PROSECUTORIAL SPOTLIGHT AWARDThe Chicago Crime Commission Prosecutorial Spotlight Award is presented to the Cook County State's Attorney's Office Assistant State's Attorney Jim McKay, Assistant State's Attorney Veryl Gambino and Assistant State's Attorney Jennifer Bagby.
The case of People v. William Balfour garnered national interest because the victims were relatives of celebrity singer and actress, Jennifer Hudson. The level of interest also meant that the prosecution team's every move was scrutinized.
The Cook County prosecutors were faced not only with inevitable media attention but also with a case that produced no eyewitness and no confessions. They had to rely largely on circumstantial evidence, such as cellular telephone technology that was used to track Balfour's location at relevant times during the crime. The prosecutors also struggled with having to rely upon reluctant witnesses to testify against Balfour.
Despite all of these challenges the prosecution persevered. A jury convicted William Balfour of three counts of first-degree murder and sentenced him to natural life in prison without the possibility of parole.MITCHELL A. MARS PROSECUTORIAL EXCELLENCE AWARDThe Chicago Crime Commission Mitchell A. Mars Prosecutorial Excellence Award is presented to Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow for his outstanding effort in the prosecution of former Bolingbrook police sergeant Drew Peterson in the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. After nearly two years of litigation before the Third District Appellate Court and the Illinois Supreme Court, State's Attorney 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, 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, State's Attorney Glasgow filed a petition to exhume the body of Kathleen Savio, 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. State's Attorney 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 September 6, 2012 after a lengthy and contentious trial, a jury convicted Drew Peterson of the first-degree murder of Kathleen Savio. He currently awaits sentencing. PAWS OF DISTINCTION AWARDThe Chicago Crime Commission PAWS of Distinction Award is presented to DEA Special Agent Robert Glynn and K9 Partner Rudy. This award recognizes the invaluable service that canine units lend to law enforcement. The 2012 recipients prove that these highly trained companions and their handlers very much deserve recognition for preventing and solving crimes, a task that would be much more difficult if not impossible without their unique collaboration.