Drew Peterson attorney asked to “step aside” from team

Attorney Walter Maksym (second from left) has been kicked off the Peterson legal team.

One of Drew Peterson’s attorneys, Walter Maksym, was asked to step down as Peterson’s legal representative after being reprimanded by a federal appeals court.

Yesterday in a scathing ruling Maksym was called out after repeatedly submitting unintelligble appeals that “flagrantly disobeyed” court instructions, leaving defendants unaware of what charges were being leveled against them.

In short, Maksym’s entire approach to this case was alarmingly deficient. For all the foregoing reasons, we hold that the district court was well within its discretion to deny leave to file the second amended complaint and to dismiss the case with prejudice. We also order Maksym to show cause within 21 days why he should not be removed or suspended from the bar of this court or otherwise disciplined under Rule 46(b) or (c) of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure. We also direct the clerk of this court to send a copy of this opinion to the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of Illinois for any action it deems appropriate.

Quick to attempt some damage control, Joel Brodsky sent out a press release announcing that Maksym had been asked to “step aside” from Peterson’s legal team, making sure to point out that Maksym was not representing Peterson in the case of Kathleen Savio’s murder, but only in civil matters, like his failed suit against JPMorgan Chase Bank, the attempt to rent out Peterson’s house to the highest bidder, or the cease and desist letter sent to the makers of a Lifetime movie, in an attempt to halt its progress.

Maybe now Walter Maksym can devote more time to his other pursuits, like producing movies starring retired porn stars. He might even consider writing a sequal to the sex manual he co-authored and advise us all on how to have a two-hour orgasm!

Read story at the Chicago Tribune

Read Joel Brodsky’s press release

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22 thoughts on “Drew Peterson attorney asked to “step aside” from team

  1. Here is one bullet point that stood out:

    Near incomprehensibility. Much of the writing is little more than gibberish. An example:

    Stanard and attendees, were stunned on the day of the family-oriented event, when an even more menacing law enforcement presence was created when Nygren’s armed deputies, without prior consent or permission, warrant or probable cause, arrived, not a part of any agreement and a surprise and upset when it arrive, uninvited, on and entered and trespassed on Plaintiff property with drug-sniffing ‘K-9’dogs, obviously and unfortunate that Defendants were ‘looking for trouble’ where there was none as distinct from “looking to serve”.

  2. Man, if I didn’t know better, I’d swear that a guy who calls himself a doctor of something-or-other wrote that thing. If you want to get a refresher course into another Peterson groupie, check this out:

    http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Belleville+UFO+Police+Reports+Analyzed%3B+Drew+Peterson+Dam+Bar…-a0218101556

    Belleville, WI UFO:

    Even if you don’t believe in UFO’s you have to believe in the spirit this lucky Village beams up to all who visit. Sergeant Drew Peterson felt the beams when he visited the extraterrestrial friendly Dam Bar in the Park Hotel Apartments on Main Street. It is said that the longer you patronize the bar and look into the sky from the outdoor patio, the better your chances of seeing UFO’s.

    Yeah, UFO’s. They better start beaming up this bunch.

  3. Aren’t those two ^^^^^^^ a cute couple? Two heads for the price of one. Not thinking heads, but talking heads.

    Hey, wonder who’s idea it was to put Drew’s motorcycle on Ebay for $50,000+. You know, bid on and buy the motorcycle that is owned by the guy who’s cooling his jets in jail, awaiting trial on murder charges?????? Brodsky? Maksym? Budenz? I can’t make a decision, I’m so confused……

  4. We long ago called out Maksym as being a…well…a weirdo, but that doesn’t necessarily make him a bad lawyer. I mean, just because you get your Masters Degree from a polyamorous sex camp, that’s no indication that you won’t be able to perform the duties of a staunch and clever attorney, now does it?

    Seriously, I think it’s a shame that Peterson can’t be better represented.

  5. Interesting that in this radio interview from July, Maksym is asked if it’s a fair assessment to say that Joel Brodsky is on the criminal end of the Peterson representation and that Maksym handles the business end.

    Maksym kind of quails and says, “Mmm…more or less. I’m also sort of on the coaching side, on the constitutional side, with respect to the defense team, the criminal defense team.

    http://www.wlsam.com/article.asp?id=2237408&spid=37724

    Funny, that isn’t how Joel Brodsky described Maksym’s involvement in the press release today. According to Joel, “(Maksym) is not, and never has been, involved with Drew Peterson’s criminal defense case.

    So…it would seem that the two of them don’t really agree on that detail.

  6. Funny too, in that interview Maksym says that the JPMorgan Chase suit was “settled”. That’s just an outright falsehood since it was dismissed. Chase asked for a judgment after Drew lost and maybe they settled for a lesser amount, but it was Drew who was seeking damages from Chase and he got nada, zilch, nothing and his case was dismissed.

