Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow has won the Mitchell A. Mars Prosecutorial Excellence Award for his outstanding effort in the prosecution of former Bolingbrook police sergeant Drew Peterson in the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, the Chicago Crime Commission announced Wednesday.
Glasgow will be honored at the Stars of Distinction 2012 awards dinner on Nov. 7.
“We are pleased to recognize the efforts of Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow by honoring him with the Chicago Crime Commission’s Mitchell A. Mars Prosecutorial Excellence Award,” said J.R. Davis, the president and chairman of the Chicago Crime Commission.
“His unrelenting commitment to justice prompted the passage of legislation that will forever affect how prosecutorial procedures are carried out in Illinois,” Davis said.
After nearly two years of litigation before the Third District Appellate Court and the Illinois Supreme Court, Glasgow and his team were granted a ruling that would change the course of the case. In April 2012 the Third District Appellate Court effectively overturned Judge Stephen White's earlier decision by ruling that the prosecution team could use eight statements made by both the victim prior to her death and by Peterson's still-missing fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, prior to her disappearance.
The Peterson prosecution was a five-year process that involved a number of groundbreaking initiatives. The Will County State’s Attorney’s Office conducted an 18-month Special Grand Jury investigation following the disappearance of Stacy Peterson. In addition, Glasgow filed a petition to exhume Savio's body, after which second and third autopsies revealed compelling new evidence that assisted him in proving she was murdered and not the victim of a slip-and-fall accident.
Glasgow also worked with the general assembly to draft and enact new legislation that placed the concept of “forfeiture by wrongdoing” into the Illinois criminal rules of evidence. Forfeiture by wrongdoing enables prosecutors to enter relative and probative hearsay statements into evidence if they can prove a defendant killed a witness to prevent him or her from testifying. The Illinois Supreme Court eventually adopted the common law doctrine of forfeiture by wrongdoing in its decision regarding a DuPage County murder case and then adopted the federal rules on forfeiture by wrongdoing.
On Sept. 6, after a lengthy and contentious trial, a jury convicted Drew Peterson of first-degree murder. He is awaiting sentencing.
“Through patience and diligence, James Glasgow brought a guilty man to justice. He truly exemplifies the meaning of the title ‘Prosecutor’,” Davis said.
“I am truly honored to accept the distinguished Mitchell A. Mars Prosecutorial Excellence Award on behalf of the entire Will County State’s Attorney’s Office and the extraordinarily talented prosecutors who helped secure this important verdict,” Glasgow said. “This five-year battle made it all the way up to the Illinois Supreme Court and back before culminating with a critical victory for battered and abused women across Illinois. Successful prosecutions like this are only possible through the hard work and dedication of every attorney, legal secretary and administrator in my office. I am blessed to have such an excellent staff.”
The Chicago Crime Commission Stars of Distinction Mitchell A. Mars Prosecutorial Excellence Award is named after the late assistant U.S. attorney who is credited with convicting some of Chicago’s most notorious organized crime figures in the Operation Family Secrets trial.
“As a recipient of the Mitchell A. Mars Prosecutorial Excellence Award, Glasgow finds himself in the company of some of Illinois’ finest prosecutors,” Davis said. “Past recipients of the award include state and federal prosecutors responsible for ridding our communities of street gang leaders, outfit members, drug dealers and murderers,” he added.