Four years since Drew Peterson’s arrest for murder. What has changed?

another new mugLast Tuesday marked four years since Drew Peterson was arrested and charged with the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. So, what has transpired since then?

Trial Status

Today: Jury selection for Drew Peterson’s trial began on July 23, 2012. Opening statements began on July 31st and the first witness was also called that day. Testimony continued through August 30. Closing arguments were heard on September 4 and jury deliberations began. On September 6, after two days and 14 hours of deliberations, the jury found Drew Peterson guilty in the first degree of murdering Kathleen Savio. On February 21st Drew Peterson was sentenced to 38 years in prison, minus the four years he spent in jail awaiting trial. Peterson was moved from the Will County Adult Detention Center, where he had been living since his arrest, to Stateville Prison and then was transferred shortly thereafter to Pontiac Prison and then Menard Correctional Facility. The City of Bolingbrook is reviewing the status of Peterson’s $79,000/year pension to see if it can be revoked.

Legal Representation

Today: Immediately after Peterson’s murder conviction, his defense team began to publicly point fingers and blame each other for losing the case. Paving the way for an appeal based on ineffective assistance of counsel, Joel Brodsky first got in Drew’s ear and was able to get Steven Greenberg fired from the defense team. But by October, Greenberg had spoken to Drew and was back on the team. Soon after, a team of three attorneys who had not represented Peterson in the murder trial filed a motion of ineffective assistance against Joel Brodsky. After much public and private name calling, letter writing, and motion filingJoel Brodsky withdrew from Peterson’s defense. He then filed a defamation suit against Steve Greenberg, two media outlets and specific reporters. Attorney David Peilet of Clarendon Hills and John Heiderscheidt joined the defense team. At a post-sentencing hearing, Judge Edward Burmila said that he was “shocked” at comments Brodsky had made on TV regarding his representation of Drew Peterson and had a transcript of the hearing sent to the ARDC. In March of 2013, the rest of Peterson’s defense team announced that they were stepping aside and turning over the appellate phase of Peterson’s defense to the state public defender’s office.

One year ago: In September, Attorney Walter Maksym was asked to “step aside” from the legal team after he was criticized by the federal appeals court for filing “unintelligible” court papers that were “riddled with errors”. As the case neared trial, it was announced that Atty Joe Lopez would be presenting closing arguments.

Two years ago: After months of rumors of arguing and even a physical incident, Reem Odeh left the partnership and withdrew from the Peterson defense team in September 2010. In February of 2011, Lisa Lopez, wife of Joe Lopez, assisted with the oral arguments regarding the hearsay decision before the Appellate court, which were presented by Steven Greenberg.

Three years ago: Andrew Abood and George Lenard withdrew from the case in April of 2010, citing irreconcilable differences with Joel Brodsky. John Paul Carroll had a complaint filed against him in September and appears to have left the case. Attorneys from Brodsky & Odeh, Steven A. Greenberg and Associates, Law Offices of Meczyk Goldberg, Joseph R. Lopez, P.C., and Walter P. Maksym Jr. then made up the “Seven Samurai” representing Peterson in court.

Four years ago: Brodsky & Odeh, Abood Law, and John Paul Carroll represented Drew Peterson. George D. Lenard joined the case in December of 2009.

Media Exposure

Today: Drew Peterson was able to address the court and the public with a statement at his sentencing hearing. Rather than expressing remorse, he shouted out “I did not kill Kathleen” and then issued a long self-pitying rant.

One year ago: The Sun-Times continued to shill for Peterson. On April 17 they featured a sympathetic story and cover photo of Drew Peterson after the state won their appeal to get more evidence admitted to his trial for murder.

Two years ago: Despite the gag order prohibiting interviews, Peterson spent 2011 writing letters and statements that were provided to the media, in particular to gossip columnist for the Chicago Sun Times, Michael Sneed.

Three years ago: Drew was prohibited from giving interviews to the press.

Four years ago: Drew’s last interview was given over the phone to a WLS radio show host, Eric Mancow Muller, from jail on May 27, 2009. He also gave one other in-jail phone interview on May 15, to Matt Lauer of the Today show.

Judges

Today: Judge Burmila presided over Peterson’s trial and sentencing.

One year ago: On May 4, 2012, Judge Edward Burmilla was assigned to the case.

Two years ago: Judge Stephen White retired in October 2010.

Three years ago: Judge Stephen White presided over the case.

Four years ago: Judge Richard Schoenstedt was first assigned to the case; then Judge Carla Alessio-Policandriotes and finally Judge Stephen White. Will County Chief Judge Gerald Kinney made the new appointments. Judge Daniel J. Rozak set Peterson’s bond.

