Read it here: Drew Peterson’s appeal of murder conviction

ARGUMENTS

I. DREW WAS DENIED A FAIR TRIAL WHEN ATTORNEY HARRY SMITH TESTIFIED ABOUT A PRIVILEGED CONVERSATION WITH STACY THAT HAD BEEN RULED INADMISSIBLE, AND WAS HEARSAY OPINION INSINUATING DREW WAS GUILTY OF MURDER.

II. DREW’S PRINCIPAL ATTORNEY, BY SIGNING A MEDIA RIGHTS CONTRACT WHEN RETAINED, CREATED A PER SE CONFLICT.

III. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED AS A MATTER OF LAW IN ADMITTING PASTOR SCHORI’S TESTIMONY, BOTH AT THE FORFEITURE BY WRONGDOING HEARING AND AT TRIAL, IN CONTRAVENTION OF THE CLERGY PRIVILEGE DOCTRINE.

IV. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN ADMITTING INTO EVIDENCE, VIA THE FORFEITURE BY WRONGDOING DOCTRINE, HEARSAY STATEMENTS THAT THE COURT HAD PREVIOUSLY FOUND UNRELIABLE.

V. THE TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN ADMITTING JEFFREY PACHTER’S TESTIMONY BECAUSE THE STATE FAILED TO PROVIDE PROPER NOTICE OF THE TESTIMONY UNDER RULE 404(b), WHICH WAS PREJUDICIAL PROPENSITY EVIDENCE.

VI. DREW WAS NOT PROVED GUILTY BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT

VII. THE CUMULATIVE ERRORS DENIED DEFENDANT HIS RIGHT TO A FAIR TRIAL AND CAST DOUBT UPON THE INTEGRITY OF THIS PROCEEDING.

See the comments thread for more information.

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20 thoughts on “Read it here: Drew Peterson’s appeal of murder conviction

  1. Are they sure that they aren’t describing the defense team?

  2. In case you are unfamiliar with two of the names authoring the appeal:

    Harold J. Krent
    Dean and Professor of Law

    Dean Krent graduated from Princeton University and received his law degree from New York University School of Law, where he served as notes editor of the Law Review and garnered several awards for excellence in writing.

    Dean Krent clerked for the Honorable William H. Timbers of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and then worked in the Department of Justice for the Appellate Staff of the Civil Division, writing briefs and arguing cases in various courts of appeals across the nation. He has been teaching full-time since 1987 and has focused his scholarship on legal aspects of individuals’ interaction with the government. His recent book, Presidential Powers, is a comprehensive examination of the president’s role as defined by the U.S. Constitution and judicial and historical precedents.

    In addition, Dean Krent has served as a consultant to the Administrative Conference of the United States. He has also litigated numerous cases with students on behalf of indigent prisoners.

    Dean Krent joined the IIT Chicago-Kent faculty in 1994. He was appointed associate dean in 1997 and interim dean in 2002 before assuming the deanship on January 1, 2003.

    http://www.kentlaw.iit.edu/faculty/full-time-faculty/harold-j-krent

    … And Holdridge wasn’t the only one to find Glasgow’s change in course puzzling.

    “There’s irony, foremost,” said Harold J. Krent, the dean of IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, who noted that Glasgow was “actually potentially undercutting the power of prosecutors” when he passed his new law.

    “The common law’s power was broader,” Krent said.Whether the defense appeals or not, Krent believes Peterson’s team has a chance to prevail at trial…

    “They have a real shot at winning,” he said. “I don’t think anyone would be surprised if Drew is acquitted.”…

    …“It’s just so weird,” Krent said. “The (appellate) court has made a dead letter of Drew’s Law.”

    http://shorewood-il.patch.com/groups/police-and-fire/p/does-peterson-kill-drew-s-law

    Also:

    Dec 16, 2013 – Enticing volunteer opportunity: Work with Dean Krent on Drew Peterson’s appeal.

    http://www.kentlaw.edu/depts/deansoffice/record.html

  3. And…

    Chicago criminal attorney Andrew Gable represents individuals arrested and charged with federal and state felony and misdemeanor crimes throughout the Chicago and Cook County area. He has handled a wide range of cases from murder and felony sexual assault to DUI, marijuana possession, and domestic violence. He has represented people in all walks of life including: alleged organized crime members, alleged gang members, physicians, nurses, pharmacists, lawyers, prosecutors, state and federal law enforcement officers, prison guards, military personnel, bus drivers, truck drivers, teachers, students, entertainers, and executives.

