Tag Archives: conviction

Illinois court upholds murder conviction of Drew Peterson

Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017|9:10 a.m.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill.– The use of hearsay testament to convict previous Chicago-area policeman Drew Peterson in the death of his third better half appertained, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled Thursday in maintaining the conviction.

The high court, in an unanimous decision, found that hearsay statement from Peterson’s dead 3rd better half and missing fourth partner did not violate his constitutional right to challenge his accusers since of evidence that Peterson eliminated them to prevent their testimony.

The 63-year-old previous authorities sergeant from the Chicago residential area of Bolingbrook is serving a 38-year sentence in the 2004 death of ex-wife Kathleen Savio. He’ll follow that with 40 more years after a conviction in 2015 on claims that he plotted to kill the prosecutor who put him behind bars.

Savio’s body was discovered in a dry bath tub in 2004, weeks before a set up hearing to identify financial and child custody problems related to her divorce from Peterson. Her death was at first ruled accidental, however the case was reopened after the 2007 disappearance of Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy Peterson. Savio’s body was exhumed, an autopsy was conducted and her death was ruled a murder.

Stacy Peterson is presumed dead, though her body has actually never been discovered. Drew Peterson stays a suspect in her disappearance, however he has never been charged.

Prosecutors had no physical proof connecting Peterson to Savio’s death and no witnesses placing him at the scene, so they relied on hearsay– statements Savio made to family members and in a written declaration to cops prior to she passed away and that Stacy Peterson made to her pastor and a divorce lawyer prior to she disappeared.

Rumor is any info reported by a witness that is not based on the witness’ direct understanding. The Illinois court’s judgment, written by Justice Margaret Theis, discovered appropriate usage of hearsay– generally forbidden in criminal procedures due to the fact that it cannot be challenged– under a legal doctrine of “loss by misdeed.”

“We can not state that the trial court’s finding that the state showed that accused murdered Kathleen to avoid her from testifying was ‘unreasonable, approximate, or not based on the proof presented,'” Theis composed.

An attorney for Peterson did not instantly respond to a request for discuss the ruling.

Illinois embraced a hearsay law in 2008 customized to Drew Peterson’s case, dubbed “Drew’s Law,” which helped in making a few of the evidence admissible.

Peterson was moved from a state jail in Chester, Illinois, to a federal jail in Terre Haute, Indiana, in February, after Illinois prison authorities cited concerns that he presented a security hazard.

U.S. court upends murder conviction of Blackwater professional

Friday, Aug. 4, 2017|2:03 p.m.

WASHINGTON– A federal appeals court on Friday reversed the first-degree murder conviction of a former Blackwater security professional, ordering a new trial for the guy district attorneys say fired the very first shots in the 2007 slayings of 14 Iraqi civilians at a crowded traffic circle in Baghdad.

In a split viewpoint, the three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia Circuit ruled a lower court erred by not permitting Nicholas Slatten to be tried independently from his 3 co-defendants in 2014. The 33-year-old specialist from Tennessee is serving a life sentence for his role in the killings, which strained global relations and drew intense scrutiny of the role of American contractors in the Iraq War.

The court also bought new sentences for the three other contractors, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard. They were each condemned of manslaughter and firearms charges bring mandatory 30-year terms.

The judges figured out those sentences breached the constitutional prohibition of cruel and unusual penalty due to the fact that district attorneys charged them with using military firearms while dedicating another felony. That statute, normally employed against gang members or bank robbers, had actually never ever previously been utilized against abroad security specialists working for the United States government.

A representative for the United States attorney’s workplace in Washington said district attorneys were still reviewing the decision and had no instant remark.

Bill Coffield, a lawyer for Liberty, said he planned to meet with Liberty to evaluate their choices. “Undoubtedly we’re pleased with the court’s decision in regards to the unconstitutionality of the sentence,” he stated.

At the weekslong trial kept in 2014, federal prosecutors and defense attorney presented really various versions of what set off the September 2007 massacre in Nisour Square.

