Oral arguments presented today in appeal of Drew Peterson’s murder conviction

Drew Peterson attorneys Steve Greenberg and Harold Krent presented arguments today to Will County appellate justices in hopes of overturning Peterson’s 2012 conviction for the murder of Kathleen Savio.

The appeal centered around a number of points – namely the admittance of hearsay statements, the question of counselor-client privilege and allegations of ineffective counsel on the part of Joel Brodsky.

The Chicago Tribune reported that,

A three-member panel of the 3rd District Appellate Court frequently interrupted the attorneys with questions about why the rest of Peterson’s legal team did not intervene if they disagreed with Brodsky’s actions and trial strategy.

They also appeared skeptical of claims that Peterson’s rights were violated when Burmila allowed Savio’s divorce attorney, Harry Smith, to testify that Stacy Peterson had called to ask what would happen if she did not reveal her husband’s role in Savio’s death.

Greenberg and Krent argued that Smith should never have been allowed to testify, because it violated attorney-client privilege.

But Justice Daniel Schmidt appeared skeptical.

“Is the privilege designed to protect the client or the person that killed the client?” Schmidt asked. “My guess is if I’m dead, I’m not going to mind if my attorney testifies about the guy that killed me.”

Also,

Will County Assistant State’s Attorney Marie Czech argued that the media rights agreement had expired before Peterson’s 2012 trial, and said Brodsky had nothing to gain by calling a witness that could sink his client’s case.

“There is absolutely no benefit to Mr. Brodsky for losing this case,” Czech said. “Winning this case brings new clients, brings fame. Losing the case, as we’ve seen with Mr. Brodsky, brings a loss of clients, ignominy.”

She also reminded the panel that Smith was called by the defense, not the prosecution.

After the nearly hourlong argument, Justice Mary K. O’Brien said the court would take the matter under advisement and would later issue a written decision. She did not say when that decision would be released.

Pastor Neil Schori

Pastor Neil Schori

Pastor Neil Schori attended today’s proceedings, commenting afterward about the allegation that his testimony violated Stacy Peterson’s right to privacy he said, “The defense continues to try to make this an issue. That Stacy wanted me to be quiet makes no sense.”

2015: New Year – new Drew Peterson mug shot

peterson-mug-1-19-2015
The Illinois Department of Corrections has updated their mug shot of Drew Peterson for 2015.

Meanwhile, his attorneys have filed an appeal of his murder conviction and we are awaiting a date for the hearing of oral arguments – most likely sometime this Spring.

A couple of nice photos of a young Stacy Peterson (Cales) have been posted by friends to Stacy Peterson’s Facebook recently. This one is from 1998, when Stacy was fourteen.

stacypeterson-1998

This picture shows Stacy at age thirteen with her brother Yelton and sister Cassandra in 1997.

yelton-cass-stacy

All the best to you in the coming year and here’s hoping the conviction sticks and that Stacy Peterson is found and brought back home to her family.

Drew Peterson Appeal update: Prosecution files appellate brief. Arguments to be scheduled after review

Press Release from the State’s Attorney’s office:

State’s Attorney Glasgow files appellate brief in Drew Peterson case

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James W. Glasgow announced today (Thursday, Nov. 6) that his office has filed its appellate brief with the Third District Appellate Court in the matter of People vs. Drew Peterson (09CF1048).

The 60-page appellate brief was filed on Thursday morning in Ottawa.

State’s Attorney Glasgow prosecuted Drew Peterson and secured a First Degree Murder conviction against him in September 2012. Peterson, a former Bolingbrook police officer, killed his third wife, Kathleen Savio, who was found dead inside a bathtub in her home in March of 2004.

Peterson was sentenced to 38 years in prison. Defense attorneys appealed his conviction. They filed their appellate brief in January.

The defense now has two weeks to file a reply brief. Once that is completed, a panel of justices from the Third District Appellate Court will review the case and its sizeable record before scheduling oral arguments.

At this rate, I’m guessing we won’t hear the arguments before 2015. Spring, maybe?

Also, a September Facebook update from Stacy’s sister stating that she still is not allowed to see her sister’s kids.

cass-facebook-kids

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.

Drew Peterson appeal of murder conviction to be filed soon

UPDATE: 1/13/14: Steven Greenberg reports that he has mailed the appeal.
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Drew Peterson’s attorneys have until January 14, 2014 to file an appeal of his conviction for the murder of Kathleen Savio.

Although limited to 50 pages, they have been asking permission to submit something more along the lines of a novella – 175 pages: 50 pages outlining the facts of the case and another 125 pages of arguments. Apparently they feel that the publicity garnered by the case merits a more verbose appeal. Or perhaps the inflated egos of Peterson’s battling counselors require bloated prose. Whatever the case, the third district appellate court has again shot down the request and they will be obliged to stick to the limit.

