Peterson's lawyers challenge hearsay law

Oct. 4, 2009 at 7:20 PM   |   Comments

JOLIET, Ill., Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Lawyers for a former Illinois police officer charged with murder, used comedy, the Bible and history to argue against a hearsay law, court records showed.

Drew Peterson's attorneys were unable to persuade a judge that a new hearsay law is unconstitutional, or that his murder trial's venue should be changed from Will County, the Joliet Herald News reported Saturday.

Peterson, 55, is on trial for the 2004 drowning of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. His fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, disappeared almost two years ago.

Attorney Joel Brodsky told Judge Stephen White that allowing in hearsay evidence would be "devastating to a defense" if prosecutors are permitted to introduce letters and statements Savio and Stacy Peterson made to family, friends and prosecutors, the newspaper said.

"They're talking about drafting a constitution for Iraq. Why don't we send them ours. It was written by some very smart guys, it's worked for about 200 years, and we don't seem to be using it right now," Brodsky said, quoting the late comedian George Carlin in condemning the constitutionality of the hearsay law.

The law flies in the face of the principle of a defendant having the right to face his accuser, Brodsky said.

"This is not a new concept," he said. "It's an idea that goes back almost 2,000 years in the Bible."

White ruled the hearsay law only codified existing case law.

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