The government described the killings as a one-sided ambush of unarmed civilians, while the defense stated the guards opened fire only after a white Kia sedan seen as a possible suicide car bomb began moving quickly towards their convoy. After the shooting stopped, no proof of a bomb found.

In issuing their ruling benefiting the accuseds, the judges said they remained in no way excusing the scary of occasions they stated “defies civilized description.”

“In reaching this conclusion, we by no methods plan to decrease the carnage attributable to Slough, Heard and Liberty’s actions,” said U.S. Circuit Judge Karen L. Henderson, composing for the court. “Their bad judgments resulted in the deaths of lots of innocent people.”

Man launched after 28-year-old murder conviction overturned

Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015|12:28 a.m.

DALLAS– A man imprisoned for 28 years for the 1987 slayings of two people in Dallas was launched Monday after his conviction based on now-discredited bite-mark analysis was reversed.

Steven Mark Chaney was sentenced to life in jail after a dental expert told a Dallas County jury in 1989 there was a 1 in a million chance that someone besides Chaney made bite marks discovered on John Sweek’s body. The dental expert now states he was incorrect.

State District Judge Dominique Collins overturned Chaney’s conviction after getting on a joint demand from Dallas County District Lawyer Susan Hawk, The Innocence Job and the Dallas County Public Defender’s Workplace. Chaney, 59, will stay free while the Texas Court of Wrongdoer Appeals reviews the conclusions.

“I could sit and recount all the wrongs,” Chaney informed reporters after Monday’s hearing. “The loss of my earliest stepson, my oldest grandchild two year back, however this is a time for rejoicing and not recounting.”

A minimum of one juror after Chaney’s trial said the bite evidence convinced her he was guilty, regardless of testimony from nine witnesses who stated they had actually spent time with him the day of the slayings which he couldn’t have actually been at John and Sally Sweek’s house when they were killed.

Recently, forensic researchers have actually raised doubts about the reliability of bite mark evidence. In 2009, the National Academy of Sciences published a report that concluded there was insufficient scientific basis to conclusively match bite marks. The Texas Forensic Science Commission is evaluating cases in which bite analysis contributed to a conviction to figure out whether they call for more examination.

The defense lawyers likewise allege that prosecutors knowingly presented incorrect evidence that blood had been found on the bottom of Chaney’s athletic shoe. They state district attorneys withheld notes from another professional who stated there was no blood on Chaney’s shoes.

They likewise say district attorneys generated false testament from a co-worker of Chaney’s, who initially told police that Chaney had asked him to be a “witness” to tell authorities that he had last been at the victims’ home a week prior to the killings. But at trial, the co-worker told the jury that Chaney had actually asked him to be an “alibi” witness.

Chaney’s lawyers have filed court papers saying new proof establishes he is innocent. The district lawyer’s workplace has taken no position yet on whether he is innocent but concluded he did not receive a reasonable trial.

“We’re confident that when the reinvestigation is complete, the district attorney’s workplace will be in a position to officially agree that he is innocent of this criminal activity,” stated Julie Less, exoneration attorney for the Dallas County Public Protector’s Office, in a statement.

Sex transgressor gets life in prison for guns conviction

A founded guilty sex wrongdoer apprehended at his Las Vegas home while with a young boy and in ownership of a firearm was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison, Nevada U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden said.

William Oliver Smith, 43, pleaded guilty in February to one count of felon in belongings of a firearm and consented to the life sentence.

“We should all be thankful for the work of our investigators and prosecutors in making sure neighborhood security and that this defendant will never again hurt anymore kids,” Bogden said.

According to his plea agreement, Las Vegas police found Smith at his house in May 2013 with a 10-year-old child. Smith was jailed for lewdness with a minor, and during a search officers recuperated a. 38 quality handgun in a drawer alongside his bed.

Smith was formerly founded guilty of sexual assault of a minor and taking indecent liberties with a kid in North Carolina, child molestation in Brazil and tried sexual assault in Reno.

Contact Jeff German at [email protected]!.?.! or 702-380-8135. Discover him on Twitter: @JGermanRJ