    In case anyone else has forgotten:

    [PROPOSED] JUDGMENT IN A CIVIL ACTION

    The Court has ordered that Plaintiff Drew W. Peterson recover nothing, the action be dismissed on the merits, and that the Defendant JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. recover costs from the Plaintiff.

    This is what Drew and Maksym ended up with for all their trouble. Ouch!:

    NOTICE OF MOTION
    To: WalterP. Maksym, Jr.

    PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, September 28, 2010, … counsel for JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. shall appear before the Honorable Judge Ronald A. Guzman in Courtroom 1219, … and then and there present JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.’s Motion To Have Judgment Against Plaintiff Drew W. Peterson Set Forth On A Separate Document And Entered, a copy of which has been filed electronically and was previously served upon you.

    Date: September 14, 2010 Respectfully submitted,
    JPMORGAN CHASE BANK, N.A.
    By: Isl Michael G. Salemi

  7. John Paul Carroll is another former Peterson attorney who took a hike. Only, he WAS a major part of the criminal defense team. He was brought on board, just like Maksym, by Brodsky.

    Peterson attorney faces discipline

    2007 murder trial focus of agency complaint

    September 2, 2009
    By JOE HOSEY

    A member of Drew Peterson’s legal team is in trouble with the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Committee for allegedly holding out on his clients in a murder case after prosecutors offered them a plea deal.

    The Aug. 20 complaint accuses attorney John Paul Carroll of violating the rules of professional conduct by failing to reveal the plea deal until after his two clients were convicted on all charges.

    John Paul Carroll is part of Drew Peterson’s defense team. An attorneys group accuses him of violating the rules of professional conduct for his actions in a 2007 Kane County murder case.

    Carroll was representing brothers Jaime and Edgar Castro in a 2007 Kane County murder case. The Castros were charged with killing Julio Gurrola, who attempted to steal a pound of marijuana from them at gunpoint.

    According to reports, Gurrola pulled a gun during a drug deal with the Castros. But Edgar Castro allegedly beat Gurrola to the punch, drawing his own pistol and firing.

    During the ensuing shootout, Gurrola was killed and Edgar Castro was wounded.

    The Castros were charged with first-degree murder, armed violence, concealment of a homicidal death and possession of cannabis with intent to deliver.

    A prosecutor offered to allow the Castros to plead to a single count each of armed violence in exchange for a 15-year prison sentence, according to the complaint, but Carroll failed to relay the deal. A jury later found them guilty on all counts.

    Carroll claims he forgot to mention the prosecutor’s offer to the Castros but then remembered after his clients were convicted. He says he was conflicted about what to do and realized he might be punished if he came clean about the plea.

    “I know if I don’t say anything, nobody knows,” Carroll said. “I say to myself, ‘Do I beef myself off?’”

    New trial

    Carroll did just this, he said, informing the Castros of the plea offer and admitting to the court he neglected to do so before the trial.

    According to the complaint, he filed a motion for a new trial on the grounds he “had not informed (the Castros) of the state’s plea offer and had ‘merely rejected the offer out of hand.’”

    Circuit Court Judge Timothy Sheldon appointed a new attorney for the Castros and allowed them to take the original plea deal for 15 years. If judge had not done so, Carroll said, Edgar Castro would have been sentenced to 45 years and Jaime Castro would have gotten 35 years.

    “I said to myself, ‘I’ll be dead and they’ll still be in prison,’” Carroll said of his decision to reveal
    the plea deal.

    Carroll appeared in court to represent Peterson in Dec. 2007 when the accused wife-killer was seeking the return of his guns and vehicles from the state police.

    After Peterson’s May arrest on murder charges in connection with the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, another of his attorneys, Joel Brodsky, said Carroll would be joining the defense team for this case as well. Carroll has yet to file his appearance.

    Brodsky, who ran into trouble of his own with the ARDC in 2004 when his law license was suspended for three months for signing a dead man’s name in order to cash a $23,000 check, failed to return calls for comment.

    Carroll, a former Chicago police detective and Cook County assistant state’s attorney, said he is cooperating with the ARDC but does not know what the organization plans to do with him.

    *************
    This attorney is now representing a murder defendant, Shawn Gaston, in the 2009 shooting death of 27 year old Chicago Police Officer Alejandro Valadez. The trial has just begun. When Shawn Gaston was arrested, he was represented in the media by none other than Joel Brodsky. I think it’s safe to say that justice will prevail in this heart wrenching case, IMO.

