Bears jerseys at the Drew Peterson trial? Where’s the respect?
By RICHARD ROEPER August 28, 2012 2:58PM
The jury in the Drew Peterson case wore sports jerseys Monday, Aug. 27, 2012. Sketch by L.D. Chuckman.
Updated: September 30, 2012 6:17AM
It started with the color coordinating.
One day all the jurors in the Drew Peterson trial showed up in black.
The next day it was blue.
The following week, they all found hues of brown and green in their closets, and dressed accordingly.
When I asked Peterson defense attorney Joel Brodsky about these sartorial displays, he surmised it was a show of unity. I talked to a number of reporters covering the trial and some legal analysts, and they agreed: It was a show of unity, of oneness, of sticking together.
OK — but aren’t they supposed to wait until after closing arguments and they’re debating the case before the individuals all come together and show unity via their verdict? Why are they even having conversations about what they’re going to wear to the trial every day, and why aren’t the lawyers or the judge asking about it?
Things went from slightly strange to bizarre Monday, when the jurors and the alternates showed up in court wearing sports team clothing.
Seven wore Bears shirts. Three were in White Sox jerseys, two in Blackhawks sweaters, one in a Packers jersey, one a Carolina Panthers T-shirt and one wearing an Augustana College football jersey.
According to courtroom reporters, some in the galley laughed when the jurors entered. When a member of Peterson’s defense team suggested Judge Edward Burmila take a picture of the jury, Burmila joked, “The only reason to take this picture is to demonstrate that no one is unintelligent enough to wear a Cubs jersey.”
Laughter and applause ensued.
When Peterson defense attorney Steve Greenberg questioned the first witness of the day, Mary Pontarelli, he started by asking what jersey she would wear. Pontarelli answered “White Sox,” and Greenberg said, “Instant credibility!” drawing laughs from the gallery.
This is all going down at a murder trial. Where one of the most infamous figures in America is facing charges he killed his ex-wife and made it look like she had drowned in the bathtub. And many believe he killed his still-missing fourth wife as well, though he’s not on trial for that.
And at this murder trial, jurors are wearing Bears jerseys, as if they’re in a sports bar or getting ready to climb onto a double-decker bus for a high school reunion party — and the judge thinks that’s funny?
Cirque du Drew
So many people are referring to the Peterson trial as a circus because that’s what it’s become.
Three calls for a mistrial in the first week of testimony.
Defense attorneys Brodsky and Joel and Lisa Lopez sporting sunglasses while facing the media.
Peterson winking at television personality Judge Jeanine Pirro, who tweeted about the gesture.
Cincinnati restaurateur Jeff Ruby taking out an ad calling Peterson’s defense team “Shameless,” showing up to court and mouthing “[bleep] you” to Peterson and offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of Stacy Peterson.
In an interview with Roe Conn and me on WLS-AM, Ruby recounted his fallout with O.J. Simpson, whom he threw out of his restaurant. “He’s a nice guy, he bought one of my cocktail waitresses a boob job,” said Ruby.
And yes, Brodsky calls in to our radio show and has openly talked about defense strategy, which makes for great theater but just adds to the overall strangeness of this trial. I’m not going to pretend I’m above talking to Brodsky, imitating Brodsky, cracking jokes about Brodsky and his client.
But I’m not on the jury. I’m not in that courtroom as an attorney or a judge.
On Tuesday, the jurors dressed in red, white or blue, and sat in red, white and blue order. Patriotic! Let’s show everyone just how clever we can be!
If I were on the bench, and a jury in a murder trial dressed as if they were about to go tailgating at a Bears game or they were on their way to a Fourth of July barbecue, I would have called a recess and told them to knock if off.
Kathleen Savio was a mother, a sister, a daughter. Whether she was murdered or her death was accidental, she is the reason everyone is gathered for that trial. Her memory deserves more respect.
The courtroom is not a comedy club.