Drew Peterson case inspires proposed bill to strip pensions from convicted felons

UPDATE February 14, 2015: The Bill failed to pass in December and is in “Session Sine Die” or adjourned for an indefinite period.

Rep. Darlene Senger, R-Naperville

Rep. Darlene Senger

A new bill currently making its way through the General Assembly could make it a lot easier for the Bolingbrook Police Pension Board to take away the pension of convicted murderer, Drew Peterson.

Proposed Illinois House Bill 5816 would let pension boards consider some new criteria with regards to dispersal of pension benefits.  The bill which was introduced last month would let boards consider official misconduct and felony convictions grounds for forfeiture.

It says if you have been convicted or pleaded guilty to corruption charges, then the board can withhold your pension,” said 41st District Rep. Darlene Senger, R-Naperville, the bill’s sponsor.

But, more pertinent to the Drew Peterson situation, the bill would also make a felony grounds for possible forfeiture, stating:

..if a member or participant of a pension fund or retirement system established under the Code is receiving an annuity or pension from a pension fund or retirement system established under the Code and is convicted of, or pleads guilty to, a felony…then the board of trustees of that fund or system shall suspend the payment of that annuity or pension during that individual’s incarceration for that offense.

In Peterson’s case, that would be 38 years.

The Naperville Sun reports that Senger’s motivation for the bill arose from the current Drew Peterson situation. The Bolingbrook board voted last week to hold hearings to decide whether they should put an end to Peterson’s benefits, something that may be difficult to do under current law which is protective of civil employees.

There is another part to the proposed legislation, however, that could allow Peterson to continue collecting his annual $79k payout. It would allow pension boards leeway when the beneficiary of the pension is a child.  That part of the bill has not yet gone to a vote.

Currently, Peterson’s adult son, Stephen, is receiving his father’s pension benefits and has custodial care of his father’s two minor children. Their mother is Stacy Peterson who has been missing since October 2007. Drew Peterson is the only named suspect in connection to her disappearance and Stephen lost his job when he failed to tell his superiors about accepting guns and money from his father immediately after Stacy went missing.

Peterson’s attorneys have filed an appeal of his murder conviction and it is expected to be argued in appellate court some time in the Fall of this year.

Also, in “this is starting to feel like a prolonged case of déjà vu” news, the Illinois Supreme Court has denied Stephen Peterson’s request to appeal the Appellate Court decision that upheld the Village of Oak Brook’s decision to terminate him from his position with the Police Department.

I guess he’ll have to seek solace by buying more Blackhawks tickets with his dad’s pension benefits…

From the March Illinois Supreme Court Docket:

117194 Stephen Peterson, petitioner, v. Village of Oak Brook, etc., et al., respondents.
Leave to appeal, Appellate Court, Second District.

Illinois House Bill 5816 text
Illinois House Bill 5816 Summary
Naperville Sun
My Suburban Life


21 thoughts on “Drew Peterson case inspires proposed bill to strip pensions from convicted felons

  1. Man who testified in Peterson case dies in I-55 crash
    Wreck called accident; experts say man’s testimony in hearsay hearing could still be used in future charges

    A man who died in a crash Wednesday on Interstate 55 testified against Drew Peterson, the retired police sergeant who was convicted of killing his third wife and remains the only suspect in his fourth wife’s disappearance.

    Walter Martineck, 47, died Wednesday at 3:41 p.m. after his delivery truck struck a semitrailer in the northbound lanes of I-55 in Bolingbrook, according to Will County authorities and his fiancee, Kim Gralak. Police called the crash accidental, Gralak said.

    Martineck, a father of three who recently bought a home in Romeoville, was working as a delivery driver for GM Accessories, his fiancee said.

    Martineck testified before a grand jury investigating Stacy Peterson’s disappearance and at a landmark hearsay hearing in the murder case involving Drew Peterson’s third wife, Kathleen Savio.

    His testimony in both instances helped corroborate Peterson’s stepbrother Thomas Morphey’s claim that he helped remove a heavy plastic container from Peterson’s house on the night of Stacy’s disappearance.

    Morphey long has maintained that he and Peterson had met at a coffee shop on the night Stacy disappeared, then went to the couple’s Bolingbrook home to move a large blue container into Peterson’s car…

    …Will County prosecutors have said Stacy’s case remains open. Martineck’s testimony in the grand jury hearing would likely be inadmissible because he was never cross-examined, said Terry Sullivan, a private attorney who worked as a Cook County prosecutor for 12 years.

    Defendants who are charged have a right to confront witnesses who testify against them, said Richard Kling, a clinical professor at Chicago-Kent College of Law.

    If Peterson is ever charged in Stacy’s disappearance, it’s likely Martineck’s sworn testimony in the hearsay hearing could be used in court because defense lawyers had a chance to question him, experts added.

    “It’s a complicated question, but it’s possible,” Peterson attorney Steve Greenberg said. “There would be a lot of hoops to jump through in order to do it, but I could see ways in which it would be allowed.”


  2. To the best of my recollection, Martinek only testified at the hearsay hearings about the appearance of the container as it was described to him by Tom Morphey. He was called by the defense as they wanted his testimony to discredit Morphey’s testimony.

    He testified at the Grand Jury as well, and did a couple of interviews about what Morphey had told him before Morphey finally went public.

  3. There will be a visitation for Walter Martinek tomorrow:

    3:00-9:00 pm
    Modell Funeral Home
    7710 S. Cass Avenue, Darien.
    A service of remembrance will take place at Modell at 6:00pm the same evening.

    Modell Funeral Home’s website: modelldarien.com

  4. Walter, if you run into anyone on the otherside handing out small miracles, please send one to those working on Stacy’s case. God bless!

  5. Ah yes, the Brodsky & Peterson slanderous attacks on any individual who dared to speak up on Stacy’s disappearance. We remember them well.
    Funny how the tables turned and Brodsky became the obect of attacks when things didn’t quite go as Drew intended. Pay back is a bitch, JB.

  6. Viewing those film clips from the first few weeks of Stacy’s disappearance brings back memories. Watching Drew outside of his house with a camera looks twice as crazy today, as it was then. What was he thinking? And he was calling Tom unstable?

  7. I know! What Peterson/Brodsky did in an attempt to make a celebrity of Drew and to tarnish the reputations of witnesses in the months before his arrest was not only hurtful – it was downright bizarre! The Lifetime movie doesn’t brush the surface of the scheming and treachery.

  8. If you were wondering what happened with the wrongful death case:

    04/22/2014 DV – Status
    Plaintiff not present. Defendant Carroll present by Attorney Edmund
    Boland. Cause comes on for status on pendiing criminal appeal.
    Matter continued for further status on same.

    Next status hearing scheduled for 01/08/2015

  9. May 7th has rolled around again
    The day Drew was arrested.
    Drew was preparing for a Vegas trip. Joel was in New York and unavailable to help out his infamous client that day.
    And Justice Cafe posted the news first!

  10. I remember the day well! Justice served for Kathleen and now we need justice for Stacy.

    I believe Yelton Cales has completed his 3-year sentence today and was released from prison to rejoin his family.

  11. I know some of you were wondering about Cassandra’s visit with the Long Island Medium last year. It sounds as if she was underwhelmed.

    You all know my opinion of “psychics” and “mediums” so I’ll refrain from commenting and just add this snippet and a link:

    “…[Caputo’s] staff contacted me and kept harassing me [for a reading],” Cales says in the messages. “Constant emails for months.”

    But after giving in and flying to New York for the session with Caputo, 47, Illinois native Cales says she was underwhelmed by the self-proclaimed medium’s inability to connect with Stacy.

    “She gave me nothing,” Cales tells Tebo in the messages. “She really sucked and wasn’t hitting on nothing.”

    Though Caputo failed to convince Cales that she had made a connection, she allegedly told the mourning sister to stop searching for Stacy’s body.

    “[Caputo] said Stacy didn’t want me searching for her, to put it to rest,” Cales says. “It was a hard day for me.”

    “I think she was a fake, phony. And lied to me.”


  12. Families of Lisa Stebic, Stacy Peterson press on, and authorities say they haven’t given up

    BY JON SEIDEL Sun-Times Media July 25, 2014 11:34PM

    This year, Stacy Peterson’s sister said she will file paperwork to declare her sibling legally dead…

    …Cadaver dogs still hunt for Stacy Peterson.

    Her sister, Cassandra Cales, leads them. She never stopped looking. She conducted one search for Stacy’s body this month, and she’s planning another soon.

    Cales said she has given authorities time to investigate her sister’s disappearance, but now she doesn’t know where the case stands. So by the end of the year, she said she’ll set out to declare Stacy Peterson legally dead.

    “That way it’s known that she didn’t run off,” Cales said….

    …Cales wants justice for Stacy, and that includes a trial. Meanwhile, she’s been told to let authorities dig if something catches the cadaver dogs’ attention.

    A state police spokeswoman said they follow every lead. But Cales said they’ve been slow to respond.

    “I don’t follow that rule any more,” Cales said. “If they want the evidence, they can be out there looking. I want my sister. You figure out your case. I want to bring her home.”

    ‘We absolutely haven’t given up’…

    …After Drew Peterson’s conviction in 2012, Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow promised to “aggressively review” Stacy Peterson’s disappearance and put the Lisa Stebic case “on the front burner.”

    “It’s a promise that’s being kept,” said Chuck Pelkie, a spokesman for Glasgow’s office.

    Both cases are high priorities involving top prosecutors in Glasgow’s office, Pelkie said. They’re exploring new theories, taking advantage of improved technology and considering whether new legislation could open doors.

    “These are not cases that are gathering mothballs right now,” Pelkie said.

    And while he said prosecutors cannot have someone declared legally dead, such a declaration could “open access to records at least in one of those cases.” He wouldn’t say which case….


  13. Cassandra Cales:

    Want to kick off some ground searches next week before the big Chicago Chill….. If anyone interested in walking some grounds let me know I’ll be sure to give time and place if interested!!!

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