Last Thursday Drew Peterson’s defense filed a Defendant’s Motion for a Change of Venue (see above). In it his lawyer, Joel Brodsky, claims that the media has “prejudiced the jury pool” of Will County against the defendant.
It’s noteworthy that most of the exhibits Joel includes in the motion are articles that he printed out from the Internet, and also that these print-outs aren’t of any local publications, but instead of stories from Fox, CNN, ABC, etc. The most local source he includes is MyFox Chicago and (Lisa Bloom, please take note) Chicago is in Cook County, not Will County.
So how do national and even international online sources contribute to a direct tainting of the jury pool in Will County? Brodsky’s exhibits prove only that the case has been widely covered by the media and that those who are interested can find ample reading material about it of they want to…by Googling.
Speaking of Google, it was interesting to see that the motion included some Google stats showing that the term “Drew Peterson” returns 2.95 million results, almost double the results for the term “Rod Blagojevich“. Forget for a moment that most people don’t know how to spell “Blagojevich” and instead think again about how this is relevant to the motion to change the venue from Will County. Well….it isn’t. That is, it isn’t unless Joel can show that his stats represent only searches made by the denizens of Will County.
Among other case precendents, the motion cites Murphy vs Florida in which the Supreme court explained that “in deciding whether to grant a motion for a change in venue, it is important to examine whether such publicity is ‘largely factual publicity’ as opposed to material which is ‘invidious or inflammatory’.”
So, it is interesting the most of the stories Joel provides as exhibits to argue his motion are actually mere statement of facts. Katheen Savio’s body is exhumed. A pathologist declares Kathleen’s death a homicide, Peterson is a suspect in Stacy’s disappearance. Peterson is arrested, etc. Since these news stories simply report on Drew’s arrest, or quote from a letter Kathleen has written or even if Glasgow outlines what the state is going to attempt to prove, they are examples of “factual publicity” and don’t do much to bolster his argument.
It will be interesting to see if Judge Stephen White takes into account the immense amount of media time that has been granted by Drew Peterson and Joel Brodsky themselves; and by that I mean not only the interviews to “give Drew’s side of the story” but the horrendous and tacky media stunts they’ve indulged in since Stacy Peterson disappeared.
A hearing on the motion is scheduled for August 14.
REMINDER: If you have any legal/courtroom questions about the case for Karen Conti, please continue to post or email them and we’ll post her replies. Thanks!
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