Legal Expert: Peterson Hearsay Hearing

February 18, 2010 5:44:58 AM PST
Attorney Thomas Glasgow discusses the implications of the Drew Peterson pretrial hearsay hearing.Facts:

Pretrial hearing that began on January 19th, regarding hearsay in the Peterson Trial

The State has the position of proving a murder occurred before the actual trial begins.

Trial is for the murder of Kathleen Savio and we have gotten to see a preview of what the State's case may be.

This is a circumstantial case.

In Peterson's defense:

-Savio's death first ruled an accident.

-No forensic evidence collected.

-No physical evidence in this case. No DNA, no fingerprints.

-Savio had a heart murmur and complained about vertigo and dizziness to her Dr. before the accident

-The defense can bring in drinking, sleepwalking, drug use, or dizzy spells to show that she died as a result of an accident.

-No evidence of a break in. How did someone get in kill Savio and get out without anyone knowing?

-No one has testified seeing Peterson or anyone else sneak inside Savio's house that day.

The evidence against him so far:

-Subsequent autopsy ruled her death a homicide

-Witnesses testified about Peterson's training in subduing suspects knowledge of choke holds and martial arts training.

-No towels, no robe, and the toiletries were undisturbed in the bathroom.

-Cleaning fluid found beside the bathtub.

-Her hair was down when she was found. One witness who lived with Savio said it was always up when she took a bath.

-Peterson's second wife testified she saw him with locksmith tools.

-Peterson's friend testified he followed Savio once because Peterson said he was going to break into the house to retrieve some papers.

-Prior to the law changing, the above is all you would likely hear at trial. Now we have the new hearsay law in force and as such, the hearing on the admissibility of the proposed statements is much lower than beyond a reasonable doubt.

-Because the burden of proof is much lower in the hearing phase as opposed to the trial, the Judge is very likely to let in at least some of the statements that we have discussed during the course of the hearing. If he does, then Mr. Peterson is in the unenviable position of having to contest a statement that he cannot cross examine. With these statements, the prosecution's case is much more powerful and a conviction much more likely.

-Changing the law to convict one man is a dangerous thing. This law presents a very slippery slope for a state that has convicted an imprisoned innocent people and still has a moratorium on the death penalty.

-In a related issue, an appeals Court reversed the Circuit Court's ruling on the dismissal of gun charges against Drew Peterson. The charges have been sent back to the Circuit Court to address his alleged Illegal possession of a SBR or Short Barreled Rifle.