Poll: Judge Edward Burmila. Is he presiding fairly over the Drew Peterson Trial?

Judge Edward Burmila

Tomorrow, the trial of Drew Peterson for the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, continues.

Presiding over his trial is Judge Edward Burmila, who has shown himself to be attentive and animated during court proceedings. He has become visibly angered with some of the actions of the prosecution and reprimanded a witness when he didn’t like how she phrased a response.

Even before proceedings began, there were rumblings that the mixture of Judge Burmila and State’s Attorney James Glasgow could be a volatile one. Both men vied for the position of State’s Attorney in 1992, with Glasgow winning the votes and the position. It is rumored that there is bad blood between the two men.

During the opening statement by the defense, Judge Burmila stopped Attorney Joel Brodsky and removed the jury from the room while he reprimanded Drew Peterson’s lead attorney, saying that his retelling of Peterson’s life story was, “completely inappropriate” and urged him to get to the meat of the statement.

Day two of the trial saw the judge angry once more, when the prosecution knowingly let Tom Pontarelli testify about finding a .38 bullet in his driveway, which he perceived as a threat from Drew Peterson. The Defense claimed that the testimony had been barred. The prosecution said that it had not. The defense filed a motion for a mistrial and the judge threatened to either accept the motion with prejudice, which would have essentially acquitted Peterson of the murder charge, or to strike the complete testimony of Tom Pontarelli. The next morning, he ruled that only the offending statement would be struck and that the trial would go on.

The next day Judge Burmila asked the prosecution to keep the name of Stacy Peterson out of Anna Doman’s testimony, even though the defense had mentioned her during the opening statement.

There has been a good amount of criticism regarding the way the defense team has been allowed to address the media and although Judge Burmila has asked Joe Lopez to stop tweeting from the courtroom, he hasn’t issued a gag order.

How do you feel about the way Judge Edward Burmila is handling this trial? Is he simply being cautious about the heavily circumstantial evidence to ensure that Peterson’s actions rather than his character are on trial? Could it be that his rulings against the prosecution are all in the interest of a fair trial and to make sure that a possible conviction might “stick” under appeal? Or is he letting his personal feelings against the prosecution affect his decisions? Is he the right judge to preside over this trial?

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9 thoughts on “Poll: Judge Edward Burmila. Is he presiding fairly over the Drew Peterson Trial?

  1. Two men who played crucial roles in investigating the scene of Kathleen Savio’s death — originally ruled an accident but now considered by authorities to be a homicide — are among the witnesses next expected to take the stand as Drew Peterson’s murder trial enters its second week.

    Evidence technician Robert Deel and retired state police investigator Patrick Collins could be first up to testify when Will County Judge Edward Burmila takes the bench Tuesday. Collins testified in 2010 that police did not so much as interview Peterson as a suspect in his third wife’s death.

    Collins testified he’d never worked a homicide case before he was called in to probe Savio’s death. He described himself as “naive” and said he relied heavily on guidance from Deel, who said it looked like Savio slipped in the tub and hit her head.


  2. I have not had the time to follow the trial closely, but my impression is that Burmilla has overruled the Prosecution on most of their objections — even when they seemed fair objections. Conversely, he seems to sustain most of the Defense objections which seem to come after every third sentence said by the Prosecution.

    It’s a shame that these proceedings can’t be videotaped — or, are they, but just not broadcast? It would be so much easier to follow if there was video and it would allow more concrete evidence for an appeal.

    When scrolling through the various tweets and comments, it appears that Burmilla allows the Defense team wide leeway in how they present their case (i.e., trashing Kathy) while he has the Prosecution on such a short leash that they can’t mention a huge swath of pertinent information. They are virtually walking on eggshells trying to figure out what Burmilla will or won’t allow. It is evident that Burmilla has them flustered.

    Chastising a witness seems way out of line.

    From the beginning it has looked to me like Burmilla has an axe to grind. The problem is that this could be used against him in the event Drew is acquitted. His behavior seems so blatantly one-sided that it’s hard not to see it. That could be clear grounds for an appeal.

    Question —- Has Burmilla’s actions tainted the jury? Can his behavior possibly be the basis for a request from the Prosecution for a mistrial?

  3. My opinion regarding Judge Burmila is that YES, he is leaning more towards the defense and coming down hard, and unfairly on the prosecution. Just the fact that he refuses to go by the ruling of the appelate court in regards to the hearsay statements, and says he will rule on each one as it comes up, tells me that he is trying to control the direction this trial takes.

    We saw similar Judicial behavior with Judge Perry in the Casey Anthony case…Judge made it very clear that he would do anything to avoid an appeal. In doing so, he was much harder on the prosecution, and practically spoon fed the defense all the way thru the trial. When a jury observes mistreatment of the prosecution, surely they have to wonder why…and some may think the the Judge is in favor of the defense…If I was a juror, and knew nothing about this case at all, that would be the way I would be thinking.

    Burmila needs to either play fair, (which many have said he is a fair judge), or recuse himself, because he obviously isn’t playing fair at all.

  4. I saw an interview today on In Session in which the defense team explained that Judge Burmila is allowing Atty Greenberg to handle the objections, while Joe Lopez or Joel Brodsky is doing cross-examinations.

    Personally, I find this to be an unfair advantage.

    Even the defense agreed that this was an unusual way to handle proceedings and one they hadn’t seen before and yet the judge allowed it.

  5. I know some here may not agree with me but can I just say, only Nancy Grace could manage to make Joel Brodsky look calm and intelligent.

    Seriously, what is wrong with her? Does “Really, Brodsky, really?” pass for interview technique these days?

    For heaven’s sake, all she had to do was ask him an intelligent question and then let him ramble and double speak for four minutes and he would have done her work for her.

    Instead she puts on that sneer and just takes this schoolyard jabs at him. I got through about twenty minutes of it, but it was painful.

  6. On the morning of what will be the fifth day in the Drew Peterson murder trial a source tells WLS News that the defense attorneys will file a motion for disclosure regarding forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden. The defense plans to claim that Dr. Baden came to his medical conclusion before he conducted the autopsy on Drew Peterson’s third wife Kathleen Savio.

    Dr. Baden has yet to take the stand in the case and the Peterson defense team’s intention is to prevent the jury from hearing his testimony.

    Drew Peterson’s defense attorneys declined to comment.
    Peterson is charged with first-degree murder in the 2004 death of Kathleen Savio. Savio’s death was initially ruled an accidental drowning.

    Court is scheduled to resume on Tuesday.

    I didn’t even realize that Michael Baden was slated to testify. I guess he’s a big deal and all, but Larry Blum did the autopsy for the state.

  7. Preview of tomorrow’s coming attractions:

    Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow even mentioned Deel by name during his closing argument in a 2010 pretrial hearing, telling a judge that former Bolingbrook police Sgt. Peterson had staged the scene well enough to “fool” Deel.

    “He bit on it hook, line and sinker,” Glasgow said. He noted that Deel had testified that Savio’s bruises were “insignificant” and said, “If you have an evidence tech like that running a crime scene, you have a problem.”


  8. Ha Ha Facs! You are brave to watch NG! My sister called to tell me he was on. No thanks for me. I cannot stand to watch the crap that comes out of his mouth. Did he really give an explanation for the bruises on Kathleen’s legs?

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