Drew Peterson Defense Attorney Concerned Internet, Social Media Access Will Bias Jurors
The lead attorney for former Bolingbrook police sergeant and murder suspect Drew Peterson said in a recent interview that he may ask the judge in his high-profile client's upcoming trial to bar jurors from "researching, tweeting or Facebooking" about the case.
Attorney Joel Brodsky told the Wall Street Journal that such juror actions would create "ripe grounds for a mistrial, for throwing out a conviction or an acquittal, and we'd have to go through the process all over again. ... It would be horrible."
One possible tactic Brodsky is considering, according to CBS Chicago, is "asking jurors who are picked for their IP addresses, what their Internet provider is, what their Facebook page is, what their Twitter handle is" -- allowing any digital digging into the case to be monitored.
Peterson has been held on $20 million bail, awaiting trial since 2009 in connection with the 2004 murder of Kathleen Savio, his third wife who was found dead in a dry bathtub. He is also a suspect in the disappearance of Stacy, his fourth wife, who was last seen on October 28, 2007.
Last fall, the state Supreme Court ruled that hearsay evidence in the Savio case -- 13 statements reportedly made by Savio prior to her death -- be reconsidered by the Third District Appellate Court. The court's previous rejection of this evidence was considered by many to seriously undermine the prosecution's case against Peterson. The criminal trial was previously slated for spring 2012.
Peterson's defense attorneys are also concerned about a recent Lifetime movie about the case titled "Drew Peterson: Untouchable," which painted their client as a less-than-sympathetic character. His legal team attempted to shut down the production by issuing a cease and desist letter last summer, but were, of course, unsuccessful in their efforts. A record-breaking audience tuned in to watch the movie. Peterson himself reportedly watched the movie and thought Rob Lowe's portrayal of him was "hilarious."
Nevertheless, Brodsky told the Chicago Tribune earlier this year that, when it comes to choosing jury members for his client's trial, "one of the first questions we're going to ask is, 'Did you see the movie 'Untouchable' and did anyone in your family or your friends?"
"I would say if you want to be on the jury, you probably shouldn't watch the movie," he continued.
WATCH a previous report on the upcoming Peterson trial: