JOLIET, Ill. (CBS) — When the Drew Peterson murder trial ground once again to a halt because of a forbidden question Tuesday, it left Will County Judge Edward Burmila angry and a prominent defense attorney who was a spectator surprised.
“To be honest, I’ve seen a lot of things in a courtroom over the years and I’ve done a lot of things in a courtroom, and I’ve never seen a judge give a specific order not to go into evidence and the very next question is right into that evidence,” said Sam Adam Jr., who served as lead defense attorney in the first Rod Blagojevich trial and several other notable cases. “I’ve seen a lot of things. I’ve never seen that before.”
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports
The Peterson defense moved for a mistrial Tuesday for the third time since the trial began, after Will County Assistant State’s Attorney Kathleen Patton asked former Bolingbrook police Officer Teresa Kernc whether Kathleen Savio – Peterson’s third wife whom he is accused of killing – tried to get an order of protection against Peterson.
Just two hours before that, Judge Edward Burmila explicitly told the prosecution that any questions about the order of protection were not admissible in court. Patton apologized, and took the blame for what she claimed was an inadvertent mistake.
Adam has had his share of scrapes with judges in courtrooms, to be sure. But he said so many mistakes is “reprehensible,” but said he has to give credit to Patton on one count — she’s willing to take the blame.
“She stood up, looked that judge in the eye, and said, ‘Blame me. Blame me. It is my fault,'” Adam said. “You have to give kudos to any lawyer who stands up and does that. Lord knows, lawyers all over this country run from responsibility.”
Lead Peterson defense attorney Joel Brodsky said the trial has been “an avalanche of prejudicial, illegal evidence” in asking that the case be thrown out in such a way that Peterson could not be tried again in Savio’s death.
Nonetheless, Adam said, he expects that Judge Burmila will allow the trial to proceed when he rules on the latest mistrial request Wednesday.
“If the roles were reversed, I would be locked up,” Adam said. “Here it’s a very strange situation.”