Hearsay Evidence

Today: The defense continued to file motions to bar as  much of the hearsay evidence as possible leading up to Peterson’s trial. They were also able to challenge each piece of hearsay evidence as it was introduced at trial and were able to keep out more in that way. At trial Kathleen Savio’s sisters and some friends were allowed to testify to statements she had made to them about fearing Drew Peterson would kill her. Pastor Neil Schori was only allowed to testify to what Stacy had told him alone. The discussions he had with Drew and Stacy in their home were deemed inadmissible. Scott Rossetto’s testimony was also deemed unreliable after the prosecution made some errors with the dates and he didn’t get to take the stand. Although the defense had fought to keep out the testimony of Attorney Harry Smith, whom Stacy Peterson had called with questions about a possible divorce, eventually it was Joel Brodsky who called him to the stand in an attempt to impeach Stacy’s words to Neil Schori. Smith testified that Stacy had asked if she could get more money out of Drew if she threatened to tell “how” he had killed Kathleen Savio. Many believe this to be the evidence that cinched the conviction. A final breakdown of witnesses shows that more than 85% of the evidence presented at Drew Peterson’s trial was physical, forensic and circumstantial. Less than 15% was hearsay. Although media reports were quick to cite “Drew’s Law” as being a factor in the introduction of hearsay to Peterson’s trial, those reports were erroneous as the state had earlier asked the appellate court to reconsider Judge White’s hearsay rulings under the common law rules of forfeiture and they agreed.

One year ago: After the appellate court did not reconsider the barred hearsay statements due to a missed deadline, the State appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court which decided that the appellate court should consider the evidence on its merits. In April the appellate court reversed Judge White’s decision and decided that the hearsay statements were reliable and admissible in court. Peterson’s defense announced that they would not appeal and wanted instead to go to trial.

Two years ago: The judge’s decision regarding the hearsay statements was leaked in July 2010, revealing that possibly fewer than five of the 15 statements being considered were to be allowed. This decision was appealed by the prosecution. During February oral arguments before the appellate justices, States Attorney Jim Glasgow was asked what he now wanted to “hang” his argument on. Glasgow said that he chose “804 (b)” or, in other words the common law doctrine that is part of the Illinois Rules of Evidence (rather than the so-called “Hearsay Law”).

Three years ago: In October 2009, Peterson’s defense lost a motion to declare the act unconstitutional. Hearsay evidence and witnesses were heard during hearings in January 2010.

Four years ago: The Hearsay Statue (Drew;s Law) was passed into legislation November, 2008

Peterson Family

Today: In November 2007, a Federal judge threw out Stephen Peterson’s lawsuit against the Village of Oakbrook and Thomas Sheahan. Peterson then went back to Illinois Circuit court to try to get back his job, but lost that complaint in March of 2013.
Kathleen Savio’s two sons, Thomas and Kristopher are in college. Thomas Peterson testified on his father’s behalf towards the end of his trial.

One year ago: Stephen Peterson was appealing his dismissal and filed a Federal lawsuit in July 2011.

Two years ago: In August 2009, Stephen Peterson was suspended for accepting and hiding weapons for his father, shortly after the disappearance of Stacy Peterson. In February 2010, Peterson was fired from Oak Brook Police Force and appealed his dismissal.  Thomas Peterson wrote a letter and made a filing asking to be removed from the Savio family’s civil suit against Drew Peterson. This has not been granted yet. Tom Peterson was chosen as valedictorian of his graduating class.

Four years ago: Drew’s four youngest children were left in the care of their step-brother, Oak Brook Police Officer, Stephen Peterson.

Savio Family

Today: Sue Savio has continued to make appearances to speak out about her sister and against domestic violence. Anna Savio Doman and Henry Savio are still pursuing a wrongful death suit against Drew Peterson.

Cales Family

Today: Cassandra Cales continues to search for her sister.

Drew’s Love Life

Today: Drew Peterson continues to enjoy correspondence with numerous pen pals.

One year ago: Gossip columnist Michael Sneed reported that Peterson had over 20 pen pals (male and female), at least four of whom contributed to his funds at the commissary so that he could enjoy snacks while he awaited trial.

Two years ago: In August 2010 we heard that Christina Raines was engaged to a new man. In February 2011 we obtained a photo of Chrissy with her fiancé. In April 2011, an old acquaintance of Drew’s, Diana Grandel, released some letters from Drew in which he made sexual comments to her and offered Stacy’s clothing to her.

Three years ago: In January Raines posted a status update on her Facebook page stating, “I met someone who i fell in love with and very happy with. I think i just about gave up on drew with all his lies i dont even really visit him anymore.” and then, “But his kids i love dearly and still visit with them they are good kids”

Four years ago: Christina Raines was at the house that Drew and Stacy Peterson shared at the time or his arrest and was also taken into custody. She removed her belongings from his home shortly afterwards. Raines is on the list to visit Drew in jail.

Stunts

Today: All quiet on the part of Drew Peterson. His legal team seems to have picked up the torch as far as media shenanigans. Restaurateur Jeff Ruby attended Drew Peterson’s trial and was charged with contempt when he reportedly mouthed “Fuck you” at Peterson. Ruby went on to offer a $100,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of Stacy Peterson’s remains.

One year ago: Besides frequent mundane snippets in the gossip columns about Peterson’s life in prison, all has been quiet.

Two years ago: While Drew’s bids for attention were mostly curtailed due to his detention, his lawyer and PR people continued to pepper the news with updates and letters from him detailing everything from his life in jail to his opinions about the legal decisions regarding his children. Kathleen’s oldest son, Tom, was the subject of news stories and wrote his own letters to the press in support of his father.

Three years ago: Soon after Drew’s arrest he attempted to have his motorcycle auctioned off on eBay. He was asking for $50,000 and offered to apply a decal with his signature on the bike. eBay removed the auction for violation of its “murderabilia” rules.

Four years ago: At the time Drew was arrested, he was preparing to fly out to the Bunny Ranch Brothel in Reno, Nevada, to see if he would be a good fit as head of security there.

Stacy Peterson

Today: Areas of Hammel Woods in Shorewood were searched for five days in November 2012, utilizing the FBI and cadaver dogs. Some officials stated that it was a training mission, while others told the press that they were indeed looking for the remains of Stacy Peterson. Nothing was found.

One year ago: Airings of the movie, “Drew Peterson: Untouchable” brought about some new tips and offers of assistance in regards to the search for Stacy Peterson.

Two years ago: In August 2010, based on a tip, searches for Stacy’s remains took place near Peoria. No evidence was found.

Three years ago: Still missing with no sightings or communication from her.

Four years ago: Missing. No communication from her since October 28, 2007. Searches were ongoing.

Drew Peterson transferred to maximum security facility downstate

Drew Peterson has been transferred to Menard Correctional Center in Chester, Illinois.
drew-menard

The facility in downstate Illinois has the worst inmate-to-staff ratio of all Illinois’ maximum-security facilities, as well as that of several medium and high-minimum security facilities.

Menard Correctional Center

Menard Correctional Center

Over the last year and a half, Menard was on full or partial lockdown roughly half of the time.

Menard is currently on lockdown status and no visitors are allowed. According to a tweet by Stacy St. Clair the current lockdown is due to an attack on a staff member.

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“I did not kill Kathleen!” Read Drew Peterson’s full courtroom speech

Drew was transferred to the Pontiac Correctional center after a short visit to Stateville.
drews-mug-pontiac

The court has released the transcript of the statement he made shortly before his 38-year sentence was handed down.

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Post Drew Peterson Sentencing: Joel Brodsky turns on Peterson

Not 24 hours after Drew Peterson was sentenced to 38 years in prison for the killing of Kathleen Savio, Joel Brodsky was taking to the air waves to try to put some distance between himself and his one time partner-in-publicity.

On a local news show Brodsky claimed that he had never seen Peterson act or sound the way he did in court yesterday when he blurted out, “I did not kill Kathleen”, and then launched into a long self-pitying rant in his own defense.

“Maybe he’s right” Brodsky said about his one-time foe, States Attorney Jim Glasgow, who said that the outburst showed us “the real Drew Peterson”.

Brodsky also took to Facebook in an attempt to exonerate himself from claims that he had made a horrific blunder during Peterson’s trial by calling attorney Harry Smith to the witness stand. Even Judge Stephen Burmila had warned the defense that calling this witness could be risky to Peterson’s defense as he was liable to give testimony that put Drew Peterson at the scene of Kathleen’s death.

The decision to call Harry Smith was called out in Peterson’s motion for a new trial which was denied yesterday, shortly before his sentencing. Although Brodsky was took the stand to testify about his financial arrangements with Peterson, he was never questioned about the Harry Smith matter.

Brodsky wrote:

Joel A. Brodsky, Attorney at Law
2 hours ago

Here is the true story on why Harry Smith was called to testify:

Drew Peterson was convinced that we needed to impeach Stacy’s hearsay. He said that we either had to do it in by using Stacy’s alibi statement or by calling Harry Smith to testify that Stacy was trying to extort him. Drew said that if we didn’t do one or the other than he would insist on taking the stand himself. It was Drew’s right to take the stand if he wanted to, it was his decision, and we couldn’t stop him if he wanted to. We all knew that if Drew took the stand it would have been a disaster, 100% guaranteeing a conviction. Therefore if we were to have any chance of winning we had to either get Stacy’s alibi in, or call Smith, risky as calling Smith may be.

First Attorney Steve Greenberg was supposed get the alibi into evidence through one of the state police officers he was designated to call, Sgt. Collins. However, he failed to do it, and that left no choice but to call Harry Smith. I knew that Smith would be a difficult and risky witness , so instead of putting him off on some other lawyer on the team I felt that as lead lawyer I would be the one who called Smith because it was dangerous, and since I was lead it fell on me to take the risk (being a leader isn’t just a title, it means you take responsibility). Therefore, I was the attorney who called Harry Smith.

All of the attorneys on the team agreed that Harry Smith had to be called. I have both documentary and independent eye witness evidence that Steve Greenberg specifically agreed that Harry Smith should be called to testify.

I didn’t disclose this earlier because Drew’s post-trial motions were pending, and as much as I knew the argument being made was wrong, Drew was still my former client, and I didn’t want to take any action that would prejudice his chances for a new trial. Now that the motion for new trial is denied, I can let the truth about this subject be known.

What should make you mad is that Attorney Steve Greenberg knew all this and was still attempted to put the entire loss on me even though he agreed with the decision to call Harry Smith, made calling Harry Smith a certainty by failing to get the Stacy alibi into evidence, and understood that if we didn’t call him that Drew would take the stand. Greenberg’s intentional and knowing lies about me to the public and the court are reprehensible and he will be held to account for them.

Joel Brodsky has also been stating on camera that Peterson’s current defense team is abandoning his case to the State Appellate Defenders – something that Steve Greenberg denies although attorney Joe Lopez stated this morning on that same news show that he will not be a part of the appellate team (go to 03:35):

Joel Brodsky has filed a suit claiming defamation against Steve Greenberg, the Tribune company and AOL Patch.

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Drew Peterson cries out, “I did not kill Kathleen!” but is sentenced to 38 years in prison

UPDATE 03:37:

Judge Burmila begins to hand down the sentence. He won’t consider Stacy Peterson disappearance (Peterson could still be charged with this). “This crime happened by stealth.” “It had to have been planned in advance.” Judge notes that Peterson showed no remorse and did not take responsibility for Savio’s death. Burmila on sentencing: “It’s not an exact science. The court is not Solomon.” “This sentence must be served in its entirety.” Burmila sentenced Drew Peterson to 38 years in prison. Judge says Drew Peterson will get credit for 4 years served but will serve 100% of his sentence.

UPDATE 03:01:

Drew Peterson shouts: “I DID NOT KILL KATHLEEN!” Peterson outburst shocks the courtroom. Peterson says “I’ve been forced to sit silent.” Judge throws out a Savio relative after she says yells back “Yes, you did!” Peterson says prosecutors and police officers falsified, lost evidence in one of the most expensive investigations in county history. Peterson complaining of false police reports, “rumors, gossip, outrageous lies and most importantly, unreliable hearsay.” Peterson said Schori promised him and Stacy “anything we talked about would remain personal and private and would never be repeated.” Peterson says the courts violated the clergy privilege by revealing info from counseling session. Judge ruled otherwise. Peterson : “Hearsay’s a scary thing.” “Nobody’s accountable for the truth.” Peterson’s voice is quivering as he speaks. He sounds angry. Peterson says evidence used to convict him were “all statements made by women who were trying to better position themselves.” In divorce, “everybody lies. And everybody lies basically under the instructions of their own attorneys.” Peterson choking back tears as he recalls his kids telling him that they lied to protect their mom in a court hearing a decade ago. Peterson calls both Kathleen and Stacy liars. Says that Stacy had a crush on Rev. Neil Schori. Peterson now criticizing prosecutors for using a “skinny-butt” spokesperson — a family friend of Stacy Peterson’s – as a mouthpiece. Peterson says all this went on “under the eyes and nose” of the court. Peterson is now going through autopsy results, reminding the judge that a coroner’s jury determined Savio’s was an accident. Peterson just asked for a glass of water. Peterson says he “may be redundant with a lot of things, but I need to say them.” Peterson says authorities took “an accident and staged a homicide.” Peterson on his time as a cop: “My conduct was exemplary.” Says he was probably one of the highest decorated officers. Peterson still talking in court, There’s no time limit for him so he’s going through all the trial arguments. Peterson says “I was viewed as a great guy and in moments the media turned me into a monster.” Peterson says that as soon as he’s able he’s getting a shoulder-to-shoulder tattoo that reads “no good deed goes unpunished.” Peterson says he loved Kathy Savio, she didn’t deserve to die. She was a good mom, kept a nice home. And then he starts trashing her. Peterson says Kathy Savio was emotionally unstable from a childhood filled with physical and sexual abuse. Peterson says Kathy cried on their wedding night because her dad didn’t show up to walk her down the aisle. Peterson say he paid for Kathy Savio’s funeral, prompting a family member to shout: “That’s a lie, right there!” Peterson on Dr. Baden: “He cut off the head of the mother of my children …” voice rising, rest inaudible. Peterson talks, three family members are listening in the overflow room after being tossed from courtroom. Peterson : “Mr. Glasgow, all aspects of my life have been destroyed and I tell you this to give you greater cause for celebration when you celebrate the fact that you perpetrated the largest railroad job that ever took place in this country.” “Anything you sentence me to, you’re sentencing me to the Department of Corrections to die.” Peterson says he “can’t believe he spent 32 years defending the constitution that allowed this to happen to me. “America should be outraged but nobody cares.” “I take full responsibility for my relationship with the media.” “I agreed to go on national TV to tell my side of the story.” “It’s pretty clear the state took part in that movie.” He calls Nancy Grace a “busy body”. “I am an obnoxious man by nature…and my defense mechanism is comedy.” Peterson in closing: “I don’t deserve this.” Peterson tells Glasgow to look him in they eye.

