New Illinois law makes evidence of domestic violence admissible in murder cases

Kathleen Savio with black eye

Remember how frustrated we all were that evidence of Drew Peterson’s prior domestic abuse of Kathleen Savio was barred from trial? Illinois Public Act 097-1036, which was signed into law in August, now mandates that evidence of prior domestic violence is admissible in all first or second-degree murder cases that involve domestic violence.

In Peterson’s case, the evidence of prior abuse (testimony from Anna Doman and Eric Peterson, an emergency room report, etc.) was deemed too remote in time from Kathleen’s death to be admissible, and that could still be the case even with this new law since proximity in time is still a factor to be considered, but it’s a step in the right direction!

Public Act 097-1036

Synopsis As Introduced
Amends the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963. Provides that in a criminal prosecution in which the defendant is accused of first degree murder or second degree murder when the commission of the offense involves domestic violence, evidence of the defendant’s commission of another offense or offenses of domestic violence is admissible, and may be considered for its bearing on any matter to which it is relevant. Effective immediately.

Bill Status of HB5264 97th General Assembly

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22 thoughts on “New Illinois law makes evidence of domestic violence admissible in murder cases

  1. If you do come back Joe Lopez, can I ask you this: is it fair that a woman who is abused over and over, then gets killed by her abuser, should have her murderer go unpunished because she isn’t here to speak up in a trial? Really?

  2. From Sue’s Facebook page:

    Sue Savio

    I will be guest speaker at the united Methodist church on oct 17 in Madera,CA. I am committed to raising awareness of domestic Violence in honor of my sister Kathleen Savio. I will also be at the domestic violence awarness luminary walk in Ottawa and speaking at the FirstCongregation church on oct 25,2012 And on the winnebego board.I truely am blessed to be able to do this for my sister and all the other victims.

    I’ve got a post drafted about the Ottowa event and it will go up closer to the end of the month to make sure people don’t forget.

    Sue is doing such a great job and it makes my heart swell to think of how proud Kathleen would be of her sister’s efforts.

  3. Hey, Joe….If that law is so useless, because it now allows in prior bad acts of abuse; Why do you defense lawyers fight so hard to keep out all prior bad acts of abuse???? Why not just go ahead and let them in, even without a law??? You guys would like every one to believe it is useless, huh? Not going to happen.
    It is about time, that the Courts are starting to take domestic violence serious.

  4. Sue, keep up the good work. Your sister, Kathy, would be so happy to know, how much you are using her for an example to help others of domestic violence. By bringing more awareness, and more people talking about it, you are helping thousands of women with no hope, to finally begin to understand they can have hope, and how to start to deal with their abuse. Look, they just passed another law, to help abused women. Maybe, with more awareness, and more people pushing for new laws, they will pass more to help these poor abused women, so maybe they can get out of a very bad situation, SAFE, and not loose their lives to their abusors, when they try to get out.

  5. It really is about bloody time.
    It’a a shame, isn’t it, that abusers don’t have to first prove their victims ‘deserved’ to be beaten in a court of law. Now THAT would be parity and fairness.

    Lopez is just another useless lawyer who doesn’t care about justice, just their scorecard, their money and their “profile”.

    Shame about the score this time, eh, Joe? So try to hold on to the profile. You’re insignificant, and profile is not the same thing as a decent reputation. You even commented here in an insignificant manner.

    You don’t impress.
    It makes people sick to see you and your like turning serious business for society into a circus.

  6. I so agree bucket..he twitters they will have surprises at the sentencing..I have to laugh….they joked..laughed,,,and made disrespectful remarks all during the trial..he made a remark after the verdict…next case..but thats not the way it is…sore loser…they just can’t let it go..prosecution won..DP was guilty and we have a new law…

  7. Tweets from Stacy St. Clair (@sgcrimlaw is Steven Greenberg):

    16m Stacy St. Clair ‏@StacyStClair
    At #drewpeterson’s request @sgcrimlaw did not withdraw from case today. In a rare move, the matter was continued until Nov. 16.

    Stacy St. Clair ‏@StacyStClair
    After what looked like an amicable chat with #drewpeterson, @SGcrimlaw said he would not comment on DP’s request that he not withdraw today

    Stacy St. Clair ‏@StacyStClair
    #drewpeterson atty @SGcrimlaw asks judge to continue his withdraw request until Nov. 16. Wonder what Greenberg’s conditions for staying are.

  8. Lopez is such a D*** A** I know that this new law will do great. Just can’t wait for Druppys senting in Nov. and hope he gets the MAX the MURDERING BASTARD!

  9. Drew Peterson attorney Greenberg postpones withdrawing from case

    By Janet Lundquist
    October 4, 2012 10:49AM

    JOLIET — The post-trial drama with Drew Peterson’s lawyers continued Thursday.

    Attorney Steve Greenberg, who Peterson “fired” from his defense team, had filed a motion to withdraw as one of the former Bolingbrook cop’s lawyers.

    But after a lengthy conference with Peterson Thursday morning, Greenberg asked that the motion be postponed to Nov. 16.

    “I love Drew, Drew loves me,” Greenberg said in the hallway outside the courtroom after the appearance before Judge Edward Burmila.

    Peterson “asked me not to say anything,” Greenberg said. “I find it difficult to bite my tongue, but that’s what I’ll do.

    “I think my letter spoke for how I feel.”

    Peterson, 58, faces a maximum of 60 years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 26.

    Greenberg was fired from the defense team after Peterson was found guilty of the March 2004 murder of Peterson’s third wife, Kathleen Savio.

    In a public statement after Greenberg’s firing, lead Peterson defense attorney Joel Brodsky said Greenberg didn’t properly question witnesses and wasn’t prepared for some court sessions because he spent too much time “hanging out in the press room.”

    “Mr. Greenberg was let go because of his failure to accomplish most of the tasks he brought on board to take care of,” Brodsky said in his earlier statement.

    Greenberg then accused attorney Joel Brodsky of “single-handedly” losing the trial.

    Greenberg also threatened to sue Brodsky for “scandalous, contemptible and repulsive” comments he allegedly made about Greenberg. Peterson, meanwhile, has asked the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission to investigate Greenberg’s behavior. Brodsky has declined to comment on Greenberg’s accusations.

    Peterson is scheduled to return to court Oct. 18 for a hearing on several post-trial motions.

  10. Brodsky filed a motion from Peterson “terminating” Greenberg from the case. But Greenberg said the filing has no legal meaning and a judge is the only one who can allow an attorney to leave, typically on the attorney’s own motion.

    Greenberg told Will County Judge Ed Burmila that after talking with Peterson, he was asking for a continuance on the motion to withdraw. The next date is Nov. 16.,0,2318697.story

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