Joliet, IL—For the past 18 months Illinois State Police have been investigating retired Bolingbrook police sergeant Drew Peterson.
One of Peterson’s four wives died in a bathtub and yet another is missing. I have no problem with cops and prosecutors doing their sworn duty by vigorously investigating these two matters.
Drew Peterson was called a murder suspect by officials long before they had minimal probable cause to suggest that. Peterson had had numerous search warrants served on his home and vehicles. He’s had property seized and kept by police. Peterson has cooperated with and not obstructed this investigation.
Prosecutors took special steps to influence the Illinois legislature to make a special law that would allow them to arrest and charge Peterson with murder by allowing third-party hearsay evidence at trial. Of course this untested law will get full scrutiny now. Making special laws for specific defendants is also unconstitutional.
Drew Peterson has not been charged with capital murder that would negate bail being set. Instead of a standard bond, an unheard of $20 million dollar bail has been ordered. That outrageous bail can’t possibly stand appellate review should that be sought.
Generally the law allows for those higher bail amounts in cases where the proof is evident or the presumption is great or the defendant has somehow demonstrated that he is a flight risk. Those factors are not present so a reasonable bail is called for here. My thoughts are the very highest bail should not exceed $250,000.00 allowing him to be released for %10 percent or $25,000.00 in cash or property.
There can be no question Peterson knew they were looking to jail him. He had more than ample opportunity to flee the jurisdiction and chose not to do so. Earlier police and prosecutors charged Peterson with a bogus gun law violation and Peterson never missed the chance to appear in court and seek clearing his name. The case was properly tossed out. Peterson stayed put.
Peterson has children, a pension and strong ties to the community. Peterson has never been convicted of any crime at all.
The Illinois State police were told by Peterson’s lawyer, Joel Brodsky he’d surrender Peterson any time they want him. Not only did they take Peterson down like a fugitive, they invited TV news crews to film the grand event.
The Will County Sheriff’s department knew Drew Peterson’s lawyer had arranged a continuance on the arraignment. The Sheriff ‘s department chose to hold a media driven Red Carpet Perp Walk for Peterson anyway. They paraded him before TV cameras with unusually high security. Handcuffs, belly chains, leg irons and a special chaining connecting them all were applied to Peterson along with a bright red jumpsuit.
Two very portly county jail guards took the very unusual step of parking an unnecessary distance from the courthouse prisoner receiving door then held both of his arms so they could display Peterson rather than simply bring him to court. It was a silly exercise to say the least.
Why all the special treatment you ask? Peterson unlike the vast majority of defendants has steadfastly spoken up for himself, and proclaimed his innocence to the point of hiring a publicist. TV appearances and his highly visible effort to move on with his life have obviously angered officials, family members of wives number three and four and many members of the public that can’t consume enough of this news story.
Peterson’s efforts proclaim his innocence and move forward with his life has been branded as arrogance. That happens a lot with accused suspects that are later exonerated. What’s the big deal here? Peterson has an serious obligation to his children to make all the money he can so seeking work doing TV shows and such is very reasonable.
The Peterson case is a full blown circus now and the question is, with all the special treatment can he get a fair trial? Stay tuned.
There is one additional issue here, Peterson is now incredibly famous. The cops and prosecutors working this case know they too will win fame now too. This always affects the outcome of high profile cases in a negative way.