Drew Peterson murder trial: Jury selection starts today – 8 jurors seated

UPDATE 09:09 p.m. CST:

Eight jurors have been seated (5 men, 3 women). Defense is saying they are confident that selection will finish tomorrow. If I’m deciphering Joe Lopez’s tweets correctly, the defense used two of their allotted 10 peremptory challenges.

UPDATE 07:31 p.m. CST:

Jon Seidel reports that lawyers are done questioning potential jurors for the day. Peterson gets 15 minutes to talk things over with lawyers.

UPDATE 07:14 p.m. CST:

Dinner has been brought in. Selection continues.

UPDATE 05:38 p.m. CST:

Still no jurors selected. Court is going to run late so attorneys can take care of more selection. Eight candidates were allowed to go home and return tomorrow.

UPDATE 04:53 p.m. CST:

Attorney Joe Lopez says “a lot” of juror candidates watched Drew Peterson: Untouchable.

UPDATE 03:20 CST:

Less than half of today’s 40 juror candidates have been questioned so far.

UPDATE 02:49 p.m. CST:

Concerns that jury candidates are discussing their questioning. Media cleared from courtroom while judge admonishes potential jurors.

UPDATE 01:32 p.m. CST:

Judge Burmila is back on the bench. Tells juror candidates this case “isn’t a show you have seen on TV”.

UPDATE 01:06 p.m. CST:

Breaking for a short lunch.

UPDATE 12:26 CST:

Reports are that defense attys are asking the most questions, re: family members, education, experience with the law. Jury candidates are saying they can be fair to Peterson and have avoided media coverage, by turning off tv/radio, leaving the room when news about Peterson came on.

UPDATE 10:50 CST:

Juror candidates now seated in courtroom for selection process.

UPDATE 10:39 CST:

Hearing has ended. Judge told prosecutors he’ll let Peterson object to hearsay evidence as it is presented. This means he will not be barring any of the hearsay statements before trial and that we will most likely not be seeing any further delays/appeals. [Download audio MP4] Now jury selection can start.

Peterson arrives at Joliet courthouse July 23, 2012

UPDATE 9:50 CST:

Media allowed into courtroom.

UPDATE 09:25 CST:

Attorney Joe Lopez arrives at courthouse.

UPDATE 09:00 CST:

Some of the defense team is giving sound bites to the media near the back entrance of courthouse. Jury questionnaire is still sealed but Attorney Greenberg quips that “No Nancy Grace fans” will be chosen by the defense. [Download audio MP4]

UPDATE 08:45 CST:

Potential jurors begin to arrive at the courthouse in Joliet.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The long wait for a group of potential jurors assembled to hear the Drew Peterson murder case is finally over.

The group was assembled almost three years ago when then presiding Judge Stephen White (now retired) called 240 potential jurors into his courtroom in groups of 60 to fill out questionnaires. Since then the trial has been delayed by numerous motions and a long stint in Appellate Court and Illinois Supreme Court, but this same group (or what is left at this time) will be the starting point for assembling the 12 men and women (plus alternates) who’ll be seated when Peterson’s trial for the murder of Kathleen Savio begins next week.

As usual, we’ll have our eyes and ears open and post updates throughout the day. Check back throughout the day for the latest news and don’t forget to check the comment thread.

On a side note, we are proud to observe that Justice Café has been researched extensively by the news media for the last few weeks. We’ve seen CNN, TBS, CBS, and NBC (as well as local news media) on the stats for hours at a time researching the blog posts, documents, FAQ and the photos we’ve compiled over the years.

HLN/InSession producers have been in touch with us requesting interviews and an offer of camera time. Neither Rescueapet nor myself feel comfortable with doing that but after repeated requests Rescue has agreed to do a phone interview with In Session which should air tomorrow afternoon. We’ll let you know the exact time when we find out more.

We’re following:
Jon Seidel
Joseph Hosey
Craig Wall
In Session

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41 thoughts on “Drew Peterson murder trial: Jury selection starts today – 8 jurors seated

  1. Not much to say — courtroom closed off to media at the moment (Joe Hosey–Twitter). Brodsky says they have “the ultimate jury consultant.” Greenberg says “If there’s 12 people who want to convict Drew b/c they don’t like him, God help us.” (Craig Wall–Twitter)

  2. Joel Brodsky did an interview this morning, and he’s expecting to seat jurors who will judge Drew from the lack of evidence and not what they’ve heard in the media.

