Joliet, IL--In a ruling handed down this morning by Will County, Circuit Court Judge Richard Schoenstedt he refused to dismiss a felony Indictment against retired Bolingbrook police sergeant Drew Peterson for, Unlawful Use of a Weapon.
The issue is the length of the barrel on Peterson’s Colt, AR-15 rifle he used in connection with duty on the department’s SWAT Team. The Illinois State Police claimed the barrel was 3/8 on an inch too short of the required 16 inches for civilian ownership. Apparently the judge did not agree with defense lawyer Joel Brodsky’s position that a federal law in fact allowed such possession.
The ruling came after a motion made last month by Peterson’s lawyer to dismiss the allegation based on a federal law that allows such weapons to be in possession of police officers.
Now this case moves into the discovery phase and it’s expected that the defense will seek to have Peterson’s rifle examined and measured by a firearms expert. I have repeatedly reported that it’s really unlikely that the barrel is 3/8” too short. Nobody would go to the trouble of cutting that small amount of steel and re-machine the threading. There is no possible benefit to the owner of such a weapon.
Judge Schoenstedt set a pretrial hearing on this matter for August 28.
It seems clear that the judge avoided making a final dettermination and is simply allowing the case to move forward. It looks like the defense request in not by any means dead.
Here is the Judges ruling: