During Drew Peterson’s trial for murder his defense team never seemed to turn down a chance to be heard and seen in the media, but the prosecution was keeping a low profile. Finally, lead prosecutor, James Glasgow, can speak out about the case, the hearsay, the trial, the defense team, and Drew Peterson; and boy does he have his say! You need to listen to this interview he did yesterday on WLS’s Roe and Roeper show.
ROE: I think there’s been a lot of misunderstanding in the last couple of days. You explained it, I think, very well in your press conference yesterday and we’ve had a lot of people calling in with concerns about that so let’s jump into that for a second. The hearsay law is not as simple as “well now anyone can just say anything about anybody and go to court and get a conviction on somebody that they don’t like because they heard some conversation” right?
GLASGOW: Correct. There’s a very–first of all you have to prove by a preponderance of–if I have preponderance of evidence that you willfully diverted the witness, under the law that I had written, that diversion had to be murder, so I mean it was the ultimate diversion and…
ROE: Hold on. Let me back up a little. Let’s take that out of legalese. So what, basically the law that you guys drafted–and there are some other laws around the country that are similar to this–but the law that you drafted specifically said that if you kill somebody to silence them because they were going to testify against you for another crime, that hearsay evidence surrounding that individual who is now dead can be entered into court, but before you do that a judge has to sign off on this. A judge has to sign off, based on the preponderance of evidence, in kind of a mini-trial in advance.
GLASGOW: Yes. And these statements have to be relevant and probative to the issue at hand. They’re not just any statement, Roe. If someone is murdered in a bathroom and it’s made to look like an accident and they happen to have been told by the murderer, “I could kill you and make it look like an accident” that’s pretty relevant and pretty probative.
ROEPER: Jim, what about the criticism, and I agree, as Roe said, it’s been widely misunderstood and sometimes misreported but some of the defense attorneys were saying yesterday that it’s so specific that it was written for one case.
GLASGOW: Those guys don’t tell the truth about anything, now do they? In Giles v California, which was recently decided by the Supreme Court a couple of years ago–and I actually flew out and watched the argument–Antonin Scalia , who is a very conservative justice and who is a champion of cross-examination and confrontation, found that 400 years ago the concept of forfeiture by wrongdoing was in place in the common law. It was there when the drafters of the constitution wrote the constitution. That’s one of his tests to determine whether or not he’s going to go along with something in the common law. But anyway, the federal government, in 1997, enacted a law that was section 804(b) now adopted in Illinois, January first, 2011, which is basically forfeiture by wrongdoing and it’s “equitable forfeiture”. If you deliberately destroy evidence by getting this witness out of the way, you can’t come in, thumb your nose at the judge, laugh and say, “Ha,ha you can’t get me now!” That’s basically the concept.