    Isn’t that special?

  3. So the defense is saying that Drew Peterson is “the ultimate jury consultant” based on his police experience. I don’t know about that. He chose Joel Brodsky to represent him based on his read of character…

  4. Wow, He picked a lawyer that couldn’t control him and even enabled him by talking to the media constantly. Now, the same lawyer is expecting to have jurors that have no clue any of this went on, and ignore what they’ve heard. I just can’t imagine I’m reading what I am…

  5. I don’t have a clue what the jury will do with Drew Peterson, but if he is found guilty, I’d expect the other lawyers to run as fast as they can from the likes of Brodsky, and what he has done by turning the philosphy of keeping a client quiet on its head.

  6. This is the same judge of character who befriended felons and street rats on a habitual basis. Oh well, they could have a point. Those might be his best defenders on a jury.

  7. If the judge is waiting for hearsay statements to be brought up in trial, before he makes a decision. Can the prosecutors use statements in opening?

  8. facsmiley
    — July 23, 2012 at 11:24 am
    This is the same judge of character who befriended felons and street rats on a habitual basis. Oh well, they could have a point. Those might be his best defenders on a jury.

    _______________________________________

    I would sure hope that you are calling them street rats and felons as a way to take a jab at Brodsky.. That’s what Brodsky has always called them.. I read here often and respect what you do but not if you’re slamming people that you do not know..

  9. Hi FUDP, Thanks for reading the blog and I’m glad you respect what we do here.

    I’m not going to glut the comment thread with copy and pastes of the legal issues common to the people that Peterson surrounded himself with (back when he made and had friends), but I’ll just say that my appraisal of them isn’t based on personal opinion.

    I think it’s been pretty well established that Drew’s milieu was not always populated by the squeaky-clean. This doesn’t make Peterson any more or less guilty of a crime, but I think it does call into question his ability to judge character.

  10. [SNIP] from Patch story:

    Updated 12:25 p.m. “Good morning, ladies and gentleman, I’m Mr. Peterson.”

    With that, accused wife-killer Drew Peterson made his first impression on a group of 40 men and women who may serve on the jury for his murder trial.

    Thirty-nine of the 40 were then led from the courtroom and attorneys began questioning individual prospective jurors. First up was a young man attending Columbia College in Chicago. He said his father is the dean of students at Bolingbrook High School.

    He was followed by a Beecher resident who said her only brushes with crime were when her father-in-law was shot and when her parents’ Chicago Heights home was burglarized.

    After the Beecher woman a mortgage calculator and a Lockport man both said they were not exposed to media converage that would affect their objectivity in determining Peterson’s guilt or innocence.

    The most pointed argument over a juror came with the fifth and last to be questioned this morning. A vascular technologist was asked by defense attorney Darryl Goldberg whether she had any bumper stickers on her car, drawing an objection from State’s Attorney Jame Glasgow.

    Judge Edward Burmila had the woman leave the courtroom while five lawyers argued over the merits of the question. Burmila let Goldberg ask it. The woman said she has no bumperstickers.

    http://shorewood-il.patch.com/articles/drew-peterson-trial-underway-today

  11. Good coverage on In Session right now. Had to laugh when Joel Brodsky was almost belligerent in correcting Beth Karas and insisting that Stacy Peterson “ran off with another man”. Loved seeing her throw it back in his face by reminding him that the only one who says that’s the case is the murder defendant. He looked like a complete boob.

  12. Via Beth Karas’ Facebook:

    Stacy Peterson’s sister, Cassandra Cales, is in court for jury selection. Savio’s sisters are not in court–probably because they are potential witnesses.

    Reporter/author Joe Hosey is now on the defense’s witness list. His attorney was in court this morning ensuring that Hosey can stay in court to watch the trial. He can, for now.

  13. Atty Greenberg spewing lies again about how no one spoke out about their suspicions that Drew had killed Kathleen immediately after her death.

