Re: IL Proposed law targeting Drew Peterson may get another chance




"Indigo Ace" <indigoace@xxxxxxx> wrote in message
news:4846df2e.2492296@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From the Chicago Tribune--

Proposed law targeting Drew Peterson may get another chance
Measure would allow judge to consider hearsay testimony if a witness'
disappearance is caused by illegal means

By Erika Slife | Tribune reporter
12:21 AM CDT, June 3, 2008

Legislation that could affect a possible prosecution of former
Bolingbrook Police Sgt. Drew Peterson stalled in the Illinois Senate
when lawmakers ran out of time before adjournment over the weekend.

"We have hit a snag," said the bill's chief sponsor, state Sen. A.J.
Wilhelmi (D- Joliet).

The measure, backed by the Will County state's attorney's office,
would allow a judge to decide whether hearsay testimony could be
admitted into court if it is proved that the defendant contributed to
the disappearance of a witness by illegal means. The bill was amended
to apply only to first-degree murder cases.



It'll probably get passed, but it will get tossed via someone's appeal, and
just end up requiring costly re-trials. This proposed law suffers from a
chicken-and-egg circularity.

Why will they allow the hearsay testimony, setting aside an important
constitutional right to cross-examine witnesses? Because the defendant
caused the witness to be unavailable.

But how does the court accept as a fact that the defendant did this? Via
the very trial that is underway, which means that fact isn't established.

In other words, "if we assume he's guilty, we can prove he's guilty."

Uh huh, great reasoning. Goes to the very reason your rights are embedded
in the document that forms the source of final authority in legal matters -
the Constitution.


snip

Both women had told family and friends that they were fearful of
Peterson. Stacy Peterson also told her minister that Peterson
allegedly confessed to her that he killed Savio, according to the
minister.


Really, I think anyone can see the trouble in allowing this kind of
second-hand story.

And will they allow Peterson to put on witnesses that can report his wives
saying he was the greatest guy in the world, and wouldn't hurt a fly? Nope,
this game only runs one way. Yet another reason this would never stand an
appeals challenge.

Wilhelmi said he is confident that the bill-which initially passed the
Senate 56-0 and cleared the House, with amendments, 110-1-could easily
pass out of the Senate again later this month.


Feel-good, and never mind that it will actually endanger some prosecutions:
that retrial, years later, with the defense having had a trial run already,
will make it harder to get a conviction than it would have been the first
time round.


Bo Raxo





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