a wonderful job,” Doman said. “I can’t ask for anything more.”

    Stacy Peterson’s sister, Cassandra Cales, and brother, Yelton Cales, also attended. Cassandra Cales said prosecutors don’t even need the hearsay statements to put Peterson away.

    “The hearsay’s not going to prove the murder. The evidence is,” Cassandra Cales said. “There’s a substantial amount of evidence. Justice will prevail. I know it.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Anyone notice the big shift in power ?

    Susan Doman, Cassandra and Yelton Cales were there.

    Drew on the other hand is sitting in a prison cell, with the Prosecution and 20 million dollars between him, his freedom and the decision to be anywhere he wants to be.

    His future is in the hands of a forever changing array of lawyers and which way the law falls.

    The only decision that is his these days is when he wants to use the bathroom !

  39. Molly: I came away from this with a degree of confidence though. I felt that the line of questioning by the judges was favorable to the prosecution rather than to the defense. I think we’ll see some of the hearsay allowed. I think if the majority of the hearsay is allowed, the state will be ready to take it to trial.

    Of course, the legal commentators say not to gauge how the judges will rule based on their questioning. It does appear that the untimely filing of the prosecution’s appeal may be at issue–who knows.

    I will say, though, that if the State does not get the ruling they are seeking, I would fully expect the defense to go back in and request a bond reduction, and expect to see Peterson released. Like it or not, what basis is there to keep him locked up if he wins the ruling? In that case, I don’t know if the State will then ask to go forward with the trial, as they were prepared to do before they filed the appeal regarding Judge White’s rulings on the hearsay.

    Whew, lots to consider.

  40. I also wonder if the statements were to be disallowed, would the prosecution drop the case but then immediately follow up with an indictment for Stacy’s murder? This could go a lot of ways.

  41. I don’t know if I misunderstood or not, but the one judge kept saying, you’ll have a new trial judge and it’s up to him on what he admits as evidence. Almost like saying, why are we here.

  42. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I remember the States Attorney mention the hearsay statements are only part of their evidence and that this case does not hinge on “hear-say” alone.

    He’s been saying this all along, regardless of what the Defense is claiming.

    Remember there were many, many, many boxes of evidence and tens of thousands of documents; they can’t all just be hearsay statements, but it goes without saying the Prosecution wants to have as many hearsay statements admitted as the Defense wants denied and you can’t blame either party for trying ………

    With a 20 million dollar Bond on Drews head, it is highly unlikely the State is going to gamble having to let Drew walk or drop the case over a few hearsay statements.

    That 20 million dollar Bond is so high for a reason and at this stage we can only guess what that could be ……..

  43. Right, JAH. And I highly doubt the State is going to allow Peterson to bond out so they can try and get some hearsay testimony in, especially since they were prepared to go forward before the Hanson ruling came down.

    Either Kathleen died as the result of a convoluted, bizarre fall in the tub, or there’s another explanation for her death, a murder. Once the jury focuses on the cause of death, and if they come to the conclusion that her death was not the result of an accident, they will likely try to zero in on the murder defendant as being the one with the most to gain as a result of her death, and how he fits in with the time line of that night. They’ll either tie it all together to get the complete picture of what happened during the hours of her death, or they will let the man walk. If Stacy was calling his cell phone when he was supposed to be lying next to her in bed or close by in the house, and the records bear that out, that may be enough to put him at the scene. The murder defendant knew full well he trampled up a potential crime scene, so his DNA and prints were everywhere that night, whether she drowned on her own or he drowned her himself. The point is, should he get away with a murder because he was slick enough to muck up the scene, or will a jury see through it all and find a way to make it right?

  44. Grandam, I was confused by the many times the Justices reminded the State that they could challenge any decision at any time before the trial was ended…and yet they questioned the timeliness of the appeal. I guess I don’t understand how one challenges a Jude’s decision without an appeal.

    I might throw some of these questions past a lawyer tomorrow and we can get some answers.

  45. Rescue @ 6.48 pm,

    From memory the Prosecution also said that over time statements were made by Drew that “only the killer would have known”.

  46. Ohhhhhhhhhhh yeah, JAH, now that you mention it, I do remember hearing that.

    I hope they do have evidence to make a case, even without all of the hearsay. IMO, the hearsay statements are planted in the public’s head anyway, just like Brodsky/Peterson are trying to do with their happy family wants their father home stuff. Works both ways, I guess.

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