Joe “The Shark” Lopez mock trial arguments: a preview of coming attractions?

Last May, at the Chicago-Kent College of Law, WGN Radio’s Legally Speaking presented a mock trial of the closing arguments in the prosecution of Drew Peterson for the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

Attorney Karen Conti presented closing arguments for the prosecution; while attorney Joseph Lopez argued for the defense of Peterson. The case was presided over by retired Judge Richard E. Neville.

At the time State’s Attorney James Glasgow took Chicago-Kent College of Law and WGN to task for staging the proceedings, calling it an “abhorrent” event, but since then Joe Lopez has been officially hired on to Peterson’s “Dream Team” in replacement of Andrew Abood. The State may now be interested in what Lopez had to say during what could very well be a preview of coming attractions.

As for Lopez, he’s coming on board having missed out on two year’s worth of pre-trial history, including a historic hearing of hearsay testimony. But he’s not worried about arriving late to the team. He says “It doesn’t matter. This case is not that complicated…This is an accident that happened to this lady. We just have to leave it at that.”

PART I


PART II

PART III

PART IV

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44 thoughts on “Joe “The Shark” Lopez mock trial arguments: a preview of coming attractions?

  1. UPDATE: Mike R

    4/19/2010 This e-mail is to inform you of a change involving a court case with number 2008CF000098. This case is currently closed. For the most accurate information about the status of the case, please contact the Will Circuit Clerk’s Office.

  2. questions4you :UPDATE: Mike R
    4/19/2010 This e-mail is to inform you of a change involving a court case with number 2008CF000098. This case is currently closed. For the most accurate information about the status of the case, please contact the Will Circuit Clerk’s Office.

    Not dimissed, not dropped, what does closed mean? Could it be closed until he testifies against D.P?

  3. I’ve been wondering about something that concerns Peterson’s explanation of the weekend confusion with dropping off the kids. I believe it’s been determined that Peterson called around as though he were looking to find out Kathleen’s whereabouts after she was already dead, but I wonder if there’s any indication he called her, or the children did, prior to her death. If a Peterson family member, i.e., Tom, Kris, Drew, Stacy, placed any calls to Kathleen and spoke to her that weekend after the kids were already with Drew, there should be no confusion about what her plans were for that weekend, or when those kids should have been returned. If Peterson was to know whether he had unemcumbered access to Kathleen during any specific time period in order to kill her, he would have needed to know the whereabouts of Steve M, most importantly, because he would be the likely one to be with her, in her house. He’d also have to know what her plans were for that weekend, one way or another. Would she be around the whole weekend, was she having a girls’ night in, girls’ night out, being in or out with Steve? Otherwise, there would be no reason for Peterson to call anyone in Kathleen’s close circle of family and/or friends before her death. After her death, yeah, to make it look as though he were concerned about her, but that is just a ridiculous ploy that can be seen through by any intelligent person.

    When he heard Mary scream while he had been waiting downstairs to avoid giving Kathleen the appearance he was running in with half of Bolingbrook to steal from her ( ;-) ), he should have had absolutely no idea what Mary was screaming about. The SA brought up an important point — he did not, even though he was an experienced, trained police officer, run up those stairs with his weapon drawn at the sound of a piercing scream.

    The defense says there’s no evidence tying Peterson to this crime. They don’t need to put on a defense, they merely need to sit back and let the State prove it’s case. So, absent any defense, other than relying on Kathleen’s death being ruled an accident the first time, I would say to that there are many, many inconsistencies in Drew’s explanations that they’d need to overcome. Especially if there are factors that bolster the inconsistencies that make him look like an out-and-out liar.

    If facts don’t bear out to coincide with Peterson’s explanations, I don’t think he looks like an innocent, unlucky-in-love, man whatsoever. At this point, contrary to Mr. Lopez’ explanation that Drew was a brave man who defended his Country, and his hometown, it doesn’t prove he did not kill Kathleen anymore than it does either. Heh. An experienced, trained police officer tramples an unexplained death scene, and a jury should consider him innocent because there’s no DNA tying him to the death, according to his lawyer? In fact, who is responsible for making no DNA available from that night? Where does that blame lie? Drew? The initial responders? The investigating officers? If someone believes he did so intentionally, should they vote to convict him, or just say, “oh, well, he got away with the perfect crime. Too bad.” What does the defense want the jury to do? Overlook the obvious mistakes, blunders, ineptitude, lies, cover-ups and/or inconsistencies, or believe the fantasy world, the Drew Peterson world? The attempt to carry out the “perfect crime?”

    Talk the talk, call him brave, an honorable Vet, a decorated police officer, a horny toad. Who cares? But, if his statements don’t bear out to what the circumstantial evidence says, someone better sit up and take notice!

  4. Heh. Every other stinkin’ time Peterson picked up his boys for visitation, he KNEW when they had to be back, and if he wasn’t on the dime, his ex-wife was calling the cops on him.

    This particular weekend he was “confused.” He didn’t want to storm into her house, either alone or with half of Bolingbrook that night, to see what happened to her to avoid the possibility of Kathleen accusing him of something, but he forgot to get it straight when he was supposed to drop his kids back off to their mom’s. Believe that?

    How about – can you believe he DID drop them off when he was supposed to? Can you believe he knew she was up in that room dead, while he was outside the door at his required drop off time? Half a dozen other times he was late and she called the cops on him. This time he was there when he was supposed to be, and all he gives a rat’s ass about is making sure he doesn’t let her accuse him of breaking in and stealing. Believe that?

  5. I sliced up the Lopez arguments into 4 parts and uploaded to youtube for easier watching.

    One thing I noted at the beginning of Part Four; Lopez goes on about Scott Rosetto and Stacy’s relationship and how close it was and isn’t it strange that Stacy never mentioned to him that Drew killed Kathleen? He’s going to have to drop that bit now that we know she did tell Rosetto that very thing.

    We also know now that Baden was not paid for the autopsy he did on Kathleen’s remains, even though Lopez says that he was paid $100,000 in his arguments.

    IMO the mock trial argument is interesting to look at just to learn about Lopez’s style and approach, but of course the hearsay hearings brought to light a lot of new information that will be heard at trial and inevitably the defense is going to need to adjust accordingly.

  6. We asked Andrew Abood for his opinion on why Robinson’s case might now be closed and this was his reply.

    I could guess as I am not licensed in Illinois but on many domestic first offense cases, the defendant takes a plea and is placed on probation for a period of time — in Michigan it is commonly referred to as 7694a status. If the defendant completes probation, the case is dismissed. the clerk would then close the file.

    If anyone needs a refresher on Robinson’s case:

    ROBINSON MICHAEL 4 12 10 404 930 08CF000098 0 BATTERY/CAUSE BODILY 3 Pretrial
    ROBINSON MICHAEL 4 12 10 404 930 08CF000098 0 DOMESTIC BTRY/PHYSICAL 2 Pretrial
    ROBINSON MICHAEL 4 12 10 404 930 08CF000098 0 INTIMIDATION/PHYSICAL 1 Pretrial

    “Robinson was with the two women in an apartment complex elevator about 3:30 a.m. Monday [01/14/2008] when he quarreled with his ex-girlfriend, 32, over a phone call and began choking her, said Bolingbrook police Lt. Ken Teppel. When her friend, age 40, tried to intervene, Robinson allegedly punched her in the face, authorities said. Robinson dragged his ex-girlfriend and the friend into the apartment of a third woman and again tried to choke the ex-girlfriend, Teppel said, and when the friend tried to separate them, Robinson punched her in the face several times, knocking her to the floor. Robinson left, and when police arrived, they saw bruises and cuts on the friend’s face, Teppel said.”

