The criminal defense attorney who will deliver the closing argument when Drew Peterson goes on trial is on a roll, having won all three of his most his most recent jury trials, including two where his clients were charged with murder.
Attorney Joseph R. Lopez is best known for representing members of the Chicago Outfit. When Lopez was growing up in Chicago’s Little Italy neighborhood, he was given the nickname “the Shark.”
Lead Peterson defense attorney Joel Brodsky tapped Lopez to join the defense team because of his skills and success at delivering closing arguments.
“I chose Joe because he is good at what he does,” says Brodsky. “It wasn’t a stroke of genius. It is about assembling a winning team and Joe’s track record reinforces to me that I made the right decision in giving him the closing argument.”
Two of Lopez’s recent cases were murder trials. The third involved accusations of armed robbery and extortion. Lopez delivered closing arguments in all three cases and all three defendants were found not guilty.
The closing argument is the final argument made by an attorney during a trial. It represents a summation of the evidence. Closing arguments are the last chance to talk to the jury and impact their decisions. And the closing argument is considered within the legal community to be an art form of sorts.
“The closing argument is one of the most important parts of a trial, as the entire trial leads up to the summation. The argument is especially significant if the outcome of the trial is too close to predict,” according to the website caught.net. “At that point, all that matters is the attorney’s last minute attempt to persuade the jury to find in favor of his or her client.”
Peterson is charged with murder in the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. Her death originally was ruled an accidental drowning but authorities later determined it to be a homicide that was staged to look like an accident. Peterson vehemently denies any connection to Savio’s death.
Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacey, disappeared several years ago and though a suspect, he has not been charged in connection with that case.
Last week an appellate court ruled that hearsay evidence would be allowed to be presented at trial, which means two of Peterson’ ex-wives will likely “testify” during the trial even though one is dead and the other is missing.
Peterson has been in jail since May 2009 since police arrested and charged him.
Monday, April 23, 2012
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- Chicago Alderman Ed Burke Charged with Extortion by Federal Prosecutors #Corruption