Appeals Court Upholds Peterson Hearsay Limitations

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    NEWSLETTERS

    History was made Wednesday when a camera broadcast the hearsay hearing for alleged murderer Drew Peterson from a downstate courtroom. (Published Wednesday, Feb 16, 2011)

    An Illinois Appeals Court has upheld a lower court ruling saying that certain portions of hearsay testimony in the Drew Peterson murder case won't be admitted.

    That means Peterson's former wives Kathleen Savio -- who he's alleged to have killed -- and Stacy Peterson can speak from the ether only in snippets. Peterson remains a suspect in Stacy Peterson's October 2007 disappearance.

    Drew Peterson Appears On 'Today'

    [CHI] Drew Peterson Appears On 'Today'
    Drew Peterson and his attorney make yet another appearance on NBC's 'Today,' telling Matt Lauer that the first anniversary of his wife's disappearance is just another day. (Published Wednesday, Oct 29, 2008)

    (READ THE FULL COURT DECISION HERE.)

    The 12th Judicial circuit court declared Tuesday that six of 14 pieces of hearsay testimony would be allowed into testimony. Following is snippet from the ruling about which pieces of hearsay would be admitted.

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    If Kathleen Savio were still alive, she would have just turned 48 years old on Monday. But instead of getting the chance to quietly remember her, the Savio family learned this week that Lifetime Television is developing a movie about Savio's death and the ex-husband charged in her death, Drew Peterson. (Published Thursday, Jun 16, 2011)

    The court found the following six statements admissible under the statute:

    (1) portions of a letter that Kathleen wrote to the Will County State’s Attorney’s office which described a confrontation that Kathleen allegedly had with the defendant on July 5, 2002, while the divorce proceedings were pending;

    2 (2) a redacted version of a handwritten statement that Kathleen gave to the Bolingbrook police describing the alleged July 5, 2002, incident;

    (3) a statement that Kathleen allegedly made to her sister, Anna Doman;

    (4) a statement that Kathleen allegedly made in late 2003 to Mary Sue Parks, who attended nursing classes with Kathleen at Joliet Junior College;

    (5) another statement that Kathleen allegedly made to Parks; and

    (6) a statement that Stacy allegedly made to her pastor, Neil Schori, regarding an encounter that she allegedly had with her husband on the night Kathleen died.  11 The circuit court ruled that the remaining eight hearsay statements proffered by the State did not meet the statutory standard of reliability and that the interests of justice would not be served by the admission of those statements.

    Peterson's lawyer Joel Brodsky tweeted that it was a complete victory for the defense.

    The three-judge panel of the Third District Appellate Court in suburban Ottawa said it did not have the jurisdiction to overturn the judge's ruling not to allow the admission of eight of 14 hearsay statements prosecutors wanted admitted.

    The panel wrote that the only way it could overturn the judge's decision was if it determined he abused his discretion. And it found that the judge's decision was reasonable.