UPDATE 02:07:

Joe Lopez now arguing for Drew Peterson. No matter what sentence Drew Peterson gets, it won’t deter spouses from fighting and killing each other. “These things have been going on since the birth of man.” He points to Chicago’s murder rate as proof. “Even the minimum sentence puts him at the end of the spectrum of his life.” Drew Peterson sentence won’t deter others from domestic violence: “There’s commandments about it as old as Moses.” Drew has no prior criminal history as a child. Drew has led a law-abiding life until the moment he was convicted. Peterson has done some good things in life. He worked for Burger King as a teen, worked at a shoe store. Joined the Army. Lopez points out letters of recommendation, including one from 1994 by Glasgow’s office commending Drew Peterson and others for police work. Lopez tells judge that Drew put his life on the line as a cop. “That has to count for something,” he says. Regarding fight between Drew Peterson and Savio witnessed by Drew’s son Eric, “It takes two to tango.” “Drew loved his children more than he hated any of the women he was with.” Peterson has maintained “since Day One” that Savio’s death was an accident. Still no physical evidence. there is nothing in the record that would indicate “this” would happen again. An excessive sentence would be a hardship to Drew Peterson ‘s children. The court must punish Drew, but asks the judge not punish his children even more than they have been. Drew has twice been treated for skin cancer since his May 2009 arrest. Our lives have changed because of the media coverage. … People in the other room are tweeting about what I’m saying.” In Drew’s “private life things weren’t that good.” But in his public life “he did do good things.” Peterson might not have been the best husband in the world. Lopez asks for sentence closer to 20 years.

UPDATE 01:52:

Glasgow about to make his recommendation for Drew Peterson sentencing. He asks judge to take into consideration the fact that another judge found Drew likely killed Stacy Peterson too. Glasgow tells judge “the unconditional love that the children need from their parents has been ripped from them.” Glasgow says Drew’s actions denied four children of their mothers — and now their father, too. Reminds judge that Drew’s second wife testified at an earlier hearing about suffering abuse during their marriage. Glasgow also mentions testimony from Drew Peterson’s son, Eric, about how Peterson attacked Savio. He asks the judge to recall Drew Peterson soliciting a potential hit man to kill Savio. Drew Peterson received financial gain after Savio’s death. “The compensation was enormous.” Peterson is pathological and could kill again if he was set free. Drew Peterson orchestrated the finding of Savio’s body, and was interviewed “on friendly terms” by police. Police officer is the most noble profession in society. “But Drew Peterson violated it at the highest level.” This sentence needs to send a very strong message, that this will not be tolerated. Defense will argue for leniency because of his police service. Prosecutors say it should be harsher because society trusted Drew. Glasgow asks for sentence in “higher range” of 20-60 years.

UPDATE 01:44:

Drew Peterson’s ex-brother-in-law Henry Savio Jr. is now reading his statement. “Drew Peterson murdered my sister, Kathleen. He took away a mother, a sister and a friend. My sister always wanted children. She always wanted to be a mother. The relationship with her kids, Tom and Kris, was destroyed because Drew Peterson did not allow us to be in their lives. Drew Peterson broke into her house. He terrorized her. He brutalized her. And then he drowned her. It makes me sick to know that he was the last person she ever saw”
Henry Savio says he will mend his relationship with Kathleen’s boys while Drew Peterson is “rotting away in jail.”
“I pray that during the last minutes of his life, he is able to clearly see her and she is watching his dissension into hell. He took Kathleen’s future and now she has taken his. She was afraid of Drew Peterson, but I know in her last hours she stood up to him.”

UPDATE 01:38:

Kathleen Savio’s sister, Susan Doman, now reading her victim impact statement. “I can hardly stand the pain at times. The thought of the last night of her life will always be with me. My sister Kathleen was my rock through my life. I always looked up to her even though she was younger than me. She told me we were family, and no one could take that away.” Doman is in tears on the stand.
“She had a big heart for her family. She did not deserve to be brutally murdered. During the divorce she lived in fear, and I knew the defendant would kill her one day. She only wanted to live in peace and go on with her life. The defendant took that away…He shows no remorse. Drew took everything away from Kathleen when he decided to take her life. This was a big joke to him, and he loved all the attention.”
Susan Doman asks Judge Burmila to give her sister justice “once and for all.”

UPDATE 01:33:

Kathleen Savio’s sister, Anna Marie Doman, now on the stand to deliver her victim impact statement. “Kathleen Savio was my baby sister. She will never see…her own boys have families of their own. Our family is forever broken. I still can’t believe I will never hug her or hear her voice again. I still talk to her. I sure hope she can hear me.”

UPDATE 01:08:

Restaurateur Jeff Ruby has arrived in his steakhouse bus. He is in the hallway of the courthouse but sheriffs are not sure he can be allowed inside after the contempt of court charge he received for mouthing words at Drew Peterson during the trial. “I didn’t drive all the way out here to not be allowed in,” he says.
Court is in session.
Judge Burmilla says he has read all submitted documents. He says that conversation between Rev. Schori and Stacy was not covered by clergy privilege. Says that Drew Peterson sought publicity on his own. Not unreasonable for Peterson and Brodsky to seek media attention pre-indictment. Drew Peterson clearly shares part of the blame for Brodsky entering into media contract.
Burmila says it was clear to him from the very beginning that Brodsky was not capable of defending Drew Peterson on his own. But that does not mean Drew Peterson did not get the vigorous defense he was entitled to from his entire legal team.
The judge rules no new trial for Drew Peterson.

