Monday, May 11, 2009

Peterson likely to get lower bond, while case becomes a series of legal issues

I must admit that I was shocked when I originally learned that a judge in Will County set a $20 million bond for Drew Peterson on charges that he was responsible for the homicide of wife number three.

Not that I expected the one-time cop in suburban Bolingbrook to get some dinky dollar amount for a bond. I expected some high dollar total that would be impossible for Peterson to come up with – which would ensure that he spends the next year or two in the Will County Jail while awaiting criminal charges related to the death of Kathleen Savio.

IN REALITY, I would not have been surprised if the judge had just gone all out and denied bail, which would have meant that Peterson would have been among the most heinous defendants awaiting trial in the Chicago area.

Usually, bond amounts are set at levels meant to give trial judges some sense of how serious the case is.

The person who gets a $1,000 only needs to come up with $100, so it is expected that he will cough up the cash and be free while his trial is pending. The person who gets a bond of a few hundred thousand dollars is the one who usually has to have someone put up something of value.

In Peterson’s case, it could very well wind up being that house he lived in with his children by his two most recent wives that winds up being used for collateral to get a loan large enough to post bond.

WHEN A JUDGE starts issuing bonds in the millions of dollars, it is about making a statement and nothing more.

Because the reality is that Peterson, on his current $20 million bond, would need something of value totaling $2 million in order to be released from the county jail. He doesn’t have it, and everybody knows that.

But some judge who presided over the bond hearing decided to go along with the hype that this case has become all entangled in and issue a ridiculously-high dollar amount.

After all, “$20 million” looks better in a newspaper headline than does “bond denied.”

FOR THOSE WHO want to believe that a judge wouldn’t be influenced by such hype, I must admit to wondering if the timing of Peterson’s arrest was caused at least in part by the speculation that he would take a job at a brothel in Nevada – which could make him a potential pain to extradite back to Illinois in the future. (They say the answer is, “no.”)

My point with this diatribe is to say I fully expect that Peterson’s attorneys likely will be able to convince some judge at some point in the future to reset bond at a lower amount.

His attorneys told the Chicago Tribune they think Peterson’s case ought to be compared to other cases with comparable criminal charges, with bond being set along similar lines.

They tell the newspaper something like $500,000 sounds more reasonable to them, which could mean Peterson needing to find something of value of $50,000. His suburban house could easily cover that.

AND SINCE I believe it is likely that Peterson’s bond will be reset in the near future, I am already braced for the thought that Peterson will someday be a free man – walking amongst us and making wisecracks to anyone who tries to confront him about his character (or lack thereof).

What is likely to come about in coming months is going to be a contest of sorts between Peterson and one-time Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Both of them are trying to put up a front, making it appear as though the criminal cases now pending against both of them are having no affect on their demeanor.

We’re going to see who can behave in the most foolish manner – Milorod or Drew?

I also have been thinking in recent days about a point that was brought up on the “Chicago Tonight, Week in Review” program that aired on WTTW-TV last week. Both of these trials could come to a head around the same time. Which one gets top billing if they do?

I BELIEVE THE saga of Blagojevich is more significant, but the tawdriness of Peterson will prevail.

Then, there’s also the factor of trial venue. Is it possible that so many people in the Chicago area are disgusted with Peterson that he can’t get a fair trial from any jury pool put together at the courthouse in Joliet?

Are we going to get the Peterson saga playing out somewhere else, just like one of the Alejandro Hernandez/Rolando Cruz trials from DuPage County had to be shifted to Rockford?

Not likely.

THE POOL IN the Joliet area is tainted against Drew, but it likely is equally skewed against him everywhere else in the country. That is the drawback to hiring a public relations firm willing to engage in trivial stunts to try to create an alternate perception of the way the prosecutors want to portray you.

Heck, the reason Peterson’s attorneys couldn’t be with him in court last week was because they were in New York that day trying to stir up more attention about the Peterson saga.

Peterson may wind up having to take the hit from Joliet-area jurors because jurors in Peoria, Marion, Champaign or anywhere else would be equally aware of his antics.


EDITOR’S NOTES: News, of sorts, was made at O’Hare International Airport, and it didn’t ( involve any kind of airline disaster – only the media storm known as “Hurricane Drew.”

Why now after 18 months do we finally get a court case (,4_1_JO10_PETERSON_S1.article) against one Drew Peterson?

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