Tuesday: Illinois Supreme Court to hear arguments in Drew Peterson’s appeal of murder conviction

Drew Peterson arrested

Oral arguments in Drew Peterson’s appeal of his 2012 conviction for the murder of Kathleen Savio are scheduled to be heard tomorrow, November 15, at 9:30 in Springfield.

I expect Steve Greenberg (and possibly law professor Harold Krent) will be arguing for Peterson, while assistant attorneys general Michael Glick and Leah Bendik will most likely be arguing for the state.

If you’ve been following this case since it was first appealed, a lot of it is going to be familiar ground; with hearsay, conflict of interest, ineffective counsel, and attorney-client privileges being some of the points of contention.

If you want to get up to speed on the appeal in advance of tomorrow’s proceedings, then fire up those reading glasses, pop a Tylenol and power through the legal briefs filed by both the appellant and appellee teams:

BTW, Stacy Peterson has now been missing for nine years. Her sister, Cassandra Cales, recently went to Facebook to state that if Stacy’s remains are found she will sue for them. She says she is still denied access to her niece and nephew who are in the custody of their half-brother, Stephen Peterson. Peterson was fired from his position as a law enforcement officer in Oak Park, after it was determined that he accepted guns and money from his father during the investigation of Stacy’s disappearance in 2007.

Drew Peterson sentenced to 40 years for arranging hit on prosecutor

UPDATE 2:36: Drew Peterson was sentenced to 40 years.

Per the Chicago Sun-Times:

In a 20-minute address to the judge, Peterson continued his complaints against his attorney. Peterson contended he never truly intended to carry out a plot to kill Glasgow but rather was setting up a scam so his fellow inmate could rat out Peterson and get a reduced sentence. Peterson contended that his attorney failed to call up to 16 fellow inmates at trial who could have testified about the scam.

Peterson also said during his statement to the court that he has been suicidal while behind bars.

On Friday, closing his remarks, Peterson looked over toward Glasgow in the courtroom and said, “I never did try to have you killed. You can think what you want.”

Outside the courtroom, Glasgow said he was not persuaded by the words of a man he called “a patronizing con man.”
“He’s deluded,” Glasgow said.

According to the Chicago Tribune:

On Friday, Peterson said he knew he was being recorded the whole time and his words were all part of a scam to help Smith bring the evidence to authorities to get Smith a reduced sentence.

Clad in a ruffled white button-down shirt, black pants and white Nike basketball shoes, Peterson claimed several other inmates were aware of the plan as well. Peterson said at the time of the recordings, over several weeks during November 2014, he was suicidal and didn’t believe he would live to see the scam come to fruition.

Also,

Peterson showed no reaction as Brown handed down the sentence. As he left the courtroom, Peterson said something quietly to Cassandra Cales, the sister of Peterson’s missing fourth wife, Stacy.

Cales, who was seated in the gallery, responded to Peterson: “You killed Stacy.”

Reporter Andy Grimm heard the comment a little differently:

“Give up my sister then kill yourself.”

Judge Brown denied a motion for Peterson to get a new attorney, and also denied a motion for a new trial.

State’s Attorney Glasgow Statement on Drew Peterson Sentence

Drew Peterson was convicted in Randolph County earlier this year of the solicitation for hire of my murder. The sentence handed down today by Judge Richard Brown sends a clear message that convicted criminals will be punished severely if they attempt to take revenge on the prosecutors who have placed them behind bars for their crimes.

While I was the target in this case, it is important to note that this crime is not about me. It is about every State’s Attorney and every Assistant State’s Attorney who takes on the important role of prosecuting criminals and protecting our citizens. This was not merely a threat to one prosecutor. It was an attack on our entire criminal justice system by a notorious murderer who always felt he could act outside and above the law. Prosecutors across our state must have assurances that they are safe once these criminal enterprises are uncovered.

Once again I extend my heartfelt thanks to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan for accepting this case for prosecution and to Assistant Attorneys General Steve Nate and Bill Elward who worked alongside Randolph County State’s Attorney Jeremy Walker to secure a guilty verdict and significant sentence. The Illinois Department of Corrections was critical to the execution of the overhears, and the FBI provided the cutting-edge technology that made these recordings possible. Thank you all for protecting the integrity of our criminal justice system.

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At 1:00 today Drew Peterson will be in court to be sentenced for his solicitation of murder conviction.

His intended target, State’s Attorney James Glasgow, will make a victim’s impact statement and Peterson may also speak.

Peterson is already serving a 38 year sentence for the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, which would have kept him behind bars until the age of 92.

The new sentence could add at least 35 years to his earlier sentence which he has been serving at Menard Correctional Facility in Chester, Illinois.

Peterson recently wrote a letter to Judge Richard Brown, complaining about this representation by his court-appointed defender, Lucas Liefer.

Last week a motion for leave to withdraw was filed for Peterson’s case so it remains to see who will be sitting next to Peterson in court today.

I will update this post later today with news as I hear it. Randolph county does not allow cameras, lap tops or phones in the courtroom and today there is no overflow room available to reporters, so live tweets will not be available. Please check the comment thread for current updates.

In the meantime, Drew can look forward to a continued lifetime of writing letters to women from behind bars, offering signed photos of himself (but not of his kids or wives) and begging for bikini pics of them and their (female) friends.

Drew Peterson letter and photo

Drew Peterson murder-for-hire trial: Will these jailbirds sing?

Drew Peterson has been charged with attempting to arrange the murder of James Glasgow

Drew Peterson has been charged with attempting to arrange the murder of James Glasgow

Drew Peterson’s latest murder trial is slated to begin in less than a month, and the clock is ticking down on deciding who will testify at trial and what kind of evidence will be allowed.

On April 22, Peterson and attorneys for both sides were back in court to argue three motions.

The first motion seeks to limit the impeachment of a former cellmate of Drew Peterson’s, referred to as “Individual A” in court documents, and earlier identified as a man named Antonio Smith, who is rumored to have been released from prison and now living under an assumed identity.

Assistant Attorney General Bill Elward asked to have Smith’s testimony barred, as well as that of four other inmates, Albert Chavez, Jesus Padilla, Glenn Barrett and Shelly McGree, because Peterson’s attorney, Lucas Liefer, had yet to provide the prosecution with copies of the conversation between Peterson and the other men. “We’re trying this case in the dark because we don’t know what Individual A is going to testify at trial” he stated.

albert-chavez

Elward asked where the reports and summaries of these conversations are and Liefer countered that he had a ton of discovery dumped on him at the beginning of April and was overwhelmed, complaining that he had yet to be paid for his representation of Peterson.

shelly-mcgree

Brown gave Liefer until April 26, to come up with summaries of the conversations, but Elward stated that the prosecution wants not only that but also what these witnesses told investigators.

glenn-barrett

Two of the men are still incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center which houses Peterson, while the other two are now housed at Lawrence Correctional Center.

jesus-padilla

The second motion was in regards to the recordings of conversations between Peterson and other inmates in which he allegedly tried to solicit the murder of Illinois State’s attorney James Glasgow.

Liefer argued that some portions of the recordings are inaudible which makes them untrustworthy on the whole, while Elward pointed out that Liefer has had the recordings for over a year and that 96% of the recordings are fine.

Brown agreed to take a look at the transcripts and then decide.

S.A. James Glasgow does not want to appear as witness at Drew Peterson hearing

S.A. James Glasgow

The last motion involved a clarification on an earlier decision regarding allowing James Glasgow to be used as a witness during the prosecution’s opening statements of the trial.

Elward argued that Glasgow will provide background to the jury on the history between Drew Peterson and himself. “He talks about Savio, he talks about Stacy, he talks about his son losing his job, which he blames Glasgow for” Elward said.

Brown agreed to allow the State’s Attorney to speak, but instructed the prosecution to provide Peterson’s defense with a summary of what he intends to say.

A final pre-trial conference is set for May 13.

Sources:

Randolph County Herald Tribune
Illinois Department of Corrections
Judici

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Murder-for-hire motions update: physical evidence, clerical errors and conflict of interest

First off, an episode of “Murder Made Me Famous” addresing the Drew Peterson cases premieres on Reelz this Saturday. You’ll see lots of familiar faces and even Cassandra Cales took part in this one. Check your local listings for times and channel.

Meanwhile, preparation for Peterson’s murder-for hire November trial is underway and deep in the motions phase.

On August 21, an order granting the State’s motion for buccal swab and fingerprints was filed. I’m not sure whose mouth and fingerprints are involved, but Judge Richard A. Brown will admit this physical evidence to trial, which is kind of exciting seeing as there was so much made about the lack of physical evidence at Drew Peterson’s last trial.

