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Peterson Case Could Mean More Cameras In Courtrooms

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Drew Peterson

Former Bolingbrook police sergeant Drew Peterson arrives at the Will County Courthouse in Joliet, Ill., Friday, May 8, 2009, for his arraignment on charges of first-degree murder in the 2004 death of his former wife Kathleen Savio. (M. Spender Green/AP)

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OTTAWA, Ill. (CBS) – The Drew Peterson case could be opening the door to more TV cameras in Illinois courtrooms.

The 3rd District Illinois Appellate Court in Ottawa will allow cameras in for the first time for Peterson’s hearing on hearsay evidence.

While cameras are prohibited at the circuit court level, where state criminal proceedings are held, cameras have been allowed to film the Illinois Supreme Court since the 1980s.

But this will be the first appellate court proceeding to be broadcast live.

Peterson faces murder charges in the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. Her body was found in a dry bathtub on March 1, 2004.

Savio’s death was originally ruled an accidental drowning, but her body was exhumed after Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, disappeared on Oct. 29, 2007. A new autopsy reclassified Savio’s death as a homicide.

Stacy Peterson has long been presumed dead, but her body has never been found. Peterson is not charged in connection to her disappearance.

Peterson had been set to go to trial last summer, but the trial was halted the day before jury selection was to begin. Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow filed an appeal against county Judge Stephen B. White’s ruling regarding which statements will be allowed into evidence under the hearsay exception.

This is the appeal for which the hearing will be broadcast live.

Glasgow will ask the appellate panel to consider White’s ruling following an Illinois Supreme Court decision in the case of Eric Hanson, who was convicted of killing his parents, sister and brother-in-law in Naperville in 2005.

Last year, the court ruled against Hanson’s claim that hearsay statements could not be allowed as evidence under the common law doctrine of forfeiture by wrongdoing.

Judge White retired in October. When the case finally goes to trial, another judge will preside.

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