Peterson will bid to overturn conviction, court could be fiery - New York News

Peterson to bid to overturn conviction, sentencing hearing could be fiery

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JOLIET, Ill. (FOX 32 News) -

Drew Peterson will be back in court Tuesday fighting for a new trial. It's a hearing that will pit members of his legal team against one another in a potentially volatile hearing.

There is a lot on the line for Drew Peterson. He and his lawyers have to convince the judge that there were enough mistakes at trial including mistakes by Peterson's former lead attorney, Joel Brodsky, to warrant a new trial. If not, Peterson will find out his fate and head off to prison.

Drew Peterson is facing between 20 and 60 years in prison after being convicted last September of murdering his third wife Kathleen Savio.

His attorneys, now minus Joel Brodsky, will argue for a new trial partly on the grounds that Brodsky made a huge tactical error in calling attorney Harry Smith, who jurors said was a key witness convincing them of Peterson's guilt.

"When lawyers make strategic decisions, courts rarely reverse them," Richard Kling of Chicago Kent College of Law explains. "If it was just a position out of the blue that's one thing. But when Brodsky indicated several times this is a decision I am making, it's a strategic decision, courts are rarely going to reverse them."

Peterson's fight for a new trial could produce some fireworks in the courtroom, because State's Attorney James Glasgow may call Brodsky as a witness.

"The state has to argue that Mr. Brodsky did a fine and outstanding job that there was no tactical errors made in this case," Peterson's Attorney, Joe Lopez, says. "They have to defend Mr. Brodsky and defend their conviction. So in essence Mr. Glasgow is now Mr. Brodsky's attorney."

Also weighing against Peterson's effort for a new trial is the team of lawyers he had.

"I can't imagine that a court is going to say Mr. Peterson was denied effective assistance of counsel, when he had six lawyers," Kling says. "This isn't one lawyer or two lawyers, he had six lawyers standing next to him."

But attorney Joe Lopez said ineffective counsel is not the main argument for a new trial.

"Obviously we believe hearsay is the number one reason why there was no evidence to corroborate anything they said that Drew did, and they just brought in all this rumor and hearsay, we think that's one of the strongest points we have," Lopez says.

The first part of the hearing could last two days, but if the judge denies Peterson's request for a new trial, then the case moves right into the sentencing phase.

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