    He’s been called out on this before, but he insists on lying about it on camera (as we assume he’ll do in court)

    The truth is that not only one person came forward immediately after Kathleen Savio died to express their concerns and suspicions, numerous people did. Greenberg must think we’re ignorant or is just hoping we’ve all forgotten the hearsay hearings during which witness after witness testified under oath to coming forward.

    Savio was found dead in her bathtub exactly six years ago March 1. At least one woman and three men, including an attorney and a Bolingbrook police officer, went to the state police soon after her body was discovered and tried to report the suspicions they harbored about her ex-husband, Drew Peterson.

    Savio’s boyfriend, Steve Maniaci, not only talked to police, but confronted Peterson in person:

    Savio’s boyfriend of two years, Steve Maniaci, said he approached Drew Peterson outside Savio’s house on the night her body was found and asked if he had killed her. Peterson denied any involvement, Maniaci testified.

    “It sure worked out well for you, Drew,” Maniaci said.

    “She wouldn’t have won anyway,” Peterson replied, according to Maniaci.

    Maniaci said he told police about Peterson and Savio’s tumultuous relationship and the knife incident shortly after her body was found.

    Kathleen Savio’s divorce attorney Harry Smith had heard Savio’s fears and had promised her he would speak out if something happened to her…and he did:

    I attempted to do what she told me to do,” Smith said. “I had to go to the authorities and tell them Drew did it.

    “I called,” Smith said. “I told him who I was and I told him essentially the complaint and the thing Kathleen had told me. At least I attempted to.

    So, we might think it’s pretty sad that a respected attorney would go on camera and blatantly lie about the facts of a case, but that isn’t the saddest part of this story. The saddest part is that when all of these people came forward to authorities after Kathleen’s death, no one followed up with them. Their concerns were cast aside, pooh-poohed and otherwise hushed up.

    Drew Peterson was questioned in the lunch room of his own police station, and none of the complaints of these witnesses made it to the police report. Not one, to quote attorney Greenberg.

  14. In the article above regarding the questioning of potenial jurors, are they saying the first 5 were accepted or just that 5 were interviewed in the morning?

  15. From ABCnews.com:
    Jury selection in the trial of Drew Peterson for the alleged murder of his third wife began today in Joliet, Ill., but the former cop’s attorney predicted that the judge will throw out the case after the prosecution concludes its case.

    “We have always said, and this has never changed: They simply don’t have any evidence. They have conjecture, rumor, speculation, hearsay, but they don’t have any evidence. Even a predispositioned jury is going to want to hear evidence, and they don’t have any,” Peterson’s attorney Joel Brodsky told ABC News.

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/drew-petersons-lawyer-expects-case-thrown-judge/story?id=16836782

    ***
    Do you think Brodsky and Drew believe this? Truly?

  16. Charmed, I don’t think I’ve heard anyone say jurors have been seated.

    On another note, I understand Brodsky is backing off being responsible for Peterson’s media cravings. He admits he couldn’t stop him, so decided to help him by being his media manager. I guess his “white noise” theory is something we’re supposed to erase from our minds, even though he posted his “white noise” theory on Legalpub.com

    He claims he would have stopped the media appearances if he could have.

    Yeah, right Brodsky.

  17. Brodsky keeps repeating, over and over, that Peterson can’t be placed at Kathleen’s house at the time of her death. Well, to that I say, where can he be placed? Can he be placed in his house, in bed, next to Stacy during that time? Because if he can’t, I’m sure we’d all like to know just where he was. If he wasn’t where he was supposed to be, then, in my mind, he CAN be placed at Kathleen’s house.

  18. It’s as if the defense gang thinks that if they chant something long enough in public that all the evidence will just go “poof”.

    Circumstantial evidence is admissible and the jury is going to hear a lot of it, as well as expert testimony and first-hand testimony from people like the would-be hitman who will testify that Drew asked him to find someone to kill Kathleen.

  19. Jon Seidel ‏@SeidelContent
    So far at least one #DrewPeterson juror has said she didn’t think she could render a fair verdict.

    That’s one way to get out of jury duty!

