Peterson attorneys challenge hearsay law
August 10, 2009 (WLS) -- Attorneys for Drew Peterson want the Illinois hearsay law declared unconstitutional. Such a move would prevent the prosecution from presenting a key piece of evidence against Peterson when he goes on trial for the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.
The state's hearsay law will allow prosecutors to present statements Kathleen Savio made to others before her death.
During a brief court appearance, Drew Peterson chose to stay in the courtroom while his attorneys and prosecutors went behind closed doors to discuss scheduling issues.
Peterson was quite talkative as he sat in his chair with his legs and arms shackled. The former Bolingborook cop was willing to answer questions about his kids and his time in jail.
Drew Peterson has been behind bars since May 7, the day he was charged with his fourth wife Kathleen Savio's murder. Because Peterson is a high profile inmate and an ex-cop, he has been segregated from the rest of the Will County jail population, which Peterson says is irritating.
While attorneys were in the judge's chambers on Monday, Peterson stayed in the court room and talked with reporters about his three months in jail..
I asked him about the food. Peterson said,"the food is not bad. I eat everything in front of me."
Peterson says he does not exercise because he does want to exercise in the same clothes he must wear all day. Fghting boredom is his biggest challenge. As for reading, Peterson told me, "I hate reading." But he does watch TV. Peterson said, "I've seen Stripes several times so if I start talking like Bill Murray you'll know why."'
Peterson did get serious when I asked him if wants the case to drag on or go to trial as soon as possible. He responded by saying, "I want to get it done."
But the case is already delayed because of motions filed. Peterson's attorney's are trying to get the new state hearsay law declared unconstitutional.
"A criminal law cannot relate back. It cannot change the rules of evidence in the middle of the game, so to speak, and relate back to an offense that was allegedly committed prior to its enactment," said Joel Brodsky, Drew Peterson's attorney.
The law, known as Drew's law, was passed last year, four years after Savio's death. Joel Brodsky also believes the law is unconstitutional because he says a defendant has the right to a confront a witness in court. In this case, prosecutors may use written statements from Savio. Former prosecutor and state rep. Dennis Reboletti sponsored the bill.
"We are just following prior precedent and case law in other neighboring states. So I think what we've done is pass a very solid constitutional law," said Reboletti.
The hearsay law exists in 12 other states. Peterson's attorneys will argue against the law in court this Friday. Without the law, the defense call the state's case against Peterson "dead man walking."
Prosecutors say their case against Peterson does not hinge on the law. They say they have a mountain of evidence against Peterson.
Peterson said he talks to his kids twice a week on the phone. He won't let them come to the jail. He also said his son Steve takes better care of his kids than he does.
local, sarah schulte
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