Drew Peterson desperately wants to get out of prison, and his attorneys just filed a 55-page appeal to try and get him out. Drew, a former Bolingbrook IL police officer, was convicted in 2012 and sentenced to 38 years in prison for the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. His fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, mysteriously disappeared in 2007 and is still missing.
The appeal argues that the judge and Drew’s prior defense attorney made critical errors during the trial. From The Associated Press:
“The State did not present a single eyewitness, physical evidence linking Drew with Kathleen’s body, forensic evidence linking Drew with Kathleen’s body, or a confession from Drew,” the 55-page appeal says. “And while it is true there is no magic formula for a murder conviction, at least one of these pieces of evidence is usually present where an appellate court upholds murder convictions.”
Among the other arguments made in the appeal:
- Drew’s prior attorney, Joel Brodsky, made a critical error when he called divorce attorney Harry Smith to the stand. Smith testified that Stacy believed that Drew killed Kathleen.
- The judge made a critical error when he allowed Smith’s testimony to come in at trial. According to the appeal, the testimony should have been attorney-client privilege and not allowed.
- The judge unfairly allowed hearsay evidence from Stacy’s pastor to come in at the trial. The testimony violated the “clergy-parishioner privilege.”
- The court admitted hearsay evidence that was previously found unreliable.
- The court failed to follow procedural rules when they allowed prosecution witness Jeffrey Pachter to take the stand without giving the defense adequate notice to prepare.
- Drew received ineffective legal counsel in the form of Joel Brodsky.
- Brodsky committed a conflict of interest when he arranged a media deal. Brodsky was more concerned about his fees than defending his client.
- Drew was convicted with no physical evidence.
- The prosecution did not prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, despite the conviction.
Since the trial ended, Brodsky has maintained that Drew was the one who wanted Smith to be called to the stand, and that Drew actually said as much to the judge. Brodsky told reporters that he doesn’t think the appeal will get anywhere.
Drew’s attorneys want his conviction to be thrown out and to either find Drew not guilty or grant him a new trial.
The appeal will formally be filed this week.