  8. In December 2009, this was Drew’s legal team:

    Joel A. Brodsky
    Reem Odeh
    Andrew Abood
    John Carrol
    Walter Maksym
    George Lenard

    (Odeh, Abood and Lenard all left, citing irreconcilable differences with Brodsky as the reason. Carrol and Maksym both left after facing disciplinary issues)

    and this is how it looks as of today:

    Joel A. Brodsky
    Steven A. Greenberg
    Joseph R. Lopez
    Lisa Lopez
    Ralph Meczyk
    Darryl Goldberg

  9. http://www.state.il.us/court/SupremeCourt/Announce/default.asp
    People’s Docket, Civil Docket, Leave to Appeal Docket

    http://www.state.il.us/court/SupremeCourt/Announce/2011/091911_2.pdf
    SUPREME COURT OF ILLINOIS
    MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2011
    THE FOLLOWING ANNOUNCEMENTS WERE MADE:
    LEAVE TO APPEAL DOCKET
    No. 112875 – People State of Illinois, petitioner, v. Drew Peterson, respondent.
    Motion by respondent for release from custody while this case is pending in the Supreme Court of Illinois or the Appellate Court, Third District,
    pursuant Supreme Court Rule 604(a)(3).
    Motion denied.
    Order entered by the Court.

    Motion by respondent to strike petition for leave to appeal.
    On the Court’s own motion, the motion by respondent
    to strike the State’s petition for leave to appeal
    is taken with the petition for leave to appeal.
    Order entered by the Court.

  10. http://www.state.il.us/court/SupremeCourt/Announce/default.asp
    People’s Docket, Civil Docket, Leave to Appeal Docket, Advisement Docket, Miscellaneous Record
    http://www.state.il.us/court/SupremeCourt/Announce/2011/092011_2.pdf
    SUPREME COURT OF ILLINOIS
    COURT CONVENED AT 9:30 A.M., TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2011
    THE FOLLOWING ANNOUNCEMENTS WERE MADE:
    THE FOLLOWING MOTIONS WERE PRESENTED AND ORDERS WERE ENTERED
    AS INDICATED:
    LEAVE TO APPEAL DOCKET
    No. 112875 – People State of Illinois, petitioner, v. Drew Peterson, respondent.
    Motion by petitioner for leave to substitute
    corrected opinion as appendix under seal.
    Motion allowed.
    Order entered by Chief Justice Kilbride.

  11. A nice breakdown of the Maksym situation on this blog (complete with the 345-word sentence that was mentioned in the judge’s opinion):

    http://abovethelaw.com/2011/09/benchslap-of-the-day-a-billy-madison-style-rambling-incoherent-complaint/

    So what did Maksym have to say for himself? In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, he blamed his problems on his cancer treatment, stating, “It was an isolated period where I was suffering from health problems that affected my ability to practice.”

    We feel for you Maksym, we really do, but maybe you shouldn’t have been representing people when your brain wasn’t working. We award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

  12. I just endured listening to an interview with Dan Budenz on Dana Pretzers’ show (remember him?) and there was much plugging of his awful book, replete with some weird reminiscences about how he likes to say that Drew was in rehab at his facility because at one time, Drew was an intern at the Hines VA hospital doing intakes and counseling procedures (although at another point Budenz says flat out “I assessed Drew Peterson clinically twice, over separate decades”. So make of that what you will.) Charming story of how he tried to trip Drew when he was walking down the aisle to marry Carol Hamilton (Adorable!)

    The only interesting bit of info I got from the interview is that Budenz denies he ever told Drew Peterson to tell Stacy’s kids that mommy is on vacation. Despite Drew telling the media numerous times that the counseling he had (and as far as we know, Budenz was it) told him to tell the kids that. Budenz pretty much says that Drew was telling the little ones that story of his own volition.

    Funny moment when Budenz claims that his book is the most up-to-date concerning the Peterson ‘saga’ since it covers the lie detector test that Drew took, and not even Drew’s own book (authored by Derek Armstong) covers that. Hmmm, I guess he forgot that the book he’s referring to shows Drew Peterson on the cover hooked up to a lie detector machine. ;)

    Meh…I want my thirty minutes back.
    http://tinyurl.com/3n5sd8b

  13. “CASAREZ: Oh, that`s a very, very good question. Let`s go out to Mr. Brodsky. Do you know if any of the children have had counseling? It is their mother that`s been missing for so many months.

    BRODSKY: Not formal counseling. A friend of Drew`s that (ph) they (ph) were at his house for two weeks in Florida and then a few days or as much as a week up in Wisconsin at his house, is a licensed clinical social worker. And he observed them and talked to them and gave Drew advice on how to deal with the situation.

    March 21, 2008: http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0803/21/ng.01.html

    OK, so the only “counseling” the kids got was Budenz and his wife, neither of which are licensed social workers (tho Dan now states that a social worker was also at the house at the time), and Budenz gave Drew advice but “mommy is on vacation” was not part of it. Whatever. Someone is lying about the origin of that explanation. No surprise.

