The appellate court's cleared the way for the former Bolingbrook cop's murder trial to start in Will County court — but when will that be?
"The bottom line is, nobody knows," said Joseph "Shark" Lopez, the Chicago attorney tasked with presenting the closing argument at Peterson's murder trial, whenever that murder trial closes.
One thing certain is that the case will not make it back to the Will County courthouse in Joliet any sooner than May 17, and could likely take even longer than that. The minimum 35-day period between the appellate court announcing its decision and the case coming back to Joliet gives the losing side a chance to appeal the ruling.
And once it returns to the Will County courthouse, a judge must be appointed to preside over it. The judge who had been assigned to the Peterson case for almost a year and a half, Stephen White, retired in October 2010.
Three other Will County judges — Richard Schoenstedt, Carla Alessio Policandriotes and Daniel Rozak — also have been taken out of the mix. State’s Attorney James Glasgow used his one uncontested challenge to bypass Schoenstedt, and Peterson’s lawyers used their two substitutions to remove Alessio Policandriotes and Rozak.
Peterson, who faces charges he murdered his third wife, Kathleen Savio, in March 2004, was set to go to trial in July 2010, but a last minute appeal by prosecutors over what hearsay evidence will be allowed sent the case on a 21-month journey through the appellate and state supreme courts.
And while that journey looks to be reaching its destination with a trial in Joliet, no one can be sure.
"It's just a guess," Lopez said, suggesting the case's future might be better predicted "if we had a Ouija board, maybe."