In Defense of Drew Peterson

I've never met Drew Peterson

But like most people I do have an opinion about him.

I believe Drew Peterson is a woman murdering scumbag.

I believe he uses and disposes of women when they wise up to his philandering ways.

I intensely dislike him.

He is a disgrace to men and police officers.  He comes off as a misogynistic bully with a badge.

Yet saying all of that, he should not have been convicted on hearsay evidence.

The Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that "in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right…to be confronted with the witnesses against him."

I believe that Mr. Peterson being a veteran law enforcement officer knew how to conceal and destroy evidence.

I believe that he played a huge part in his fourth wife Stacy's disappearance.

Here's the rub---believing something is not the same as proving something in a court of law.

As much as Mr. Peterson makes my skin crawl when I see his image on T.V. , there is no way I would have convicted him based on hearsay testimony.

So few things unite politicians in our great state but "Drew's Law" seems to have been one of them.  The law admits hearsay evidence if prosecutors believe the victim was killed to prevent his or her testimony.

As much as I'm inclined to like the law, it is a major step backwards in jurisprudence and yet another uppercut to the Constitution.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is an assault on your rights. Just because it happened to someone that is so unlikeable doesn't mean it can't happen to you. This is a scary and slippery slope.

Unfortunately the appeals will keep Mr. Peterson in the news---probably all the way up to the Supreme Court.

Unless new evidence is found in the death of his third wife or his fourth wife Stacy reappears, it may take a few years, but he will be set free.

We know he's laughing at the pain of the families.  We know he's laughing at the legal system.  We know that when he's free to live his life again (with his full pension) he'll resume the wooing of as many women who will allow themselves to be used for his pleasure.

He's not changing.

But this is not the way to get him.

Taking down one of our basic rights and a tenent of the Constitution for Drew Peterson?  It shouldn't have happened.

Despite the fact everything within me says he did it and he should be thrown in Statesville, I have to call "bullshit" on this unjust conviction.

I (and you) should complain loudly about this "law" so the rest of us won't be put in jail on what could potentially be the unsubstantiated words of another.

Don't the let Drew's smirking mug cloud the issue for you.

Comments

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  • Again, the typical reaction of someone who shows only a superficial understanding of the law.

    It is sufficient to say that the admissibility of this evidence was litigated for three years, including in the appellate court before he went to trial and is supported by U.S. Supreme Court authority. See Crawford v. Washington. Even without law school, a simple Google search would have turned that up.

    Not to mention that there was forensic evidence.

    So, buy the line of b.s. that Drew's press agent, Glenn Selig, tried to sell. Both of his clients are currently in the Graybar Hotel.

  • Jack is right. The "voice from the dead" gave evidence against Peterson. Justice has been done.

  • "Jack" above is wrong and is missing the point of the article.

  • Actually Jack is correct and a simple search of the facts of the case back him up.

    In November 2008 Public Act 095-1004 was passed into Illinois Law. Dubbed “Drew’s Law” by the media, it addressed a certain kind of hearsay exception. In essence it made an exception for hearsay statements when it could be shown to a reasonable extent that the accused had killed a witness in order to keep them from testifying at a trial.

    Initially, State's Attorney Glasgow relied heavily on this statute in trying to get evidence admitted to Peterson’s trial, but when eight statements were deemed unreliable due to the higher standards of reliability required by the statute he then asked the court to consider the evidence under the Common Law hearsay exceptions.

    One common law exception is "Forfeiture by Wrongdoing" under which a defendant forfeits their right to confront a witness if it can he shown to a reasonable extent that the defendant made the witness unavailable to testify.

    This is not a new exception to the hearsay rule and it is in place because the Constitution of the United States does not guarantee an accused person against the legitimate consequences of his own wrongful acts. It grants the accused the privilege of being confronted with the witnesses against him; but if he voluntary keeps the witnesses away, he cannot insist on the privilege.

    Ultimately the eight statements were considered on their own merits by a panel of three appellate justices and were deemed reliable and admissible in April 2012. The new statute was not the criteria for their decision. (Ironically, “Drew’s law” almost kept a majority of the hearsay evidence out of the trial.)

    Peterson's lead attorney, Joel Brodsky, even cedes that the so called "Drew's Law" was not used to admit the hearsay evidence to trial, saying:

    "...the States Attorney appealed and decided to change his argument from the statute he drafted to the Common Law doctrine of forfeiture by wrongdoing (Ill. Rule of Evidence 804(b)... As to why the media still says that Drew Peterson was convicted based on "Drew's Law", you will have to ask them - but I wouldn't hold my breath for an answer."

    Drew Peterson was convicted of murder based on evidence presented in court. Peterson had the benefit of a large team of pro bono attorneys. If they could find no legal remedy to challenge the evidence presented, then I can only conclude that the evidence sufficiently proved his guilt.

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