Drew Peterson Defense Team Vows to Appeal, But Do They Have a Case? - NBC Chicago

Illinois' murder trial of the century

Drew Peterson Defense Team Vows to Appeal, But Do They Have a Case?



    Combative Defense Attorneys Vow Appeal

    Drew's lawyers bemoan a stacked-deck case, and vow to appeal early and often. (Published Friday, Sept. 7, 2012)

    The attorneys for convicted murderer Drew Peterson said there's no doubt the case will be heard on appeal, calling it a "dark day in America" when someone can be convicted on hearsay evidence.

    "They passed a law to get this individual. Do you really think that somebody can take on the government and win in a case like this? It's almost impossible," said attorney Joe Lopez.

    With no physical evidence tying Peterson to the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, prosecutors had to rely on hearsay and circumstantial evidence. Such testimony isn't usually admissible in court, but Illinois legislators in 2008 passed a law -- dubbed "Drew's Law" -- which allows it in rare circumstances.

    "There's going to be an appeal. Believe me, there's several world-class appellate lawyers just waiting to get their teeth into this," said defense attorney Joel Brodksy.

    But if Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow felt threatened he'd ultimately lose the case on appeal, he didn't let on.

    "If you murder the witness to silence them, you extinguish your right to confront the witness," he said, referencing 2007's Giles versus California, in which a man was convicted for the murder of his ex-girlfriend. "There are federal cases throughout the country upholding this principle."  

    Attorney Sam Adam Jr., who didn't work on the Peterson case, said that no matter what happens in the appellate court, the case will almost certain to go all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

    "This is a brand new law," said Adam. "The crime was committed, they changed the law and then allow it to be used in the crime prior to that law taking effect."

    Peterson will be sentenced Nov. 26. 

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