On Tuesday, the Peterson defense and Illinois State’s attorneys argued a number of motions that were filed last month. The courtroom was closed for about an hour while the states motion to admit prior bad acts was argued. Court was then opened while attorneys argued a defense motion to supress wire tap evidence.

Peterson’s motion argues that the wire tap evidence against him has a number of problems that should keep it from being heard at trial. For one thing, they say that the consent to record form was not filled out or signed properly. The form authorizes eavesdropping on conversations between Peterson and a man named Stephen Nardi, who has nothing to do with the case (the actual informant is alleged to be named Antonio Smith, a former convict now living under an assumed name in a different state). This is most likely a clerical error – but is it bad enough to keep out the wire taps?

The motion also argues that the investigation into the conspiracy charges was initiated by Jame Glasgow, which was a conflict of interest seeing as he was the intended victim of the crime, and further, that Will County Judge, Richard Schoenstedt, interviewed Smith before the consent was given for a wire tap, again creating a conflict of interest.

The Randolph County Herald Tribune reports that:

Illinois Senior Assistant Attorney General Bill Elward said during the hearing that there are “extensive mentions” of Glasgow in the recordings that contain “animosity” regarding why Peterson hates Glasgow and wants to have him killed.

“The defendant makes numerous statements that he wants Jim Glasgow killed,” (Assistant Attorney General Steve) Nate told Brown. “Those are his words. There’s no going around those words.”

The defense also argued that there was no written affidavit provided before the wire tap took place. “Informant A” alleges that he has a letter from Drew Peterson stating that he wants James Glasgow to be killed, but he is not able to provide it.

The state argued to admit evidence about Peterson’s prior attempt to solicit the murder of Kathleen Savio.  Jeffrey Pachter testified at Peterson’s trial for the murder of Savio that in 2003 Drew had asked him to find someone who could kill his wife for $25,000.

“That may have happened in Will County, but they haven’t proven in this county that Drew Peterson hired someone to kill his third wife,” Peterson’s attorney, Lucas Liefer, said.

Brown asked both counsels to submit a “checklist” of issues, stating that he had made some notes during the nearly two-and-a-half hour hearing on what he has to rule on.

“I just want to make sure I cover each one of these trial issues,” he said. “I’ll read all of this and think about it and give a written order. If I miss something, let me know.”

Here’s a rundown of case updates for the month of August:

08/18/2015 Subpoena Duces Tecum issued. People’s Response to the Defendant’s Supplemental Motion for Discovery on file

08/18/2015 Motions argued.

08/21/2015 Order Granting State’s Motion for Buccal Swab and Fingerprints on file.

08/24/2015 Motion to Suppress on file. Motion to Suppress Evidence on file. Petition for Expert Fees on file. Notice of Hearing on file. (Hearing on petition for expert fees 9-29-15, 11am) Proof of Service on file,

08/24/2015 Order Granting Defense Request to File Exhibits Under Seal on file. Exhibits filed under seal. (Filed in locked exhibit cabinet 1A)

08/28/2015 Reply to Defendant’s Motion to Suppress Evidence on file.

08/31/2015 Reply to People’s Motion in Limine to Admit Evidence of Other Crimes on file. Reply to People’s Motion to Admit Relevant Evidence of Defendant’s Conduct and Other Acts Evidence on file.

09/01/2015 Order on file. (Rulings on motion for discovery filed 7-23-15)

09/02/2015 Sealed motion to admit relevant evidence was opened and copied for Judge Brown. Sealed exhibits were opened and exhibits d & e were copied for Judge Brown.

I sure would love to have access to exhibit cabinet 1A.

Drew Peterson hearing today: No reduced sentence, Brodsky to face the music with ARDC

This morning Drew Peterson was taken on a six-hour drive to attend a hearing before Judge Edward Burmila.

The judge denied a motion to reduce Peterson’s 38-year prison sentence to 20 years. He still must serve out the remaining 34 years of the sentence (subtracting the four years he spent in detainment before trial).

Judge Burmila also denied a motion that would keep Peterson’s former attorney, Joel Brodsky, from talking publicly about the case and allegedly violating attorney-client privilege. However he did indicate that he felt Brodsky had decided poorly when making the media rounds after Peterson’s sentencing and asked the clerk to send a transcript of Tuesday’s hearing and the motion that prompted it to the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission. Judge Burmila told the court:

I wish I could think of a word beyond, ‘shocked,’ that I could apply to Mr. Brodsky’s appearance on television.