    Andrew Gable graduated from George Washington University Law School with highest honors, Order of the Coif, and was a member of the Law Review. During law school, he interned at the Washington D.C. Public Defender’s Office and upon graduating went to work for a top, national firm. He then honed his skills working for some of the top criminal defense attorneys in the country before opening his own practice.

    Andrew Gable has represented clients in state and federal courts in Illinois and New York and has obtained numerous successful outcomes. In addition, he specializes in federal sentencing issues and has obtained significant reductions in sentences through his diligence, investigations, and ability to present favorable information to the Court..

    http://www.andygable.com/

  4. Thanks for posting this. We knew the hearsay issue would come up– that was a no-brainer. But he’s again trying to make his attorney(s) responsible? This just keeps going back to that post I wrote showing how Drew Peterson is blaming everyone but himself.

    About the “absent-minded, inconsistent, financially
    motivated and wholly unbelievable people”– that is exactly something that a raging narcissist who believes he is above the law would say. They think that using those words will convince others to think of the witnesses the same way. It does the opposite– it showcases how utterly self-centered the defendant is. It’s so transparent and so revealing. Attorneys often go along with such garish grandiosity not realizing how foolish or desperate it can make them and their client look. Anybody who testifies against a Drew Peterson is going to be portrayed as incompetent by Drew Peterson.

    They’re going after clergy privilege– as if that’s an absolute? Yeah, he definitely didn’t want Neil Schori sharing what he knew because it was so damning. I’ll be interested to see how that one plays out. Neil Schori did what his faith demands of him and spoke up on behalf of the victim.

  5. In essence, when Greenberg is not blaming Brodsky for Drew’s conviction, he’s blaming either Judge White or Judge Burmilla – AKA “the court”. I don’t know how successful of an appeal strategy that could be.

    After all, it’s the job of the attorneys to argue their cases for or against evidence. If Peterson’s 6-man defense team wasn’t able to get their motions to bar evidence granted, and then weren’t able to impeach the evidence in open court, then whose fault is that? They tried and tried to keep out the testimony of Neil Schori but they weren’t successful. Can you really appeal on the grounds of not being very convincing up to this point?

    If the state’s witnesses were all “absent-minded, inconsistent, financially motivated and wholly unbelievable”, then again, wasn’t it the job of the defense to convince the jury of this? Evidently the jury didn’t agree with this estimation and it’s their opinion that matters.

    I just don’t see this appeal going anywhere. They can argue against the admission of hearsay over the nuances of various exceptions, but they had a pre-trial hearing, and oral argument to the appellate justices, numerous motions, and then the actual trial to make their case against the evidence, and it didn’t work. What new information or case law can they produce to now turn everything on its head?

    Nuthin’.

  6. Also, I don’t know if it’s customary to write up a lengthy (and biased) account of the facts of the case as a preamble to an appeal, but why is that even part of it? I thought that the appeal had to relate directly to errors that took place in court which had they not happened, would have resulted in a different outcome.

    Referring to Stacy Peterson’s disappearance by saying that she “left” is at best conjecture and at worst a willful misrepresentation of the facts.

  7. Ex-Drew Peterson lawyer drops libel lawsuit against Tribune, others
    January 18, 2014

    One of convicted murderer Drew Peterson’s former attorneys on Friday dropped his libel lawsuit against another Peterson lawyer, Tribune Co. and other defendants.

    Joel Brodsky had alleged in his lawsuit that a letter written by attorney Steven Greenberg and provided to the Chicago Tribune and other media contained “false and misleading” material that defamed him by portraying him as a liar and an incompetent lawyer. Brodsky alleged that the letter was an effort by Greenberg to blame him for Peterson’s conviction in September 2012 for the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

    Brodsky, who eventually withdrew from Peterson’s legal team, named Tribune Co. as a defendant in the lawsuit because it is the corporate parent of the Chicago Tribune. Brodsky also had named Tribune reporter Stacy St. Clair, former Cook County Circuit Judge Daniel Locallo, AOL Patch, Patch Media Corp. and Patch editor Joseph Hosey.