    But here’s the thing though and why it’s kind of important whose idea it was to tell those kids that Stacy was on vacation. Because it’s a shitty thing to say. What kid wants to think that mom would up and leave without saying goodbye to go have fun somewhere without them, some place so fun that she never thinks to call or write or even send a postcard. He could have told those kids that mommy had to leave — that she was called away to do a very important secret mission and that it hurt her very very much to have to leave the way she did and that she thinks about them every day even though she can’t see them.

    Oh, right! That’s the fantasy explanation that he reserved for himself when he disappeared off to jail. Daddy is gone because he got called away to do some very important work with the police! To hell with the truth. All that matters is that Stacy is made to look like a bad person, even to her two young children, no matter what it costs their tender feelings and mental health; and that Drew be thought of as a hero…instead of the man who probably killed her. It’s sickening.

    I wonder what the youngest ones are being told these days…

  14. Very detailed, interesting info, Facs.

    I fail to understand why Pretzer chose Budenz to interview. Was he drawn to the idea that Budenz knows how to make contact with the aliens hoovering around Wisconsin in the Mother Ship? Near the rock, around the Dam Bar?

    Seriously, this man sounds like he needs some intervention himself. Really.

  15. It was kind of gross, too, how Budenz kept saying how he’d love to come back and give Pretzer a full hour interview. He tried to be all enticing by dropping little incendiary nuggets like, “bring me back on and I’ll tell you the two reasons why Drew is guilty…” Of course, this was after stating that there is no evidence that Drew has done anything wrong and that certain reporters have made him into a monster.

    He claims to have spent over “1000 hours with Drew Peterson and his family” and that Drew gave him exclusive interviews. Remember, he claims these days that his book is being turned into a “major motion picture” even though he admits that only a small fraction is about Drew Peterson.

    We’ve seen excerpts of the book. It’s nonsense. No one is making a movie out of it.

    Budenz is a whack job.

  16. What I don’t understand is why isn’t Brodsky spewing his usual cease and desist line? Threatening to sue him for going around and pretending to have firsthand, secret information? Using Drew to have a “major motion picture” made without his consent.

    I don’t get it. Brodsky threatens EVERYONE. Even me (and my husband).

    Remember when he had Kris post this on WSOM, and said that I (and my husband) should be called Mr. and Mrs. Defendant. :-)

    Rescue will soon be hearing a knock knock on her door. Guess who? Its the process server with a summons. Better get a good lawyer. Wow are they expensive. Soon she will be consulting a bankruptcy lawyer. Too bad libel judgments aren’t discharable. Loosing her home and business. Awh that’s too bad.

    Joel A. BrodskySent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

    “Better get a good lawyer.” Haha. I am going to be “loosing” my home. Scarry lawwyer.

  17. Forgive me but I had to share just one more bit from Budenz’s Masterpiece of Maladjustment. I mean, how many people could manage to tie together UFOs, a self-promoted teen flick, and Drew Peterson all at the same time?

    By the way Belleville is a wonderful village and is home to spectacular UFO sightings. To commemorate these sightings, on the last Saturday of every October the Village celebrates UFO days with a parade and other festive activities. Drew Peterson visited the properties and the Belleville area when his family stayed with us. I set up the 2010 release teen comedy movie, “May Day” to have Belleville, Wisconsin as the initial sighting of alien spacecraft in the opening scene. Drew Peterson is quietly connected in some way to the movie as well.

    And if that isn’t nuts enough for you, here’s a new twist on numerology – Upside down, almost numerology!

    If you turn Peterson’s police badge 959 upside down it is only fractions off the devil’s number of 666.

    What? 626? That is just so frickin’ close to 666! It’s only fractions off. And even if Drew’s badge number was 999 it would mean…..ummm….nothing.

    And this is the guy who was providing counseling to Drew’s children in those early weeks after Stacy’s disappearance.

  18. For the record it was Drew that said “a psychologist” told him it was OK to tell the kids that Stacy was on vacation, so either Drew is lying or Budenz is. At this point I don’t much care who since one is a self-professed con-man and the other is a nut.

    From an April 2008 Transcript.

    KING: The younger don’t understand?

    PETERSON: The younger two, Anthony and Lacy, their — they were their mom is on vacation. And I talked to a psychologist and he said that was age appropriate for them.

    http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0804/11/lkl.01.html

    And Rescue, to reply to your earlier comment, I think that is why Joel Brodsky doesn’t bother to go after Dan Budenz. He’s too much of a nut to be a threat and besides he knows that Budenz never has a hope of making any money off that book. Personally, I believe that is the only reason Peterson went after Lifetime movies. He doesn’t care how he’s depicted but he does care if someone else might be making some money and he doesn’t get a cut.

    As for why he threatened you, Joel just gets antsy when anyone mentions that Michigan Avenue police report. ;)

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