A Will County Judge kicked out eight of 14 damning hearsay statements prosecutors want to use against accused wife-killer Drew Peterson. The appellate court agreed to keep them out. And now Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow is going to the state supreme court in a last ditch effort to get them spoken aloud at Peterson’s murder trial.
Glasgow filed his petition to appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court Friday, asking the state’s top judges to overturn a decision on hearsay evidence made by now retired Will County Judge Stephen White in 2010.
The petition was filed under seal and approved by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
Glasgow was confident the Illinois Supreme Court would both review the appeal and rule in his favor.
"The appellate court dismissed the appeal on a procedural technicality without getting to the issues of the case," he said. "I believe the state supreme court will want to set the record straight in that regard."
The appellate court ruled that Glasgow missed his deadline to file an appeal, but the state's attorney insists the filing was timely due to a ruling in a DuPage County death penalty case changing the legal landscape.
Waiting on murder trial
Peterson, a disgraced former Bolingbrook cop who retired in 2007 rather than face an internal affairs probe into the disappearance of his much younger fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, has been jailed since May 2009 on murder charges.
The charges stem from the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, who was found drowned in a dry bathtub in March 2004 but was not considered a homicide victim until more than three years later.
The state police insisted Savio perished in a freak bathing accident until Stacy Peterson mysteriously vanished in October 2007.
The state police then abruptly reversed course, not only launching an intense reinvestigation of Savio’s death — including the exhumation of her corpse for further examination — but declaring that Drew Peterson was the sole suspect in the “potential homicide” of Stacy Peterson.
Drew Peterson has yet to be charged with harming his still missing fourth wife.
Following Stacy’s disappearance, Glasgow crafted and helped push through new legislation allowing hearsay evidence to be used in the event a witness was made unavailable to testify. Then he conducted a month-long hearing featuring more than 70 witnesses in an attempt to convince Judge White to allow hearsay statements against Peterson at a murder trial.
To allow any of the 14 statements at trial, White had to agree that it was likely Peterson killed both Stacy and Savio. White gave the green light to six of the statements but Glasgow wanted more, and the day before Peterson’s trial was to start in July 2010, he filed an appeal of the judge’s ruling.
The appellate court sided with White, handing down its decision last month. Glasgow had a 35-day window to appeal the appellate court’s decision and did so today, a mere four days before it was to close.
One of Peterson's attorneys, Joseph "Shark" Lopez, said he had yet to see Glasgow's petition but was skeptical of whether it would sway the state supreme court enough to hear an appeal.
"I doubt it," Lopez said.
"If they take it, it will be called the new 'Drew Exception,' just like the useless 'Drew's Law.'" he said.
The hearsay legislation Glasgow worked to pass prior to Peterson's arrest has come to be derided in some circles as "Drew's Law," since it was supposedly passed to prosecute him sepecifically.
Glasgow denies this and pointed out that after the passage of the new hearsay law it was first used in a DuPage County case and not against Peterson.
Lopez also said he understands Madigan's office assisted in crafting the petition to appeal.
"I wanted Glasgow to do it himself," Lopez said, "so we could see all the typos."