  20. I was glad to see that Beth Karas jammed it back at Brodsky by saying it was the murder defendant saying Stacy ran off with another man, when he tried to correct her about Stacy’s disappearance. Just like it’s the murder defendant that insists on painting Kathleen as a “hellcat” and scorned woman. I don’t know, it’s not looking too promising for him, though. A co-worker testified he told him he’d be better off if she were dead during the time of their contentious divorce. That doesn’t make him sound like a choir boy to me.

    He doesn’t sound like a very competent police officer either, even though Brodsky thinks he’s the jury pickin’ wiz. Peterson rounded up a locksmith and the unsuspecting neighbors to tear into a house that could have had an intruder hiding in it, without any regard for their safety (ah hem, assuming he didn’t know Kathleen was laying dead in the bathtub). Either he’s a murderer that concocted a strange cover-up, or he’s about the biggest and most stupid cop Bolingbrook ever had.

    So Brodsky can blubber all he wants. Now he has to defend his client the legal way, not the Brodsky way.

  21. Craig Wall ‏@craigrwall
    14 potential jurors questioned in #DrewPeterson case. 25 to go today. 1 man watched entire Lifetime movie. Thought it made Drew look guilty

    I kind of assumed that just seeing “Untouchable” might mean an automatic thumbs down. I wonder if anyone who’s seen the movie but says that they were not swayed one way or another by it, will make final cut?

  22. We’re seeing the hearsay ruling from this morning reported in a lot of different ways. This is how Attorney Greenberg explained it to the media this morning and this makes sense to me.

    GREENBERG: Forfeiture by wrongdoing did not bar these statements on hearsay grounds and he also said if there was any other reason that we could think of, raise it. So that’s what we’re doing. We’re just doing what we have to do to make sure that Drew gets a fair trial based on competent evidence.

    MEDIA QUESTION: So technically they’re all in but up for objections?

    GREENBEG: They’re not in…they’re just… If I stood up and I said, “Objection! Hearsay!” The judge, following the appellate court ruling, should say, “Overruled.”

    If I get up and come up with any other objection, including a different hearsay objection, the judge is to consider the objection and rule accordingly.

    Until the witness gets up there and they (the State) asks the question, we don’t know what the objection’s gonna be.

    MEDIA QUESTION: We’re hearing a lot of numbers. 16, 8, 9, I mean how many is it?

    GREENBERG: I don’t know. It keeps changing. I don’t know that you could say “statements”. It is things that they want the witnesses to testify to. It’s different events, different conversations. I don’t know if there’s 8, 16, 430 or two. It doesn’t really matter. They’ll get cross-examined and we’ll deal with it.

  23. Just heard on the radio news that the judge has excluded 8 of the hearsay statements as unreliable.

    Is this accurate?

  24. Hi John. What you heard on the news is inaccurate (we’ve seen a few inaccuracies reported today). Read Attorney Greenberg’s statements above for an accurate summation of today’s decision on the hearsay.

    The judge is honoring the decision of the Appellate Court and the hearsay is admissible under the Forfeiture by Wrongdoing hearsay exception.

    The prosecution can call their witnesses to testify and the defense can object but they’ll have to object on grounds other than the fact that something is “hearsay”. The judge will rule as he sees fit.

    I’m seeing plenty of sidebars in our future…

  25. I sincerely hope the media that read here don’t let Brodsky skate on trying to pretend his ‘white noise’ theory is just a figment of our imaginations.

    I also hope nobody lets the defense forget that *many* people questioned peterson’s involvment in Kathleen’s death right off the bat.

    Thirdly, has anybody in the media reported the fact that all witnesses from when Kathleen was found reported no *towel* or bathrobe, etc, yet in the crime scene photos there is a towel on the side of the tub?

    This particular defense team makes my flesh crawl with their unethical behaviour.

  26. I recorded In Session’s coverage today and am going to watch it later (fast-forwarding through the defense B.S.). I know that reporters like to give the defense gang a chance to talk since they don’t want to come off as unfriendly or biased, but I do like to see them get called out on the blather that is just automatic at this point. Joel really works himself up into a lather to defend statements that he couldn’t possibly know are true or not. It’s ridiculous.

