Video: Oral arguments in appeal of Drew Peterson Murder conviction

Today attorneys for Drew Peterson and the State of Illinois presented their oral arguments to the Supreme Court of the state.

Law professor Harold Krent and long-time Peterson attorney Steve Greenberg argued for Peterson, while assistant attorney general Leah Bendik argued for the state.

Attorneys are hoping for an answer from the court by Spring. Here are the arguments in their entirety.

Read: Drew Peterson’s petition to get his pension returned

On August 2, Drew Peterson’s attorney, Steve Greenberg, filed a petition for an administrative review of the revocation of his police pension which was revoked in June, after his conviction for the solicitation of the murder of States Attorney James Glasgow.

The petition claims that Peterson’s annual $79k was unlawfully revoked because his 2012 murder conviction was not related to and did not arise out of his “service as a police officer”.

In November 2007, after the disappearance of Peterson’s fourth wife Stacy Peterson, the Bolingbrook Chief of Police wanted to fire him but Mayor Claar overruled the decision and let Peterson retire with full pension, which has been being used to raise Stacy Peterson’s two children, Anthony and Lacy.

Recently released covert tapes of Peterson’s conversations with a prison snitch revealed Peterson stating that Bolingbrook Mayor, Roger Claar, “Saved my pension.”

saved-pension

The matter of Peterson’s pension has been under review by the Bolingbrook Police Police Pension Fund board since his 2012 conviction for the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. I find it interesting that only after the tapes and transcripts were made public was Peterson’s pension finally revoked.

Exhibit “A” to the petition is the board’s decision and order to strip Peterson of his pension and it outlines the legal reasons and arguments for doing so.

Drew Peterson’s pension revoked

And I’m sure it has nothing to do with the transcripts of the covert prison recordings from 2014 being released which included this exchange:

saved-pension

Via WJOL:

the Bolingbrook Police Pension board has revoked Drew Peterson’s ($79,000-per-year) pension.

The termination is effective immediately.

All five members voted to revoke the former convicted Bolingbrook police officer’s pension.

Peterson was found guilty this week of trying to hire someone to kill Will County State’s Attorney Jim Glasgow.

The Pension Board met Wednesday night. Drew’s son and daughter were at the meeting along with attorneys.

Peterson is serving 38 years for killing his third wife.

He will be sentenced in July and faces up to 60 years for the murder for hire conviction.

By “Drew’s son and daughter” I assume they are referring to Stacy’s children, Lacy and Anthony, and that Stephen brought them to the proceedings in an attempt to elicit sympathy as he has been using his father’s pension money to support the two of them.

Via The Chicago Sun-Times

Peterson was on-duty and in uniform when he called in a welfare check request to Bolingbrook Police in 2004, and his fellow officers entered Savio’s home and found her body in a bathtub, said Atwell, who reviewed transcripts of Peterson’s month-long 2012 trial.

Peterson’s decades of experience as a police officer helped him cover up the murder, and his ties to the department were crucial to his nearly getting away with the crime…

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.
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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…
steve-peterson-hawks

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.

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

Attorney hired by Bolingbrook recommends going after Drew Peterson’s pension

Drew Peterson Mugshot as of January 2014
Today the Chicago Tribune reported that after a 9-month review, attorney Charles Atwell sent a letter to the Bolingbrook Police Pension Fund stating his opinion that there is enough evidence to challenge Drew Peterson’s $79k yearly pension.

Atwell, a public pension expert, was hired in March of last year to study the transcripts of Peterson’s trial for the murder of ex-wife, Kathleen Savio, and to determine if the convicted man had used the knowledge and skills gained as a police officer in the killing.

Under Illinois law, if challenged Drew Peterson would have the right to a public hearing which would be somewhat like a trial, in that the hearing would be public, board members would testify, and Peterson could call witnesses in his defense. He would also have the right to attend the hearing.

While serving his 38-year sentence for murder at the Menard Correctional Center, Peterson’s pension checks have been given over to his adult son, Stephen, who allegedly has been using the funds to raise Lacy and Anthony Peterson, the young children of Stacy (Cales) Peterson, who went missing in the Fall of 2007 and is presumed dead (at the hands of her husband).

Stephen Peterson lost his job as a police officer for the Village of Oak Brook in 2011 when it was determined that he used poor judgement and obstructed an investigation when he agreed to receive money and guns from his father in the days after Stacy Peterson went missing.

Bolingbrook Police Pension Board attorney Richard Reimer says, “The pension board will schedule a special meeting to decide whether or not to pursue that hearing. Reimer expects that to occur in “the next couple of weeks.” He also indicated that if the hearing does occur, Peterson will most likely attend via video-conference, rather than being transported to Bolingbrook.

Peterson’s attorney, Steve Greenberg, has pooh-poohed the idea of his client losing his pension, stating, “There is absolutely no basis in law or fact. 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.

Kathleen Savio’s sister told the Tribune, “As a police officer, you’re supposed to serve and protect. He didn’t protect. He used his law-enforcement skills and knowledge to go out and murder my sister. If you do the crime, you should pay the full price. There shouldn’t be any exceptions.

Meanwhile Naperville pastor, Neil Schori, who testified at Peterson’s murder trial to incriminating statements told to him by Stacy Peterson, is afraid that Stacy’s children would suffer if their father was stripped of his pension. He tweeted:

In other news, Joel Brodsky appears to have abandoned his defamation lawsuit against former co-counsel, Steve Grenberg, Stacy St. Clair (Chicago Tribune), and Joe Hosey (AOL Patch). Back in September Greenberg tweeted that Brodsky had to withdraw the complaint because of errors in the filing. Joel Brodsky says that he has dropped the suit for now because of the ill health of the attorney representing him. The complaint was filed by Walter Maksym, who was reprimanded in 2011 for filing a bizarre and nonsensical brief.