UPDATE 1/27/16: Despite having denied a motion to delay the beginning of the trial just last week, after a conference call between Judge Brown and attorneys Walker and Liefer, the judge agreed to continue Drew Peterson’s upcoming murder-for-hire trial in order to give both sides more time to prepare. The trial was originally set to begin the end of next month. The new trial date is May 6.
Two months after his appeal was denied by the Illinois appellate court, Drew Peterson’s attorneys have taken his case to the state Supreme Court in hopes of overturning his 2012 conviction for the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.
Case No. 120331
People v. Peterson, Defense leave to appeal granted 3/30/16 from 2015 IL App (3d) 130157
Whether the Appellate Court erred by finding that a decision in a prior appeal precluded it from considering whether evidence was properly admitted under the forfeiture by wrongdoing doctrine, where the prior appeal concerned only a different aspect of the doctrine – the possible application of a new statute. (§2-6(a))
Defense counsel: Stephen Greenberg, Chicago
Penned by attorneys Steve Greenberg and Harold Krent, the petition to appeal covers familiar ground, alleging that the admission of hearsay and “former bad acts” evidence to his the trial should not have taken place and resulted in the erroneous conviction of Drew Peterson.
The Illinois Appellate Court is also called out for having not seriously considered all of the arguments raised in the earlier appeal.
The appeal also, once again points the finger at Peterson’s former counsel and friend, Joel Brodsky, who they insist created a conflict of interest when he wrote a contract with Peterson that gave him a percentage of any money earned by media appearances. They also maintain that he erred when calling lawyer Harry Smith to the stand to testify that Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy, had asked him if she could get more money from a divorce arrangement if she threatened to tell how he had killed Kathleen Savio.
Interestingly, last week, a former client of Steve Greenberg’s, Albert Domagala, had his sentence overturned and was granted a new trial after a judge agreed that he had been granted ineffective assistance by Greenberg at his 2005 murder trial.
Joel Brodsky, naturally, took to Facebook and called it a case of “the pot calling the kettle black”.
In Peterson’s case, the filing does not ensure that the Supreme Court will hear the new appeal. The Chicago Tribune points out that the higher court “typically hears a small percentage of such petitions. For example, justices agreed to hear arguments in less than 5 percent of the nearly 1,500 petitions filed in fiscal 2014.”
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Randolph County Circuit Court Judge Richard A. Brown denied Peterson’s request to delay his trial in the solicitation of murder case.
Peterson’s attorney, Lucas Liefer told the judge that the defense and prosecution were still exchanging discovery in the case, “I don’t think we need a lot of time, but I don’t think it is realistic to say we will be ready to go to trial in a month,” he said.
Judge Brown replied that the calendar for March was already full, telling Leifer, “if you have to move cases aside to get ready for this, then do so.”
At least forty-six witnesses have been subpoenaed in the case, including experts in finger-print and audio recording evidence.
Jury selection for the trial will take place on February 26 and his trial will begin on February 29th in Chester, Illinois where he is incarcerated.
Drew’s prison correspondence continues to be of interest. Joel Brodsky took to Twitter to share his taunting of his former client via the postal service.
A man (with his own notorious past) who claims to be distantly related to Staacy Peterson, also wrote to Peterson in prison, and claims to have received an acerbic reply.
Stacy’s sister, Cassandra Cales, continues to search for her sister and to consult those claiming to be psychics for help in locating Stacy Peterson’s remains.
Most recently Stacy’s family has turned to a woman named Sharon Pugh, who calls herself the “Southern Style Medium”. Hugh was provided with items belonging to to Drew and Stacy Peterson, and by holding the items she says that Stacy joined them and told her that she had been wearing a heart shaped necklace when she died, which was removed before the disposal of her body. She hopes to have more sessions with the family.