New hearing set in Drew Peterson murder case
By Janet Lundquist firstname.lastname@example.org January 10, 2013 11:58AM
David Peilet (left) and Joseph Lopez, attorneys for Drew Peterson, talk after a hearing on Jan. 10 in the Peterson case at the Will County Courthouse in Joliet. | Matt Marton~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 12, 2013 2:34PM
After months of sniping by his attorneys and the filing of inflammatory motions, Drew Peterson finally has a court date in his bid for a new trial.
Judge Edward Burmila on Thursday set Feb. 19 and 20 as the dates for Peterson’s hearing for a new trial. If Burmila denies his motion, Peterson’s sentencing hearing will begin immediately
Peterson was convicted in September after a 24-day trial of the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.
In December, Peterson attorney David Peilet filed a memo in Will County court supporting the defense team’s claims that former lead attorney Joel Brodsky had a conflict of interest and ineffectively assisted Peterson during his trial.
Brodsky denied those claims.
A response from prosecutors to the memo and motion filed by Peterson’s attorneys was filed, and sealed, Wednesday.
The motion from Peterson’s lawyers claimed, among other things, a number of errors on Brodsky’s part during the trial.
During the hearing for a new trial, Peterson’s lawyers Steve Greenberg and Joseph “Shark” Lopez may have to take the stand, as well as Brodsky.
Prosecutors initially objected to the idea of Greenberg and Lopez serving as both witnesses and attorneys for Peterson, but Burmila said it is legal for them to do so in that situation.
After the court appearance, Lopez said all of the issues in their motion for a new trial have potential to win Peterson a new trial.
“Evidentiary issues, hearsay, privileged information, ineffective assistance of counsel,” Lopez said. “The calling of Harry Smith is probably the issue that’s first and foremost in the public eye.”
Smith, who represented Savio in her divorce from Peterson, testified that Drew’s fourth wife, Stacy, told him that Peterson killed Savio.
Several jurors said Smith’s testimony was what sealed their guilty verdict.
Peterson’s lawyers have said the decision to call Smith was a bad one, made by Brodsky. But Will County State’s Attorney Jim Glasgow pointed out that Peterson’s team publicly stated that it was part of their strategy to call Smith, to discredit Stacy.
“Never in the history of Will County has a defendant marshaled the legal resources that Drew Peterson had,” Glasgow said. “There isn’t anything whatsoever to substantiate ineffective assistance of counsel when you have eight lawyers.”
Glasgow said he plans to present the same evidence at Peterson’s sentencing hearing that came out during the 2010 hearsay hearing, including testimony about physical abuse of Savio and Peterson’s second wife, Victoria Connolly, as well as evidence pointing to Peterson as the person who killed Stacy Peterson.
Stacy’s sister, Cassandra Cales, attended the court appearance Thursday.
“I like coming to see Drew and the effects the jail does to him,” she said outside the courthouse. “Today he’s very old-looking. Seeing him shackled up makes me feel good. He’s not in control.”
Cales said she believes Peterson will face charges in Stacy’s disappearance.
“Justice will be served for Stacy,” she said. “And I won’t go anywhere until it is.”