Drew Peterson lawyers appeal murder conviction

Sarah Schulte Image
Thursday, May 21, 2015
EMBED <>More Videos

Drew Peterson's lawyers are appealing his murder conviction at a LaSalle County courthouse Thursday.

OTTAWA, Ill. (WLS) -- Drew Peterson's attorneys went to court in an effort to overturn his conviction for the murder of his third wife

Ineffective counsel, hearsay statements and attorney-client privilege are all arguments Peterson's attorneys made before three Illinois appellate judges on Thursday. It has been 11 years since Kathleen Savio was found dead in a dry bathtub.

Peterson, a former Bolingbrook police sergeant is serving a 38-year prison sentence for her murder. The case was reopened after Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, disappeared in 2007.

Nearly three years after his client was convicted of murder, Peterson's attorney Steve Greenberg is hoping the Illinois Appellate Court will overturn Peterson's conviction. Arguing several different points, Greenberg believes his best argument for a new trial is ineffective counsel. Greenberg says Peterson's former lead attorney Joel Brodsky was more interested in making money and publicity than making good decisions for his client.

"We had a course of conduct that went on in this case that was mind boggling," Greenberg said.

"Boneheaded" is how Greenberg described Brodsky's decision to call Harry Smith as a witness during Peterson's trial. Smith was Kathleen Savio's divorce attorney. He testified that Peterson's fourth wife Stacy told him Peterson killed Savio. Arguing for prosecutors, Will County Assistant State's Attorney Marie Czech told appellate judges it was Peterson who made the final decision.

"We know from testimony at post-trial hearing that they actually had a room, sat down, and the defendant made the call about which one, about whether to go with Smith or not," Czech said.

Greenberg also argued that Smith should never been allowed to testify based on attorney-client privilege, something one of the appellate judges didn't seem to buy.

"The attorney-client privilege, do you think it is designed to protect the client or people that kill the client?" said Judge Daniel Schmidt, Third District Appellate Court.

Privilege was also used for Greenberg's argument that testimony from Stacy Peterson's pastor Neil Schori should not have been allowed. Schori says Stacy told him that Peterson killed Savio.

"The defense continues to try to make this an issue that Stacy wanted me to be quiet makes no sense," Schori said.

Will County state's attorney Jim Glasgow attended Thursday's arguments. Based on what he heard, Glasgow is confident Peterson's conviction will not be overturned. Greenberg says he's not sure.

Peterson remains a suspect in Stacy's disappearance.

Earlier this year, Peterson pleaded not guilty in a murder-for-hire plot targeting Glasgow.