    The lawsuit was filed in February in Cook County Circuit Court.

    In his motion, Brodsky said his attorney had a series of health setbacks and he might refile the lawsuit within a year.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-brodsky-lawsuit-dropped-20140118,0,3801214.story

  8. Has anything coming from Drew Peterson and his “multiple” defense teams really ever made sense? We’ve witnessed “almost” all of them parading around in front of the press, posting to their social media pages, etc. Should it surprise anyone that the appeal rambles on, as well?
    I can only hope that the latest news coverage on the Drew Peterson appeal process brings forth another piece of informations on Stacy Peterson’s disappearance.

  9. Stilllearning, LOL! I guess there’s still time, right? 😉

    Apparently a local attorney was talking about the appeal this morning but the link I have to the story doesn’t work. I don’t know if the link never worked or the story got pulled, but at present it’s dead.

    Local Attorney Says Peterson’s Chance at New Trial LOW
    1340 WJOL ‎- 1 hour ago
    Attorney Frank Andriano told 1340 WJOL’s Scott Slocum that Peterson’s main argument is that Peterson attorney Joel Brodsky made a lot of mistakes. Andreano says that, sure, Peterson’s side may have a point, when it comes to THE …

    http://www.wjol.com/common/more.php?m=15&r=3&item_id=37531

  10. Towards the end they discuss Peterson coming back to Bolingbrook for a day for a pension hearing. I hadn’t heard that was going to happen. Wonder when that will be…

  11. You know how it is Anna, the policy is that in order to lose the pension it has to be proven that he committed a felony while on duty. Bolingbrook has hired an attorney to try to prove this took place. Good luck to him/her!

  12. I was looking up things from June 2012 when the pre-trial hearings covered the testimony of Stacy Peterson by way of Attorney Harry Smith. I had forgotten a lot of what I had found out then but re-reading those post and comment threads reminded me of some important stuff, i.e.,:

    I was reading up a little today on attorney-client privilege. I know that exceptions vary between jurisdictions but this seems to be a common one:

    The first exception is when the client discloses the information to another party other than the attorney and his or her staff. If the client does that then he or she just “waived” (lost) their privilege.

    Judge Burmila decided that Atty Smith violated his a-c privilege with Stacy Peterson when he testified about Drew killing Kathleen but she, in fact, told at least two other people the same information (Neil Schori and Scott Rossetto). Wouldn’t that mean that she waives the right to confidentiality in regards to those statements? Again:

    The attorney can not disclose confidential communications even after the client is deceased unless the client gives prior permission. Although, the client himself may accidentally lose the privilege if he gives out the information to a third party.

    http://voices.yahoo.com/the-exceptions-attorney-client-privilege-342047.html

    I understand that Judge Burmila might want to bar Atty Smith’s testimony because Stacy has not given him permission to disclose their discussion but I was under the impression that the pre-trial hearing regarding the hearsay testimony proved to Judge White to a certain degree of reliability, that Stacy is dead. Yes, the decision was sealed but it was also leaked and there is some reason why Drew Peterson was denied permission to wait out the appeals at home. What else could it be?

    Let’s say for argument’s sake, that Judge White believed Stacy to be dead. You might say that the attorney-client privilege continues even after death. True, but a family representative can then give permission to waive the privilege:

    The attorney may provide the file to police with the personal representative’s consent or if he believes that the client herself would wish to waive the privilege if she were alive.

    Why couldn’t atty Smith’s testimony be approached in that way? Let Cassandra Cales give permission to waive the confidentiality.

    I see two good arguments for an exception to attorney-client confidentiality here. I hope the State has argued both of these…

    http://tinyurl.com/6ql8rbj

    Honestly, I’m not even sure how the confidentiality is an issue with Atty Smith’s testimony. Everything I’m reading has to do with “information relating to the representation to the disadvantage of the client” and none of what Harry Smith has to relate about his conversation compromises either woman. His testimony is all about the bad actions of Drew Peterson who was definitely NOT his client.

