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Drew Peterson's attorneys ask for his release

Drew Peterson May 2009
Drew Peterson AP Photo

(CBS/WBBM) JOLIET, Ill. - Former Bolingbrook police Sgt. Drew Peterson, who is being held for the death of his wife Kathleen Savio, took his case to the Illinois Supreme Court on Tuesday. He's trying to get himself released from jail.

Peterson has been in custody at the Will County Jail on a $20 million bond for more than two years as he awaits trial on murder charges in the death of his wife, reports CBS station WBBM.

He had been set to go on trial in July 2010, but the trial was postponed the day before the jury selection was to begin due to an appeal by prosecutors seeking to allow hearsay statements. The Illinois Appellate ruled in July that prosecutors had filed their appeal late.

Prosecutors are now appealing that decision to the Illinois Supreme Court which could take more than a year.

It is for that reason that defense attorneys say Peterson should be released now. If not, Peterson is being denied his right to a speedy trial because of the prosecution's legal maneuvers, the defense says.

"His constitutional right to a speedy trial is being violated. Nobody can deny that. The government can't hold somebody locked up in solitary confinement for 13 months, when they don't have enough evidence to convict them or take the case to trial," said Peterson defense attorney Joel Brodsky to WBBM. "So yes, he should be released, and his rights are being violated."

Brodsky continued saying that Peterson's lengthy stay in jail without a trial is something a prisoner would see in an authoritarian regime. He hopes in the next 30 days or so, the justices will consider the motion and order Peterson's immediate release from jail.

Savio was found dead in the drained bathtub of her Bolingbrook home on March 1, 2004. Initially, the death was ruled an accidental drowning, but a second autopsy, performed in November 2007, found that the death was a homicide.

Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, disappeared in October 2007. Peterson has never been charged in her disappearance, but members of her family have suspected him from the beginning.

Peterson has maintained his fourth wife ran way with another man, but her family members say that is absurd, and that Stacy would never abandon her children.

Peterson's bond was set at $20 million when he was arrested in May 2009, and he has been held in solitary confinement for 13 months.

Complete Coverage of Drew Peterson on Crimesider

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