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People v. Drew Peterson, In Session Facebook updates for 8/8/2012

People v. Drew Peterson, In Session Facebook updates for 8/8/2012

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Published by: Justice Café on Aug 09, 2012
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08/25/2012

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People v. Drew Peterson trial – In session facebook updates 8/8/2012The trial is scheduled to begin at 10:00AM ET today.At that time, Judge Burmila will rule on a defense request to sanction the State of Illinois for adiscovery violation. Following that ruling, prosecutors are expected to call to the stand Pat Collins, anIllinois State Police investigator. Collins will likely be followed by Kristin Anderson (a friend of Kathleen Savio's), Mary Parks (a fellow nursing student with Savio), and Pat O'Neil (coroner).The defendant is in the courtroom, but most of his attorneys are still missing. The prosecutors, incontrast, are all at their counsel table. Judge Burmila briefly stuck his head into the courtroom(apparently looking for something), but then withdrew.Judge Burmila has just taken the bench. “We have one matter we need to address before we address Mr.Peterson.” The judge takes care of another brief matter, then returns to the Peterson case. “We have onematter that we have to address from yesterday, the defense request to strike the testimony of Ofc. JamesCoughlin.” The judge notes he received some e-mailed material from the defense last night, but nothingfrom the State. Defense attorney Lisa Lopez: ‘We’re asking the court to strict the testimony of Ofc.Coughlin, based on a Brady violation. The State must disclose any exculpatory evidence to thedefendant that can be used to impeach a witness.” Ms Lopez then goes on to cite case law that thedefense believes supports their position. “We have two different versions of Ofc. Coughlin’s story; Isuppose there’s a third version, if you accept the court order... we come to learn that Drew wasn’t there,and he states the FBI report wasn’t accurate. He’s making this extreme allegation that the FBI agent islying, and he told the State two and a half years ago that he disagreed with what the FBI reported...clearly the State knew that Mr. Coughlin disagreed with the FBI’s testimony, the FBI’s report. At that point in time, the defense had a duty to write a letter, advising that Mr. Coughlin disagrees with whatwas reported by the FBI special agent. They had many opportunities to bring it out to us in the last twoand a half years... that’s pretty significant impeachment, to point your fingers at an FBI agent and saythey’re lying... it certainly resulted in prejudicing the defendant. The fact that the jury has heard thishas resulted in prejudice toward the defendant.”Ms. Lopez continues to argue the defense argument that the State committed a discovery violation. “Itwas a Brady violation, because the State has countless opportunities to expose it to us over the last twoyears... we are asking that the testimony of Ofc. Coughlin be stricken from the record. And we ask for the same jury instruction as will be used in striking Mr. Pontarelli’s testimony. And because it’s thesecond violation, we’re asking for a stronger instruction.” Prosecutor Koch responds: “I think the firstthing we want to make clear for the record is what exactly are we talking about? What is it that wedidn’t turn over? The FBI report is almost verbatim with the testimony Ofc. Coughlin provided... theONLY difference is one sentence regarding whether Lt. Coughlin peeked into the courtroom. That’s it;everything else is substantially the same. What we did turn over to them was a sworn statement by Lt.Coughlin from the grand jury, something that was in addition to what the FBI report said. What is thereal material difference between seeing them in a courtroom and seeing them coming out from acourtroom or a conference room? They have to show there’s some kind of material prejudicial effecthere." Judge: “Did you have a copy of Judge O’Leary’s order prior to yesterday?” “Yes.” “So you knewthat the statement said no one was present?” “The defense attorneys also had the court order. We had aduty to disclose. We disclosed... we gave them the grand jury transcript; they were here for the hearing.Mr. Brodsky has been here for this case since Day One. So to say they did not know there was thisstatement, I think that’s disingenuous... they knew that there was an inconsistent statement. They wereimpeaching the witness; we gave them the information to impeach... we complied.” Koch then cites
 