UPDATE 09:55:

Press Release from the State’s Attorney’s office:

Update: Drew Peterson Sentencing Thursday, February 21

Judge Edward Burmila will rule on the defense post-trial motion for a new trial in People V. Peterson at 1 p.m. on Thursday, February 21. If he denies the motion, the case will proceed to sentencing. After Judge Burmila announces a sentence:

• The press is asked to go to Joliet City Hall for a post-sentencing news conference. We will begin the conference roughly 30-45 minutes after a sentence is announced.
• State’s Attorney Glasgow and his trial team will be available to make a statement, discuss the case and answer media questions.
• Kathleen Savio’s and Stacy Peterson’s family members will be available for comments as well as possibly other witnesses from the trial.

Joliet City Hall is located at 150 W. Jefferson Street
One block west of the Will County Courthouse

State’s Attorney Glasgow once again would like to thank Mayor Tom Giarrante and City Manager Tom Thanas for allowing us to bring this news conference indoors to the newly remodeled City Council Chambers.
…………………………………………….

This post will be updated throughout the day. Check the comments thread below for the most recent news and tweets.

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No decision on Drew Peterson motion for new trial

UPDATE 05:19:

Judge asks prosecutor, “Are you saying Stacy was an accomplice in Savio’s death?” Prosecutor suggests she misunderstood, then “No, I’m not saying that.”
Groans erupt in the overflow courtroom when the judge asks the defense if they want to make another comment.
Judge taking the arguments under advisement. Court adjourns until 1 p.m. Thursday.

UPDATE 03:18:

Sentencing likely not going to happen until Thursday.
Court is back in session, Attorney Peilet is rehashing Rev. Schori’s testimony. Neil Schori is in the courtroom.
Defense going through entire trial point by point, trying to show that state failed to prove case.
Arguments moving on to issue of state suggesting initial investigation of Savio’s death could have been more thorough.
Court in recess. Judge says they will finish today but sentencing tomorrow. (Indicates that he will not grant motion?)
Greenberg says Stacy’s conversation with Harry Smith was privileged, and nobody should have been able to call him as a witness. Brodsky’s decision to call Harry Smith allowed in the “most incriminating”. “that strategy alone should mean Peterson gets a new trial” evidence presented at trial.
Judge Burmila aks, “Do you believe lawyers should have brought mistake to court’s attention once Smith was called?”
Joel Brodsky is in press room listening to Greenberg and loudly sighing, putting his hand over his eyes.
Greenberg says lawyers were bullied by Brodsky during trial. “It was a dictatorship”.
Judge Burmila says if lawyers disagreed with Brodsky calling Harry Smith, they could have told him or asked to quit case.
The state says it’s not surprising that, with six lawyers on a case, there was some dissension. Drew Peterson ultimately chose the strategy. Also that Reem Odeh once argued the media frenzy wasn’t Drew Peterson’s fault, that he needed to “explain the rumors.” (white noise). Also that Drew Peterson knew about the publicity contract so he should have mentioned the conflict of interest to the court if there was one.
Prosecutor Marie Czech says calling Smith was strategic decision by defense, “they needed to do something” because their case was in trouble. Says Peterson had six attorneys, with more than 100 yrs of experience. If there was a disagreement, Peterson chose to go with Brodsky.

UPDATE 01:26:

Court back in session. Attorney Greenberg calls State’s Attorney James Glasgow. Lawyers now argue about whether he can testify. Glasgow objects to being called as well. The judge wants to know why the “Gift from God” statement made by Glasgow outside of the court room is important to this issue. Defense says Glasgow statement undercuts his argument that calling Harry Smith was just trial strategy. Judge still listening. Judge rules that Glasgow doesn’t have to testify. “I don’t see the relevance,” Judge Edward Burmila says. And that’s the end of the defense witnesses and prosecution has no witnesses.
Prosecution now asking judge to strike parts of the defense motion for a new trial before judge hears closing arguments.
Retrial hearing winding up now as defense runs down the unfolding of the trial; alleges lack of evidence, inadequate counsel, etc. Defense says that the Savio case only gained attention when Stacy Peterson missing person case became “national fodder”.
John Heiderscheidt now arguing that state did not prove its case against Drew Peterson – there was not sufficient evidence to convict.
Prosecution now speaks. They say that Drew Peterson made multiple statements about how he could kill Savio and make it look like an accident. The jury heard evidence that Savio’s death was a homicide, that Drew Peterson threatened to kill her and that Stacy provided an alibi.
Defense attorney Greenberg now arguing 2010 hearsay hearing violated Drew Peterson’s fifth amendment rights.
The State counters, saying that Drew Peterson’s rights were “scrupulously represented” at the hearsay hearing.
Lawyers continue to argue over evidence presented in trial. Defense tactic includes saying attorneys at hearsay hearing didn’t know the law.

UPDATE 10:54:

Greenberg calls retired Judge Daniel Locallo to the stand to explain how the Peterson murder case was lost by the defense. He describes his years of experience. Attorneys are arguing over whether Locallo can testify as an expert. Judge Burmila decides that he can testify. Locallo testifies that someone should have told Burmila about Brodsky/Peterson’s publicity contract and that calling Harry Smith to the stand was not a “reasonable” trial strategy. Locallo says that before Brodsky called Harry Smith, the jury had not heard evidence that Drew Peterson killed Kathleen Savio, dooming Peterson. Recess before cross-examination.
Cross-examination of Locallo begins. Prosecutor: Attorney Lopez had said during the closing statements that they did not “hide” Harry Smith from the jury. Locallo says he’s never seen other members of a legal team object on the record to a fellow team member’s strategy. Prosecutor points out that Greenberg objected on the record to Brodsky’s strategy, saying there was “about to be a mutiny”
Court in recess until 1:15 p.m.