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/ethics/il/narr/IL_NARR_1_06.HTM

    1.6:220 Lawyer’s Duty to Safeguard Confidential Client Information

    IRPC 1.6 forbids, subject to the exceptions stated below, the use or revelation of confidences or secrets, without informed consent (consent “after disclosure”), and the prohibition is effective both “during or after termination of the professional relationship with the client.” It should be noted, however, that IRPC 1.9 (“Conflict of Interest: Former Client”) forbids a lawyer from using “information relating to the representation to the disadvantage of the former client” unless such use is permitted by IRPC�1.6 or “the information has become generally known.

    The Lifetime movie “Untouchable” depicted Stacy Peterson telling people that Drew Peterson had killed Kathleen Savio. The premiere of that movie had 5.8 million viewers. Exactly how many people need to hear about something before the information qualifies as “generally known”?

    I thought Judge Burmila was a big fan of the law who enjoys doing his own research rather than letting lawyers do it all. I wish he would delve into this a little more before making a final decision on Atty Smith’s testimony. In my opinion, the matter of attorney-client privilege has been twisted around and does not fit the context of this testimony.

    “I would guess that his hobby would be legal research,” said Steven Haney, a Joliet attorney with a busy criminal practice. “Most judges will rely on the lawyers to do the research … but that doesn’t happen with Judge Burmila.”

    Disclosure of information that is not confidential
    Clearly, information that is not confidential does not fall under the duty of confidentiality. Disclosure of information that is already in the public domain does not breach the duty. Further, information that was not in the public knowledge at the time of the retainer agreement, is not subject to the duty if it subsequently enters the public domain. The purpose served by maintaining the confidence – the protection of the client – is arguably extinguished.

    Nonetheless, the lawyer still owes a duty of loyalty, and clients may feel betrayed if such information is disclosed, even if it becomes public knowledge. Though there are no legal ramifications for disclosure, discretion on part of the lawyer may be in the long term interests of maintaining the propriety of the legal profession.

  13. Some information about the status of Peterson’s pension:

    Drew Peterson facing loss of police pension

    By Stacy St. Clair
    Tribune reporter
    11:42 a.m. CST, January 24, 2014

    Drew Peterson soon could find himself fighting to keep his pension, as an investigator hired by the Bolingbrook Police Pension Fund has found there’s enough evidence to begin forfeiture proceedings against the retired sergeant.

    Attorney Charles Atwell forwarded his decision after a nine-month review that included examining court transcripts and other records to determine whether Peterson’s murder conviction meant he should be stripped of his pension. In a brief letter sent to village officials the earlier this month, Atwell said state statutes would support holding a hearing to consider terminating the benefit.

    Under Illinois law, the board could revoke Peterson’s $79,000-a-year pension if it finds he used his law-enforcement powers or skills to drown his third wife, Kathleen Savio, in 2004.

    “By reason of the aforesaid felony conviction, I believe there exists sufficient evidence, upon which the Board may proceed to conduct a hearing to consider termination of Peterson’s pension benefits,” Atwell wrote in the letter, which the Tribune obtained under the Freedom of Information Act…

    …None of those things will be enough to take his retirement away, his attorney Steve Greenberg said.

    “There is absolutely no basis in law or fact (to strip his pension),” Greenberg said. “This is simply the flavor de jour to pile on Drew. At some point, I hope, they will start applying the same laws that apply to everyone else to Drew Peterson, and make it a fair fight.”…

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-drew-peterson-facing-loss-of-police-pension-20140124,0,586965.story

  14. I know it seems like that’s reason enough, but as we’ve discussed before, the loss of ones pension can only happen under very specific circumstances.

    That said, a good attorney could probably make a pretty compelling argument possibly based on Drew using knowledge/skills that he had attained as an officer when he killed her.

    In 2011, for example, a state appellate court upheld the city of Chicago’s decision to strip a firefighter of his pension after he was convicted of committing multiple arsons. Although they occurred when he was off-duty, the court found that the firefighter had “specialized knowledge” gained from his department experience and training that helped him ignite the fires.

    If you click through to the entire story, there’s a lot of good info there about what the rules are, and how certain people have lost and retained their pensions. It’s really interesting!

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