some case law that he believes supports the prosecution position.Koch continues: “They’ve had this material for over two years. They had the opportunity to investigate,to go out and question the FBI agent. So we did not withhold that particular information... they had thestatement, the court order, everything they needed to properly impeach this witness...Your Honor saidyesterday you believed this was a 180 degree turn; I would submit the defendant’s statement never changed in the FBI and the testimony here. It’s always been the statement that he provided, that ‘I’d be better off if she was dead.’ The testimony about the two men, about being in the courthouse has never wavered. Everything is consistent, except for the one statement about where it was he saw him. Theyhad that information; they saw it coming... they already knew that; they knew it. We also have a secondofficer who provided information, Ofc. Treese (?), who would corroborate Ofc. Coughlin. The questionthen becomes, what is the prejudice that was given to the defendant yesterday? What was the prejudice? They got to impeach him.” So where was the prejudice against the defendant yesterday? Isubmit that there was none... I would submit to you that there was no prejudice, and the State didcomply.”Lisa Lopez makes a final argument: “In regard to the surprise, the surprise was what Lt. Coughlin toldus on the stand. The FBI was lying; that was the surprise... it is a Brady violation, it is material, it is prejudicial... they did have a duty to disclose... how is Ofc. Treese (?) possibly going to corroboratewhat Coughlin was saying, because we know that Coughlin was lying... we ask that the testimony of Ofc. Coughlin be stricken.”Judge: “The argument Mr. Koch made has to be corrected; he said I said the statement was 180 degreefrom the officer’s testimony; I didn’t... if he had actually seen Mr. Peterson in a courtroom, in front of a judge, there would be a record of that, and it would be proven. If it was an inadvertent meeting in frontof an elevator, there would be no proof... so it is a Brady violation... now, I asked Ms. Lopez if thisteam took the opportunity to interview Ofc. Coughlin, and they did not; they had the reports, knew theywere at odds, and did not interview him. The Court, in the face of a discovery violation, has severaloptions with regards to sanctions... in this case, striking the officer’s testimony is not the appropriatesanction... I think the appropriate sanction is if they have any trouble calling the FBI agent a brief continuance to secure that presence would be the sanction imposed. The request to strike the testimonyand issue another instruction to the jury is denied.”Prosecutor Connor says there’s another issue that might be addressed at this time. But since it doesn’taffect the next witness, the judge decides to proceed with the witness at this time. Connor notes that thewitness has been instructed not to mention any of Stacy Peterson’s statements in his testimony.Attorney Greenberg says that he has an issue with that plan, but the judge sides with the prosecution onthis one. Connor: “And there was some discussion about alibi documents; we’d be asking this witnessif these documents were turned over during this investigation, prior to the search warrant in 2007.”Judge: “OK.” Greenberg: “That would be the false alibi.” Judge: “I don’t know. But if they seized thedocuments, they’re allowed to show them to a witness.”Brodsky requests a few minutes prior to the next witness, so that the defendant can speak to all of hisattorneys at the same time. “He has something about this witness he wants to tell us.” Judge: “OK.”So the trial is on hold for a few minutes to allow the defendant to confer with his attorneys.The jurors are now back in the courtroom, and the prosecution calls its next witness: Patrick Collins(questioned by prosecutor Connor). “I’m unemployed right now. I’m retired from the Illinois StatePolice.” He works part time for a security company that transports state witnesses to hospital visits. Heretired from the ISP at the rank of sergeant. He briefly goes over his history with that organization.
 
By March 2004, he had been in general investigations for approximately three years. “Prior to March 1,2004, how many homicide cases that were not traffic related had you investigated?” “Zero... thoseinvestigations were traffic-related. Or, at one time, there was a dead body found along the expressway;the victim had had a heart attack.” On March 1, 2004, “I received a call from my supervisor, who toldme that it appeared that a police officer from Bolingbrook’s wife had been found in a bathtub. Itappeared to be accidental.” “That evening, he used the term ‘accident’ when he talked to you?” “Yes... Iwent to the location, 392 Pheasant Chase Drive... I entered the house, and was greeted by twoBolingbrook commanders. They told me all the other state police personnel were up in the bathroom...it was crime scene investigator Bob Deel, and Troop Falat.” “Did you have command authority over Robert Deel?” “I had the ability to give him orders, but he was not under my command.”Deel “had arrived before I had arrived. So I was just getting a briefing from him... basically, Deel saidit appeared to be an accidental situation.” This happened approximately ten minutes before the witnessarrived on the scene. “What did you ask Mr. Deel to do with you during that discussion?” “After meeting Deel and getting a brief summary, I asked, 'Can we walk through the scene of the house, to seeif there was any evidence there?'" It was also a learning experience for me. I asked Deel if there wasany evidence that needed to be obtained, and he said no. I asked if there was any sign of a break-in, andSgt. Deel said no.” The walk around the house lasted “five to seven minutes, walking slowly.”“At some point later, did you assist with the removal of the body out of the house?” “Yes... prior to meassisting removing the body, I went back in the bathroom to look at he body one more time. At whichtime I observed a gash on the back of her head. I asked Deel how did Kathleen Savio receive that gash,and he said possibly it was from a slip in the tub. That was a concern of mine. After that, the deputycoroner [and] Deel had placed the body in a body bag... I assisted in taking the body out of the building.” “Did you bounce the body against anything when you were taking the body out?” “No, I didnot.”The witness says that he told the Bolingbrook police officers who were present that “eventually I’dhave to talk to Drew. They said OK.” He then went to neighbor Steve Carcerano’s home, to conductinterviews. “I arrived at the house between 1:00 and 1:15 in the morning... they [the interviews] had tostart approximately 2:00-ish in the morning.” “Those interviews took some length of time?” “Yes... tosee if somebody knew something, or had possibly heard something.” Once the interviews werecompleted, “I went outside, and someone informed one of the commanders that we needed to speak toDrew at that time... the interview with Drew Peterson was at the Bolingbrook Police Department.”“And that began at approximately 6:00 in the morning?” “Yes.”The witness says he began the interview by asking Peterson if he knew why he was interviewed (hesaid yes). “I asked him how his relationship with Kathy was going; he said pretty good, despite the factthat they were in the final stages of their divorce... as part of his divorce at that time, the divorce wouldallow Drew to remarry, and Kathy to remarry.” “Did the defendant indicate anything to you aboutwhere the divorce was at?” “He said the divorce was going along fine despite the facts that the financialaspects of the divorce hadn’t been finalized.” “Did he explain anything to you about the house?” “Iasked Drew, ‘Well, how would you benefit from the death of Kathy Savio?’” Drew responded that heand Kathy had joint custody of the house, which was paid off and worth about $300,000... he said hewould received half. And then he said, ‘Oh, I guess now I’ll get the whole value of the house.’”“He stated he would not benefit from any insurance policy, because she had changed the paperwork and left that as a trust to the kids.” “So the insurance policy was going to the children?” “Yes, he did.”

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