  7. Thank you facs. Just hope this guy has to pay for what he did. They should have charged him with attempted murder, as he tried to choke her twice. IMO

  8. I’m confused. If Abood isn’t licensed in Illinois, is he just licensed to practice in Illinois? Otherwise, how was he able to be on the defense team? Maybe I’m having a senior moment, but that didn’t sound quite right.

    Abbod says in Facs’ post #8: “I could guess as I am not licensed in Illinois but on many domestic first offense cases, the defendant takes a plea and is placed on probation for a period of time — in Michigan it is commonly referred to as 7694a status. If the defendant completes probation, the case is dismissed. the clerk would then close the file.”

  9. facsmiley :I sliced up the Lopez arguments into 4 parts and uploaded to youtube for easier watching.
    One thing I noted at the beginning of Part Four; Lopez goes on about Scott Rosetto and Stacy’s relationship and how close it was and isn’t it strange that Stacy never mentioned to him that Drew killed Kathleen? He’s going to have to drop that bit now that we know she did tell Rosetto that very thing.
    We also know now that Baden was not paid for the autopsy he did on Kathleen’s remains, even though Lopez says that he was paid $100,000 in his arguments.
    IMO the mock trial argument is interesting to look at just to learn about Lopez’s style and approach, but of course the hearsay hearings brought to light a lot of new information that will be heard at trial and inevitably the defense is going to need to adjust accordingly.

    Don’t you just love it? I do.

  10. facsmiley :I sliced up the Lopez arguments into 4 parts and uploaded to youtube for easier watching.
    One thing I noted at the beginning of Part Four; Lopez goes on about Scott Rosetto and Stacy’s relationship and how close it was and isn’t it strange that Stacy never mentioned to him that Drew killed Kathleen? He’s going to have to drop that bit now that we know she did tell Rosetto that very thing.
    We also know now that Baden was not paid for the autopsy he did on Kathleen’s remains, even though Lopez says that he was paid $100,000 in his arguments.
    IMO the mock trial argument is interesting to look at just to learn about Lopez’s style and approach, but of course the hearsay hearings brought to light a lot of new information that will be heard at trial and inevitably the defense is going to need to adjust accordingly.

    We also know that there was a 3rd autopsy performed by a government employee that came to the same conclusion as Baden. We also know that they were able to look at the remains and did see evidence of the bruising still.

    The real jury will also see the original photos of the scene. They will likely hear testimony from one or more of the CJ members who will say they only could chose accident, homicide, or natural and that undetermined was not available even though some of them would have selected that instead.

    They will also hear testimony from then police officers who stated they raised concern about not investigating further.

    Rewatching that reminded me of the things that I’d be wondering about the scene that make it look like it was staged or cleaned up. Where is blood or hair from where Kathleen actually cut her head? If you wacked your head on the water spigot, the wall, or the soap holder – there would be something there. How could you hit the back of your head, get all those bruises, and end up face down with no bruises on your forehead or face? How do you fall and land that way in that particular tub? How do you not knock anything on the side of the tub down? How is it that people noted there were no towels in the room at the time yet they show up in the picture? How is it that her hair was still wet and fingers wrinkled if the water receded so slowly? Why no clothes found from prior day? Why didn’t Drew call the cops instead of going the neighbor and friend locksmith route if he was really worried about her instead of asking the police to do it as he had no problems dialing 911 so many times before for little things?

    I do think that the jurors on this mock trial represent a lot of what you see out there. I think that a hung jury the first real go-round is very possible. It seems that people who read this get very firmly staked in one side or the other and getting the two sides to see eye-to-eye is like getting our current Congress to create a meaninful, truly bipartison bill…

  11. OK – I have to say this. When I first started listening to Lopez at the mock trial he reminded me of the Jon Lovitz Tommy characther (“Yeah that’s the ticket”) in the way his voice sounded and some of his mannerisms… http://tinyurl.com/y7bdbg4

  12. I thought there was 3 autopsy’s done and the one wasn’t mentioned in the mock trial. The one by Dr Larry Blum. This had me confused that they didn’t know this.Also they were able to still see the bruises more than the the mock trial brought out.Thanks for clarifying that TAI. I wonder if the defense will adjust accordingly going with the accident theory? I can’t see how. Smoke and mirrors maybe.

  13. I don’t understand why they didn’t include any mention of Dr. Blum’s autopsy at the mock trial. I was thinking the findings may have been released after the mock trial but from what I can see the Blum results came out in Feb 2008 and the mock trial was in May 2009 so that squashes that theory unless I have my dates mixed up.

  14. We mustn’t forget there will be more than just hearsay evidence….

    Oh, dear. Cheap suit. I wonder what he drives. LOL

    Isn’t that funny? Joel found the perfect strategy for lazy lawyers. “We don’t have to defend anything. It was an accident”. AKA “Let’s get this over with”?

  15. You haven’t got your dates mixed up…must have been an “oversight” to leave out Dr Blum’s results.

  16. Maybe they didn’t want to address it because Blum’s autopsy report had not yet been publicly released. Although Blum’s determination of homicide was announced in February 2008, his autopsy report wasn’t released until July 2009.

    Of course, Baden’s report wasn’t released until July 2009 either, when Lisa Bloom went on the air with it.

  17. Facs – I think you just gave me my missing link! I saw both of those dates and was trying to figure it out. Guess that I’d still think they would say that a non-paid, non-privately hired medical examiner came to the conclusion to change the manner of death to homicide. But I guess if they didn’t have the details – they didn’t bring it in.

  18. Didn’t Baden go on TV though right after he was done with the autopsy and say things infomrally? Does anyone know what they actually gave these mock jurors as evidence in the case? Did they really just do the fake closing arguments or was there more that wasn’t captured on YouTube?

  19. Drew’s defense obviously doesn’t want to go down the case of bringing up an alibi defense even as a second measure of adding reasonable doubt to a jury because that opens a can or worms ala Stacy. The only alibi given at the time of Kathleen’s death was Stacy. So if they switch things up now to put on one of the sons then that creates some holes (such as the kid was little and probably went to sleep in a separate room from his dad) and creates an opportunity for the kid to be cross-examined about any arugments the kid may have witnessed. The defense has nothing to gain by bringing forth an alibi and probably would lose more ground than sticking to their guns on the accident defense IMO. If they employ the no-alibi defense and don’t gear up forensic experts to nix anything the prosecutor does put forward that may be a big gamble counting only on closing arguments. It didn’t fully work in this case and I’d imagine that the SA would work on keeping Drew in jail and retrying the case if it results in a hung jury. I do think if there is a hung jury then Drew could potentially get his bail lowered though. Does anyone know if there is a maxinimum number of times you can retry someone after hung juries?

  20. thinkaboutit2 :

    Does anyone know what they actually gave these mock jurors as evidence in the case? Did they really just do the fake closing arguments or was there more that wasn’t captured on YouTube?

    If you look at the end of this long video you can see the mock jurors deliberating and they do have a lot of papers on the table. No idea what was in those papers though. I’d like to think it was more than just transcripts of the closing arguments. Since Karen Conti did the argument for the prosecution she would be the perfect person to ask.

  21. thinkaboutit2 :

    Drew’s defense obviously doesn’t want to go down the case of bringing up an alibi defense even as a second measure of adding reasonable doubt to a jury because that opens a can or worms ala Stacy. The only alibi given at the time of Kathleen’s death was Stacy. So if they switch things up now to put on one of the sons then that creates some holes (such as the kid was little and probably went to sleep in a separate room from his dad) and creates an opportunity for the kid to be cross-examined about any arugments the kid may have witnessed. The defense has nothing to gain by bringing forth an alibi and probably would lose more ground than sticking to their guns on the accident defense IMO.