    I did walk through the room once today while Joel was being interviewed about his photographs of celebrities. It was almost embarrassing how star-struck he is. I swear, I almost felt sorry for him. Did he really ask Vinnie Politan for an autographed picture?

  27. I am so glad that this circus is finally under way, and I must say, I had my doubts. From what I hear from a few people, Judge Burmilla is a good person, and an excellant criminal judge, I just heard this, this past weekend from people who know him on a personal and professional level. So I pray.

  28. That’s good to hear, Irish. A fair and professional judge is all that one can ask for. No screaming and yelling at either side, and keeping things on an even keel would be a good thing.

  29. FYI – I’ll be doing a phone interview tomorrow with Insession approximately 12:15. Most of the convo should be regarding this board, and the interest in all things Drew Peterson.

  30. I just saw Greenberg yapping yet again about how no one said anything about their suspicions that Kathleen’s death was anything but an accident, “not even her own family”.

    He should be ashamed to lie like that, on national TV.

    This is what Sue Savio said at the Coroner’s inquest into the manner of her sister’s death. She said this right off the bat:

    “I was told that my sister was dead. I asked if her ex-husband killed her, and she told me she didn’t know. And the reason I ask that is because of — they haven’t settled — they were divorced, but they did not settle anything, and that actually was coming up. And she was terrified of that — him and him threatening her. ”

    I know he needs to defend Drew Peterson, but how does lying to the public do this? He’s not going to get away with that crap in court.

  31. “I just saw Greenberg yapping yet again about how no one said anything about their suspicions that Kathleen’s death was anything but an accident, “not even her own family”.”

    This is really bugging me! Rescue, are you able to mention that during your interview? Expose a few of his lies?

  32. Good News so far today huh? I am excited to finally see something happening here. Let’s get this trial going and him behind bars where he belongs!
    Rescue, I am so excited for you! You will do great. Make sure to tell them everything :) Nothing like the REAL truth getting out there! I will be at work tomorrow, is anybody going to tape the audio part of it at least? I would love to listen to it later when I get home.

  33. Patch does a rundown of the first 8 jurors:

    • An older woman from unincorporated New Lenox who took college classes in business and child care. Married to an auto body technician, this woman has eight children, four of whom are divorced. She reads the National Enquirer but doesn’t believe its stories.
    • This juror was born in Puerto Rico and moved with his family to Bolingbrook in 2001 when he was 11. He attends Columbia College in Chicago and hopes to pursue a career in sports broadcasting. When school is not in session he lives in Bolingbrook with his family. He said his father is the dean of students at Bolingbrook High School.
    • This middle-aged man is a graduate of Lockport High School. He has worked at his job for 30 years and was an employee of Texaco for eight and a half years before that. His wife is a retired school nurse and cares for their grandchildren.
    • This middle-aged woman was born in Poland and moved to Chicago when she was 5. She complained that serving on a jury would be a hardship for her because she watches her 6-year-old granddaughter for her daughter, who is a single mother and “sole supporter.”
    • This juror is a life-long resident of Joliet. A middle-aged man, he said he is related to at least four lawyers, including a criminal lawyer in Joliet. He was married once but divorced 25 years ago.
    • This middle-aged man said he has seen nothing of the Peterson case since Judge Stephen White warned the pool of potential jurors to insulate themselves from the story three years ago. He said he uses the Internet to buy parts for his motorcycle and sometimes watches Fox Chicago.
    • This older woman has two sons and her husband is retired. She works for a telecommunications company and enjoys watching Dancing With the Stars, What not to Wear, Survivor and NCIS on television.
    • This native Hawaiian also lived in Virginia before returning to the state of his birth. He attended but did not graduate from law school and also dropped out of graduate school. He was a member of the Hawaiian Army National Guard but was discharged early after again moving from Hawaii. He said he still received an honorable discharge. He has lived his last 28 years in Bolingbrook and works as a mail carrier.

    Twelve other potential jurors were dismissed for cause. Nine were dropped on preremptory challenges.

    Another 58 potential jurors will report Tuesday morning as selection continues, an official said.

    http://joliet.patch.com/articles/drew-peterson-murder-trial-8-in-the-box

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