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.

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.

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 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.

Four years since Drew Peterson’s arrest for murder. What has changed?

another new mugLast Tuesday marked four years since Drew Peterson was arrested and charged with the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. So, what has transpired since then?

Trial Status

Today: Jury selection for Drew Peterson’s trial began on July 23, 2012. Opening statements began on July 31st and the first witness was also called that day. Testimony continued through August 30. Closing arguments were heard on September 4 and jury deliberations began. On September 6, after two days and 14 hours of deliberations, the jury found Drew Peterson guilty in the first degree of murdering Kathleen Savio. On February 21st Drew Peterson was sentenced to 38 years in prison, minus the four years he spent in jail awaiting trial. Peterson was moved from the Will County Adult Detention Center, where he had been living since his arrest, to Stateville Prison and then was transferred shortly thereafter to Pontiac Prison and then Menard Correctional Facility. The City of Bolingbrook is reviewing the status of Peterson’s $79,000/year pension to see if it can be revoked.

Legal Representation

Today: Immediately after Peterson’s murder conviction, his defense team began to publicly point fingers and blame each other for losing the case. Paving the way for an appeal based on ineffective assistance of counsel, Joel Brodsky first got in Drew’s ear and was able to get Steven Greenberg fired from the defense team. But by October, Greenberg had spoken to Drew and was back on the team. Soon after, a team of three attorneys who had not represented Peterson in the murder trial filed a motion of ineffective assistance against Joel Brodsky. After much public and private name calling, letter writing, and motion filingJoel Brodsky withdrew from Peterson’s defense. He then filed a defamation suit against Steve Greenberg, two media outlets and specific reporters. Attorney David Peilet of Clarendon Hills and John Heiderscheidt joined the defense team. At a post-sentencing hearing, Judge Edward Burmila said that he was “shocked” at comments Brodsky had made on TV regarding his representation of Drew Peterson and had a transcript of the hearing sent to the ARDC. In March of 2013, the rest of Peterson’s defense team announced that they were stepping aside and turning over the appellate phase of Peterson’s defense to the state public defender’s office.

One year ago: In September, Attorney Walter Maksym was asked to “step aside” from the legal team after he was criticized by the federal appeals court for filing “unintelligible” court papers that were “riddled with errors”. As the case neared trial, it was announced that Atty Joe Lopez would be presenting closing arguments.

Two years ago: After months of rumors of arguing and even a physical incident, Reem Odeh left the partnership and withdrew from the Peterson defense team in September 2010. In February of 2011, Lisa Lopez, wife of Joe Lopez, assisted with the oral arguments regarding the hearsay decision before the Appellate court, which were presented by Steven Greenberg.

Three years ago: Andrew Abood and George Lenard withdrew from the case in April of 2010, citing irreconcilable differences with Joel Brodsky. John Paul Carroll had a complaint filed against him in September and appears to have left the case. Attorneys from Brodsky & Odeh, Steven A. Greenberg and Associates, Law Offices of Meczyk Goldberg, Joseph R. Lopez, P.C., and Walter P. Maksym Jr. then made up the “Seven Samurai” representing Peterson in court.

Four years ago: Brodsky & Odeh, Abood Law, and John Paul Carroll represented Drew Peterson. George D. Lenard joined the case in December of 2009.

Media Exposure

Today: Drew Peterson was able to address the court and the public with a statement at his sentencing hearing. Rather than expressing remorse, he shouted out “I did not kill Kathleen” and then issued a long self-pitying rant.

One year ago: The Sun-Times continued to shill for Peterson. On April 17 they featured a sympathetic story and cover photo of Drew Peterson after the state won their appeal to get more evidence admitted to his trial for murder.

Two years ago: Despite the gag order prohibiting interviews, Peterson spent 2011 writing letters and statements that were provided to the media, in particular to gossip columnist for the Chicago Sun Times, Michael Sneed.

Three years ago: Drew was prohibited from giving interviews to the press.

Four years ago: Drew’s last interview was given over the phone to a WLS radio show host, Eric Mancow Muller, from jail on May 27, 2009. He also gave one other in-jail phone interview on May 15, to Matt Lauer of the Today show.

Judges

Today: Judge Burmila presided over Peterson’s trial and sentencing.

One year ago: On May 4, 2012, Judge Edward Burmilla was assigned to the case.

Two years ago: Judge Stephen White retired in October 2010.

Three years ago: Judge Stephen White presided over the case.

