Peterson To Ask State Supreme Court For Release From Jail

JOLIET, Ill. (CBS) — Former Bolingbrook police Sgt. Drew Peterson is taking his case to the Illinois Supreme Court Tuesday, in an effort to get out of jail.

As CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports, Peterson has been in custody at the Will County Jail for on $20 million bond more than two years, as he awaits trial on murder charges in the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

He had been set to go on trial in July 2010, but the trial was postponed the day before jury selection was to begin due to an appeal by prosecutors seeking to allow hearsay statements. The Illinois Appellate ruled in July that prosecutors had filed their appeal late.

Prosecutors are now appealing that decision to the Illinois Supreme Court, which could take more than a year.

For that reason, defense attorneys say Peterson should be released now. If not, Peterson is being denied his right to a speedy trial because of the prosecution’s legal maneuvers, they argue.

“His constitutional right to a speedy trial is being violated. Nobody can deny that. The government can’t hold somebody locked up in solitary confinement for 13 months, when they don’t have enough evidence to convict them or take the case to trial,” said Peterson defense attorney Joel Brodsky. “So yes, he should be released, and his rights are being violated.”

Brodsky compared Peterson’s lengthy stay in jail without going to trial to the treatment a prisoner would receive under an authoritarian regime.

“Drew is a person who has been wrongfully charged, and he should not be held unless the state can prove – the government can prove – that he is guilty of some wrongdoing. It’s as clear as that. Now do we want to move to Iran where they don’t have such formalities? I suppose somebody who doesn’t like this can move there,” he said. “But I like the American system.”

Brodsky hopes in the next 30 days or so, the justices will consider the motion and order Peterson’s immediate release from jail.

Savio was found dead in the drained bathtub of her Bolingbrook home on March 1, 2004. Initially, the death was ruled an accidental drowning, but a second autopsy, performed in November 2007, found that the death was a homicide.

Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, disappeared in October 2007. Peterson has never been charged in her disappearance, but members of her family have suspected him from the beginning.

Peterson has maintained his fourth wife ran way with another man, but her family members say that is absurd, and that Stacy would never abandon her children.

Peterson’s bond was set at $20 million when he was arrested in May 2009, and he has been held in solitary confinement for 13 months.

  • knappydawg

    He’s deserves to be where he is, just getting a head start on life in the joint..

  • Chivi

    Don’t let him out!!! He is mocking the justice system!! He is a wife killer!!! As a cop, he thinks he has gotten away with murder. DON’T LET HIM GO!!! He is a dirty old cop man!!!

    • Ken Davis

      You obviously don’t know anything about our system of law. Wife killer? What evidence have you heard of that implies that? A second autopsy, bought and paid for? Maybe BS hearsay from people who hate his guts? Where is the DNA? Where is the solid proof? There isn’t any. It doesn’t matter whether or not you like the guy, the over zealous prosecuter should have NEVER allowed an arrest without some kind of evidence. The Casey Anthony fiasco was a perfect example of what happens when prosecuters proceed with a trial against someone without even knowing the manner in which the person died.

  • Tanya Livingston

    It is obvious by their appeal, the Will County State’s Attorney does not have reliable, admiissable evidence to hold or convict Drew Peterson by the very nauture of their Appeal. To use third hand whispered evidence….think one gossiping older lady in a babooshka to another down the line or that telephone game that children play during a tornado drill is not evidence to put anybody away for life. We may not like freeing Sgt. Peterson, but what if you were in that position? Everybody wants due process for themselves, but not for that criminal down the street…

  • mohammed Bin

    Drew and Betty both are innocent!

  • MIKE

    Innocent until proven guilty. Isn’t that the basis of our judicial system? Maybe this guy did kill his wife, maybe he did not. Would any of us like to be locked up for 2 years with no evidence that you committed a specific crime? The public cannot convict a criminal only the courts have that authority. Hearsay evidence??? What a joke!

  • Rights

    Drew’s rights have been violated. The right to a speedy trial. Where is the justice in that? 2 years is not speedy. If prosecuted had a real trial they would have started it already. Innocent or Guilty, he has right. The tax payers are supporting him. Can we just start it and get this over.

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