He was referring to this appearance that Joel Brodsky made on WGN news the morning of February 22 in which he explained his decision to put a controversial witness on the stand and defended his approach to publicity.

According to Joel Brodsky, the Illinois rules of professional conduct allow him to defend himself against allegations of misconduct, and that is what he was doing in that interview and others.

Read more at the Herald-News

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“I did not kill Kathleen!” Read Drew Peterson’s full courtroom speech

Drew was transferred to the Pontiac Correctional center after a short visit to Stateville.
drews-mug-pontiac

The court has released the transcript of the statement he made shortly before his 38-year sentence was handed down.

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Post Drew Peterson Sentencing: Joel Brodsky turns on Peterson

Not 24 hours after Drew Peterson was sentenced to 38 years in prison for the killing of Kathleen Savio, Joel Brodsky was taking to the air waves to try to put some distance between himself and his one time partner-in-publicity.

On a local news show Brodsky claimed that he had never seen Peterson act or sound the way he did in court yesterday when he blurted out, “I did not kill Kathleen”, and then launched into a long self-pitying rant in his own defense.

“Maybe he’s right” Brodsky said about his one-time foe, States Attorney Jim Glasgow, who said that the outburst showed us “the real Drew Peterson”.

Brodsky also took to Facebook in an attempt to exonerate himself from claims that he had made a horrific blunder during Peterson’s trial by calling attorney Harry Smith to the witness stand. Even Judge Stephen Burmila had warned the defense that calling this witness could be risky to Peterson’s defense as he was liable to give testimony that put Drew Peterson at the scene of Kathleen’s death.

The decision to call Harry Smith was called out in Peterson’s motion for a new trial which was denied yesterday, shortly before his sentencing. Although Brodsky was took the stand to testify about his financial arrangements with Peterson, he was never questioned about the Harry Smith matter.

Brodsky wrote:

Joel A. Brodsky, Attorney at Law
2 hours ago

Here is the true story on why Harry Smith was called to testify:

Drew Peterson was convinced that we needed to impeach Stacy’s hearsay. He said that we either had to do it in by using Stacy’s alibi statement or by calling Harry Smith to testify that Stacy was trying to extort him. Drew said that if we didn’t do one or the other than he would insist on taking the stand himself. It was Drew’s right to take the stand if he wanted to, it was his decision, and we couldn’t stop him if he wanted to. We all knew that if Drew took the stand it would have been a disaster, 100% guaranteeing a conviction. Therefore if we were to have any chance of winning we had to either get Stacy’s alibi in, or call Smith, risky as calling Smith may be.

First Attorney Steve Greenberg was supposed get the alibi into evidence through one of the state police officers he was designated to call, Sgt. Collins. However, he failed to do it, and that left no choice but to call Harry Smith. I knew that Smith would be a difficult and risky witness , so instead of putting him off on some other lawyer on the team I felt that as lead lawyer I would be the one who called Smith because it was dangerous, and since I was lead it fell on me to take the risk (being a leader isn’t just a title, it means you take responsibility). Therefore, I was the attorney who called Harry Smith.

All of the attorneys on the team agreed that Harry Smith had to be called. I have both documentary and independent eye witness evidence that Steve Greenberg specifically agreed that Harry Smith should be called to testify.

I didn’t disclose this earlier because Drew’s post-trial motions were pending, and as much as I knew the argument being made was wrong, Drew was still my former client, and I didn’t want to take any action that would prejudice his chances for a new trial. Now that the motion for new trial is denied, I can let the truth about this subject be known.

What should make you mad is that Attorney Steve Greenberg knew all this and was still attempted to put the entire loss on me even though he agreed with the decision to call Harry Smith, made calling Harry Smith a certainty by failing to get the Stacy alibi into evidence, and understood that if we didn’t call him that Drew would take the stand. Greenberg’s intentional and knowing lies about me to the public and the court are reprehensible and he will be held to account for them.

Joel Brodsky has also been stating on camera that Peterson’s current defense team is abandoning his case to the State Appellate Defenders – something that Steve Greenberg denies although attorney Joe Lopez stated this morning on that same news show that he will not be a part of the appellate team (go to 03:35):

Joel Brodsky has filed a suit claiming defamation against Steve Greenberg, the Tribune company and AOL Patch.

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