Four years ago: Judge Richard Schoenstedt was first assigned to the case; then Judge Carla Alessio-Policandriotes and finally Judge Stephen White. Will County Chief Judge Gerald Kinney made the new appointments. Judge Daniel J. Rozak set Peterson’s bond.

Hearsay Evidence

Today: The defense continued to file motions to bar as  much of the hearsay evidence as possible leading up to Peterson’s trial. They were also able to challenge each piece of hearsay evidence as it was introduced at trial and were able to keep out more in that way. At trial Kathleen Savio’s sisters and some friends were allowed to testify to statements she had made to them about fearing Drew Peterson would kill her. Pastor Neil Schori was only allowed to testify to what Stacy had told him alone. The discussions he had with Drew and Stacy in their home were deemed inadmissible. Scott Rossetto’s testimony was also deemed unreliable after the prosecution made some errors with the dates and he didn’t get to take the stand. Although the defense had fought to keep out the testimony of Attorney Harry Smith, whom Stacy Peterson had called with questions about a possible divorce, eventually it was Joel Brodsky who called him to the stand in an attempt to impeach Stacy’s words to Neil Schori. Smith testified that Stacy had asked if she could get more money out of Drew if she threatened to tell “how” he had killed Kathleen Savio. Many believe this to be the evidence that cinched the conviction. A final breakdown of witnesses shows that more than 85% of the evidence presented at Drew Peterson’s trial was physical, forensic and circumstantial. Less than 15% was hearsay. Although media reports were quick to cite “Drew’s Law” as being a factor in the introduction of hearsay to Peterson’s trial, those reports were erroneous as the state had earlier asked the appellate court to reconsider Judge White’s hearsay rulings under the common law rules of forfeiture and they agreed.

One year ago: After the appellate court did not reconsider the barred hearsay statements due to a missed deadline, the State appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court which decided that the appellate court should consider the evidence on its merits. In April the appellate court reversed Judge White’s decision and decided that the hearsay statements were reliable and admissible in court. Peterson’s defense announced that they would not appeal and wanted instead to go to trial.

Two years ago: The judge’s decision regarding the hearsay statements was leaked in July 2010, revealing that possibly fewer than five of the 15 statements being considered were to be allowed. This decision was appealed by the prosecution. During February oral arguments before the appellate justices, States Attorney Jim Glasgow was asked what he now wanted to “hang” his argument on. Glasgow said that he chose “804 (b)” or, in other words the common law doctrine that is part of the Illinois Rules of Evidence (rather than the so-called “Hearsay Law”).

Three years ago: In October 2009, Peterson’s defense lost a motion to declare the act unconstitutional. Hearsay evidence and witnesses were heard during hearings in January 2010.

Four years ago: The Hearsay Statue (Drew;s Law) was passed into legislation November, 2008

Peterson Family

Today: In November 2007, a Federal judge threw out Stephen Peterson’s lawsuit against the Village of Oakbrook and Thomas Sheahan. Peterson then went back to Illinois Circuit court to try to get back his job, but lost that complaint in March of 2013.
Kathleen Savio’s two sons, Thomas and Kristopher are in college. Thomas Peterson testified on his father’s behalf towards the end of his trial.

One year ago: Stephen Peterson was appealing his dismissal and filed a Federal lawsuit in July 2011.

Two years ago: In August 2009, Stephen Peterson was suspended for accepting and hiding weapons for his father, shortly after the disappearance of Stacy Peterson. In February 2010, Peterson was fired from Oak Brook Police Force and appealed his dismissal.  Thomas Peterson wrote a letter and made a filing asking to be removed from the Savio family’s civil suit against Drew Peterson. This has not been granted yet. Tom Peterson was chosen as valedictorian of his graduating class.

Four years ago: Drew’s four youngest children were left in the care of their step-brother, Oak Brook Police Officer, Stephen Peterson.

Savio Family

Today: Sue Savio has continued to make appearances to speak out about her sister and against domestic violence. Anna Savio Doman and Henry Savio are still pursuing a wrongful death suit against Drew Peterson.

Cales Family

Today: Cassandra Cales continues to search for her sister.

Drew’s Love Life

Today: Drew Peterson continues to enjoy correspondence with numerous pen pals.

One year ago: Gossip columnist Michael Sneed reported that Peterson had over 20 pen pals (male and female), at least four of whom contributed to his funds at the commissary so that he could enjoy snacks while he awaited trial.