UPDATE 10:43:

Court is session. Attorney Greenberg wants to address his motion to strike the state’s exhibits. Prosecution made allegations about things he and Lopez said in news articles, and it shouldn’t be part of the record. The State argues that Greenberg referred to news articles and broadcasts in his court filings.
Burmila denies the motion to strike.

UPDATE 09:45:

Press Release from the State’s Attorney’s office:

Drew Peterson Sentencing Wednesday, February 20

The hearing on post-trial motions in People V. Peterson is expected to conclude Wednesday, February 20. The case could proceed to sentencing later today. If that is the case:

After Judge Burmila announces a sentence, the press is asked to go to Joliet City Hall for a post-sentencing news conference. We will begin the conference roughly 30-45 minutes after a sentence is announced.
State’s Attorney Glasgow and his trial team will be available to make a statement, discuss the case and answer media questions.

Kathleen Savio’s and Stacy Peterson’s family members will be available for comments as well as possibly other witnesses from the trial.
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Drew Peterson in court today. Joel Brodsky takes the stand to defend his representation

UPDATE 03:14:

Hearing in recess until 10 a.m. Wednesday

UPDATE 02:24:

Joel Brodsky is called to the stand. He initially refuses to enter the courtroom and states that he won’t voluntarily testify. Judge Burmila orders him to the stand and says as a subpoenaed witness he has no choice.
Under Greenbergs’s questioning about his financial arrangement with Glenn Selig’s PR Agency, Brodsky appears very nervous. He is slumped, rolling his eyes. Short delay while the prosecution reads the financial records. Brodsky back on the stand, confirms he and Drew Peterson opened a web site that earned 11 cents toward Peterson’s defense fund. Brodsky testifies to a total payment of $10,000 from ABC television for photos and video. Screaming Flea Productions (Bio channel) also paid $15,000 for licensing rights to video, film and still photos. Brodsky says that publisher, Derek Armstrong, paid $5901.18 to write a book with Drew Peterson in March 2008.

Reem Odeh posing with Derek Armstrong's book about the Peterson case

Reem Odeh posing with Derek Armstrong’s book about the Peterson case

UPDATE 02:24:

Peterson lawyers want to call retired Cook County Judge Daniel Locallo to the stand, but he is not at the courthouse. State objects to plan to call Locallo, saying Burmila wouldn’t need another judge’s opinion to make a ruling.

UPDATE 01:40:

Under cross-examination, Scott-Rudnick says he isn’t sure if Brodsky’s publicity agreement crossed the line.
Trial observer, Jennifer Spohn, is called to the stand. Spohn is questioned about a courtroom hallway conversation between Brodsky and Greenberg. She says she heard Greenberg tell Brodsky not to put Savio divorce attorney, Harry Smith, on the stand. She says that Brodsky said, “I’m doing it.” Now reports that Joel Brodsky is in the press overflow room asking what Spohn just testified to.

UPDATE 01:00:

Meanwhile someone who appears to be Joel Brodsky’s wife, Elizabeth, goes to Brodsky’s defense in the comments thread at the WGN trial page to say that Reem Odeh is:

…lying through her teeth. She attacked joel, there was a witness who was present at this time. Joel couldn’t do enough to facilitate her departure. He even moved her stuff out because she was causing such a scene in front of clients that joel couldn’t take her being in that office alone one more day. He was afraid she would steel files and cause damage to records which she threatened to do. This was only when she found out that joel signed a 10 year lease at the existing location after she spend a month prior shopping for offices to move to and was in now way interested in paying the rent which was unaffordable to her based on her type of clients (low income immigration). she didn’t handle anything else other than filling forms and appearing on immigration cases. even the more difficult ones she would refer out cause she couldn’t handle them. she has no knowledge of law. Had to be schooled on how to write a motion or any other similar type of documents on behalf of her clients going thru divorce which she started to accept only if it was a straight divorce no kids and uncontested. couldn’t even do those right.

UPDATE 12:14:

Lunch break until 1:15.

UPDATE 12:02:

Objection by the State is overruled and defense continues to detail alleged ethics violations by Joel Brodsky.

UPDATE 11:45:

Judge Burmila announces a break in proceedings so that Judge Michael Powers can hear Joel Brodsky’s motion to withdraw from the representing Drew Peterson in the Savio family’s civil case against him. Judge Powers granted Brodsky’s motion to withdraw from the civil suit. Attorney John Heiderscheidt will replace Brodsky.

UPDATE 11:37:

Drew Peterson is in court this morning in a prison jumpsuit instead of the suit he sported at the murder trial. He has shaved his beard.

Joel Brodsky’s former law partner, Reem Odeh, told the court that Joel Brodsky threatened her as she entered the court-house this morning and then testified about conversations with Joel Brodsky about opportunities to make money from the publicity of the case as well as to an incident during which Joel Brodsky attacked her when she tried to leave their offices with a copy of the PR contract.
spotcrime

Law professor Clifford Scott-Rudnick from the John MarshallL Law School was also called to testify. Scott-Rudnick says that Brodsky’s publicity contract appears to be “over the line” of attorney ethics.

