Drew Peterson and the "Hearsay Issues" in his case
As many of you are aware, Drew Peterson, the former Bolingbrook Police Sergeant, is being held in custody and awaiting trial for the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. Recently, the Illinois Supreme Court ordered the lower Appellate Court to "Take another look whether disputed evidence can be used against Drew Peterson when his murder trial begins."
Please click on this link to read the article: http://beaconnews.suntimes.com/news/9160562-418/appeals-court-must-consider-evidence-against-drew-peterson.html
The issue in this matter, is that the Will County State's Attorneys Office wants to use statements made by the late Kathleen Savio to "Several other people before her death" as evidence that Drew Peterson committed the offense of Murder.
The problem with these "alleged statements" is one of reliability.
Hearsay, in a nut shell, is not considered reliable evidence, where you have an individual testifying about what an out of court declarant has said, and to use that statement for its truth. There are however, hearsay exceptions that are admissible as evidence, but none of them would or should apply in this immediate case.
The State has the ultimate burden of proving a criminal case beyond a reasonable doubt, and if hearsay evidence is in and of itself "unreliable", I can't imagine how a judge or a jury can find Drew Peterson guilty with the use of such evidence, nor should it even be considered admissible.
The resolution of this issue has a tremendous bearing on our Criminal Justice system, in that if this type of "Hearsay" evidence is admissible, prosecutors may literally have a "blank check" to work with in prosecuting criminal defendants. Individuals would be free to literally put "Words in the mouth of Criminal Defendant's" and will be able to use this type of "Unreliable evidence" to prosecute individuals for very serious crimes.
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