Two years ago: In August 2010 we heard that Christina Raines was engaged to a new man. In February 2011 we obtained a photo of Chrissy with her fiancé. In April 2011, an old acquaintance of Drew’s, Diana Grandel, released some letters from Drew in which he made sexual comments to her and offered Stacy’s clothing to her.

Three years ago: In January Raines posted a status update on her Facebook page stating, “I met someone who i fell in love with and very happy with. I think i just about gave up on drew with all his lies i dont even really visit him anymore.” and then, “But his kids i love dearly and still visit with them they are good kids”

Four years ago: Christina Raines was at the house that Drew and Stacy Peterson shared at the time or his arrest and was also taken into custody. She removed her belongings from his home shortly afterwards. Raines is on the list to visit Drew in jail.

Stunts

Today: All quiet on the part of Drew Peterson. His legal team seems to have picked up the torch as far as media shenanigans. Restaurateur Jeff Ruby attended Drew Peterson’s trial and was charged with contempt when he reportedly mouthed “Fuck you” at Peterson. Ruby went on to offer a $100,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of Stacy Peterson’s remains.

One year ago: Besides frequent mundane snippets in the gossip columns about Peterson’s life in prison, all has been quiet.

Two years ago: While Drew’s bids for attention were mostly curtailed due to his detention, his lawyer and PR people continued to pepper the news with updates and letters from him detailing everything from his life in jail to his opinions about the legal decisions regarding his children. Kathleen’s oldest son, Tom, was the subject of news stories and wrote his own letters to the press in support of his father.

Three years ago: Soon after Drew’s arrest he attempted to have his motorcycle auctioned off on eBay. He was asking for $50,000 and offered to apply a decal with his signature on the bike. eBay removed the auction for violation of its “murderabilia” rules.

Four years ago: At the time Drew was arrested, he was preparing to fly out to the Bunny Ranch Brothel in Reno, Nevada, to see if he would be a good fit as head of security there.

Stacy Peterson

Today: Areas of Hammel Woods in Shorewood were searched for five days in November 2012, utilizing the FBI and cadaver dogs. Some officials stated that it was a training mission, while others told the press that they were indeed looking for the remains of Stacy Peterson. Nothing was found.

One year ago: Airings of the movie, “Drew Peterson: Untouchable” brought about some new tips and offers of assistance in regards to the search for Stacy Peterson.

Two years ago: In August 2010, based on a tip, searches for Stacy’s remains took place near Peoria. No evidence was found.

Three years ago: Still missing with no sightings or communication from her.

Four years ago: Missing. No communication from her since October 28, 2007. Searches were ongoing.

Steve Greenberg asks Joel Brodsky to retract statements. Brodsky calls the cops. Read the report

Steve Greenberg and Joel Brodsky

Steve Greenberg and Joel Brodsky

On Wednesday, attorney Joel Brodsky called the police and filed a report against former co-counsel Steve Greenberg, claiming that he had been threatened by him.

On Monday, Joel Brodsky had filed his notice to withdraw from Drew Peterson’s defense in a wrongful death suit. The filing also made claims of ineffective assistance against Steve Greenberg and asserted that Greenberg suffered from mental illness, specifically pathological narcissism.

Apparently, Steven Greenberg didn’t take it as a compliment and responded to Brodsky by e-mail that same day. Greenberg told the Chicago Sun-Times:

“In the spirit of the holiday, I thought I would charitably ask him to withdraw slanderous allegations against me and others before moving to have him heavily sanctioned.”

Here is the police report of “IUCR: 2826 – Other Offense – Harassment By Electronic Means”:

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Joel Brodsky’s filing to withdraw from Drew Peterson civil suit is mostly about Steve Greenberg. Read it here

On Monday, after being hit with a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel and withdrawing from Drew Peterson’s murder defense, Joel Brodsky also withdrew from Peterson’s defense in the wrongful death suit filed by the family of Kathleen Savio.

The motion reads rather like a petulant diary entry as it mainly attacks former co-counsel, Steven Greenberg, who joined the Peterson defense in April 2010.

In the filing, Brodsky claims that it was Greenberg, not he, who gave Drew Peterson ineffective assistance, and that Greenberg suffers from “pathological narcissism” and is “fixated and obsessed with Joel Brodsky”. Brodsky accuses Greenberg of leaking sealed documents to Chicago Tribune reporter, Stacy St. Clair, and of carrying on an intimate relationship with In Session reporter, Beth Karas, in exchange for face time with the camera during Drew Peterson’s murder trial.

You can read the motion, in its entirety, below. It’s a doozy.

Steven Greenberg’s 31-page memo

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