Peterson’s appeal is set to be filed within the next three weeks but the oral arguments for and against are not expected to be heard until late 2014.

Attorney Steven Greenberg says that the appeal will focus on hearsay evidence which was admitted to trial and on allegations of ineffective counsel. Motions filed after Peterson’s conviction and prior to his sentencing asked for a re-trial on the same grounds but were denied by Judge Edward Burmila.

Sources:
Chicago Tribune
ABC 7

Stephen Peterson loses yet another attempt to get his job back

stephenIf you’ve been following the Drew Peterson case, then you’ll recall that his police officer son, Stephen Peterson, was fired from the Oak Brook police department in 2011 after it was revealed that he had accepted guns from his father in order to avoid their being confiscated during the investigation of the disappearance of Stacy Peterson.

Ever since that decision, Peterson, 34, has been fighting the loss of his position, appealing first to the Police and Fire Commission, then filing a $10 million Federal law suit which was tossed out. In March of last year another suit was rejected by the circuit court.

Now, in a unanimous decision written by Justice Ann Jorgensen, the Illinois Second Appellate District has upheld the decision of the circuit court.

“No one disputes that Stephen was, at least in some respects, cooperative (with the early investigation),” Jorgensen wrote. “He answered questions when asked, disclosed information about the last-minute will, and testified for the State in the grand jury proceedings. However, no amount of cooperation can overcome the poor judgment Stephen demonstrated in accepting the weapons and money from Drew, in failing to disclose the acceptance of those items until asked, and in continuing to insist that he did nothing wrong.

Maybe it’s time to look for some other form of employment.

Meanwhile, we are still awaiting the appeal of Drew Peterson’s 2012 conviction in the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. Back in July, Peterson’s attorneys indicated that an appeal was to be filed within thirty days.

drews-advice

Apparently, Peterson is passing the time by playing life coach and handing out relationship advice to his female pen pals via prison correspondence.

Read more at the Tribune.
Read the Appellate Court’s decision.
Listen to the oral arguments of the appeal (December 2, 20132).

Drew Peterson Update: Gossip, Rumors and Innuendo

It’s been a while since there’s been any big news to report about the Peterson cases but that doesn’t mean nothing has been going on recently.

This summer there have been a few filings in the Savio’s wrongful death suit against Drew. Attorneys will be back in court on September 26 for Judge Power’s decision on the Savio’s motion for a summary judgement.

In August, prosecutors filed a motion requesting that Steve Greenberg step down from Peterson’s appellate team, claiming that the libel suit brought against Greenberg by Peterson’s ex-counsel, Joel Brodsky, created a conflict of interest for Greenberg. At the time of the filing Greenberg called the claim “absurd”.

Yesterday, Greenberg tweeted that Brodsky had withdrawn the libel complaint because he “didn’t comply with the rules (no surprise) and didn’t state a cause of action”. Greenberg went on to tweet that Brodsky has said he is going to re-file but needs to find an attorney to represent him.

brodsky-drew-kissMeanwhile, Joel Brodsky has shared the contents of some of his letters from Drew Peterson with a local Fox affiliate. He claims to have received nine letters from Peterson and made public a few excerpts from letters he received in March and April (Peterson began his prison sentence in February). The excerpts were complaints about the discomfort of prison life, and worries for his safety. This is consistent with the kind of letters Peterson wrote while in jail while awaiting trial, which he sent to the Sun-Times and other media outlets.

While public response to Peterson’s complaints has been overwhelmingly negative, his defense team questions Joel Brodsky’s decision to share any of the correspondence which was labelled as “legal mail” on the envelopes. In a Facebook comment, Steve Greenberg wrote, “Communications r fine. But keep em private. Don’t read them to a reporter” and Brodsky’s former law partner, Reem Odeh, wrote, “Are you serious? It’s all about integrity and the best interest of your client, respect for the law, justice system and integrity of your practice.”

Attorney Reem Odeh

Attorney Reem Odeh

Speaking of Reem Odeh, has Joel Brodsky really taken to Twitter to insinuate that she has ties to Nidal Hasad, the Fort Hood shooter? “Did you know that Hasan comes from the same village in West Bank as Reem Odeh, the former Drew Peterson atty. Distant cousins” he tweeted. “Odeh’s mother went to Hasan’s mothers home on the day of the shootings to express her sympathy and support. I was shocked.”

As for Peterson, it would appear that he has begun to adjust better to prison life since those April letters. More recently, his correspondents have been reporting that Peterson has started to make use of his popularity as a pen-pal to help out his fellow prisoners by sharing lists of inmates who would like pen-pals and to inquire about correspondence courses.

Cassandra Cales

Cassandra Cales

Lastly, rumor has it that Cassandra Cales, sister of missing Stacy Peterson, has just returned from New York, where she consulted a celebrity medium, possibly to be aired as part of a reality show on TLC.

An appeal of Drew Peterson’s conviction is expected to be filed within the next 30 days.