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Countdown to sentencing: Hearings for Drew Peterson’s murder and wrongful death cases – then sentencing

S.A. James Glasgow does not want to appear as witness at Drew Peterson hearing

S.A. James Glasgow does not want to appear as witness at Drew Peterson hearing

Next week Drew Peterson is scheduled to be sentenced for the murder of Kathleen Savio.

Although his attorneys have filed a motion asking for an acquittal and a new trial, it’s predicted that the motion will be denied on February 19th and then the sentencing hearing can be held and finally Drew Peterson will be sentenced on February 20.

As the days tick off, last-minute filings continue to trickle in.

State’s Attorney, James Glasgow, filed papers requesting that he not be called as a witness at the hearing for a new trial, claiming that “a prosecutor, judge or news reporter is a ‘special witness’” in his filing, and saying that he should be told what information is needed from him and that Peterson’s defense should attempt to get the information some other way.

Earlier in the month Joel Brodsky had filed a motion to fight a subpoena asking for his financial records but eventually he produced them to Peterson’s defense, which claims that his representation of Peterson was ineffectual and that his desire for publicity created a conflict of interest. Brodsky then filed a law suit for defamation against his former co-counsel, Steve Greenberg, as well as the Tribune company and AOL Patch.

Meanwhile, a status hearing for the wrongful death civil suit being brought against Drew Peterson by Savio’s family was continued to coincide with the date of the next pre-sentence murder hearing. Joel Brodsky has filed papers to withdraw from representing Peterson in that matter as well, but the Judge Michael Powers decided that both Peterson and Brodsky should be present for the hearing and that it would be more convenient to hold proceedings at the Will County court-house.

I also wanted to share this completely charming drawing and account of Wednesday’s civil suit proceedings posted to Twitter by The EQ Alert Guy. Let’s hope that the introduction of cameras to the courtrooms of Illinois never does away with first-hand observer reports like this one:

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Why Drew Peterson can be charged for the murder of his missing wife, Stacy

Stacy Peterson: Missing for over five years.

Stacy Peterson: Missing for over five years.

A very good read by blogger Dorothy, at Chicago Now about the concept of “Corpus Delicti” and how Drew Peterson could be charged for the murder of Stacy Peterson:

Some criminals think that if they can get rid of a body that they can’t be charged with murder. They misinterpret the Latin word
“corpus” as a literal dead body (a corpse) rather than a figurative one. That is an erroneous belief!!! I think the only reason I know what it means is ‘cause I took Latin in high school.

Yes, ‘corpus’ means body in Latin. But the word delecti (Latin: delicti) means the crime &/or evidence. In other words, there has to actually be a crime before you can accuse someone of committing the crime and a prosecutor has to provide a ‘body of evidence’ in order to make a charge against that person and take the person to criminal Court.

Corpus Delicti is one of the most important concepts in a murder investigation. When a person disappears and
cannot be contacted, many police agencies usually start a missing person case. If, during the course of the investigation, detectives believe that he/she has been murdered, then a “body” of evidentiary items, including, but not limited to, physical and empirical evidence, must be obtained to establish that the missing individual has indeed been murdered before a suspect can be charged with homicide. The best and easiest evidence establishment in these cases is the physical body of the deceased. However, in the event that a physical body is not obviously present or has not yet been discovered, it is possible to prove a crime took place if sufficient circumstantial evidence is presented to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt…

Read the full story at Chicago Now.

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Drew Peterson in court today: New claims of ineffective assistance

Drew Peterson was back in court this morning for motions to overturn his conviction and get a new trial.

Attorneys Steve Greenberg and David Peilet will file a motion claiming ineffective assistance of counsel by Peterson’s long-time lead attorney, Joel Brodsky, who withdrew from his defense last month.

After his withdrawal Joel Brodsky gave numerous interviews in which he defended his defense of Peterson and stated that he was stepping down to put an end to the friction between himself and his co-counsel:

There’s no errors. I did not do anything ineffective. But what we have here is a situation where unfounded allegations that have been made are interfering with the movement of this case.

Now Brodsky says:

The guy is looking at first-degree murder and my feeling is that if Drew Peterson has 101 arguments to make I don’t want him to be able to make 100 arguments. I don’t want anybody to ever say that I impeded him in any way.”

Judge Edward Burmila is giving the defense until December 14 to file their pre-sentencing motions and the state will have until January 9 to file its responses to those motions.

This pushes Drew Peterson’s sentencing date further into 2013, but no date has been decided upon yet.

Last month Attorneys John Carroll and Michelle Gonzalez also filed a motion requesting a new trial based on claims of ineffective assistance of counsel by Joel Brodsky. Drew Peterson told Judge Burmilla in open court that he did not authorize the motion so it was denied.

Prior motion filed October 9. 2012:

Joel Brodsky’s response. Filed October 11, 2012:

Attorney Steven Greenberg’s open letter to Joel Brodsky dated September 24, 2012:

Read more at ABC7
Read more at WGN
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