    A few of us discussed this very thing and came to the same conclusion over the weekend. Once the defense “opens the door” as Judge White put it by mentioning Stacy or the boys, it clears the way for the prosecution to start calling some very compelling witnesses.

  22. Wouldn’t those papers be the facts of the case as they knew them? The mock trial video shows the closing arguments, but the “evidence” was referred to by the attorneys in their arguments. The jurors were presented with, I assume, the “transcript” of the facts that were known about the case, no?

  23. rescueapet :Wouldn’t those papers be the facts of the case as they knew them? The mock trial video shows the closing arguments, but the “evidence” was referred to by the attorneys in their arguments. The jurors were presented with, I assume, the “transcript” of the facts that were known about the case, no?

    Maybe those papers are ‘Jury Instructions’?

  24. Karen Conti has replied about what the jurors were given to work from:

    Everyone who walked in got a list of facts that were agreed upon by both prosecution and defense–these were taken from the media, from court filings, etc. We did not have everything of course. When the jury was picked they were told to rely only on our arguments, but they did have that list of facts.

    She’s going to email us the list.

    Karen Conti rocks! Her closing rebuttal is worth another listen.

  25. Facts @ #47:

    One thing I noted at the beginning of Part Four; Lopez goes on about Scott Rosetto and Stacy’s relationship and how close it was and isn’t it strange that Stacy never mentioned to him that Drew killed Kathleen? He’s going to have to drop that bit now that we know she did tell Rosetto that very thing.

    Slammo! Good catch, Facs!

  26. Wow. Is that really what was in the divorce petition from a guy who had already impregnated a 18-year-old girl causing them to have to go the bifurcated method to get medical coverage for the pregnancy??

  27. I had never seen the details from the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage before.

    “…disregarded her marriage vows to him since the marriage without fault or provocation by him…”

    Wow. He really divorced her under that?

  28. facsmiley :
    I had never seen the details from the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage before.
    “…disregarded her marriage vows to him since the marriage without fault or provocation by him…”
    Wow. He really divorced her under that?

    Goes to show DP’s state of mind toward woman.Which he even says himself. That he cares how he feels. If he isn’t being pleased by a woman he moves on. Its not his fault. Yea right DP I’m going to buy the Brooklyn bridge tomorrow. Yea rescue DP land is scary.

  29. I hope they’re looking after DP’s cholesterol levels and so forth. I really really really don’t want him to peg out before *all* the trials are done.

  30. Hiya Bucket.

    Hmmm, don’t know who’s lookin’ after the Drewzer’s welfare these days. His lead bus driver is busy putting out press releases about his new-found Catholic-Jewish-Catholic client about how he wants the judge to rule in the contempt charges. Sell-it is busy promoting the ranting ex-gov of this State. So, I guess pretty much everything is caught up with what needs to be in the DP case.

    What, with just having to sit back and letting the State do all the work in trying to convict his client, there must not be much to do anyway, heh?

  31. Hmmmm.

    http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2010/04/bolingbrook-pond-searched-for-remains-of-stacy-peterson.html

    Bolingbrook pond searched for remains of Stacy Peterson
    April 21, 2010 11:18 AM | No Comments
    A search of a Bolingbrook pond is being conducted this morning by a volunteer group organized by Stacy Peterson’s sister, a family spokeswoman said.

    There have been no new leads as to her whereabouts, the spokeswoman said. So far, nothing has been found.

    Peterson disappeared in October 2007. Authorities have called her husband, Drew Peterson, the only suspect.

    He is being held on $20 million bond in the drowning death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

    That case is scheduled to go to trial in June.

    –WGN-TV

  32. Interesting… I wonder what brought that about. It has to be hard to keep trying when you have no idea where she may be. I pray they find something that helps solve her disappearance. The families need to keep Kathleen and Stacy’s names in the news whenever this white noise happens.

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