We would like to first thank everyone who was able to attend the hearing today to support Jamie, the Snow family, and the Exoneration Project. Your support in the courtroom speaks volumes, and we deeply appreciate everyone who was able to attend. I know there were many of you who were unable to attend, but the outpouring of good wishes on Jamie’s social media sites means the world to us! I cannot WAIT to tell him about all of the wonderful posts and hearing attendees – it makes a difference!
A few of us at lunch.
As discussed previously, the court’s primary issue to decide here is whether the successive post conviction petition was unfairly denied. Just to be clear – ALL we are asking for is chance to file this petition which was filed in May 2103 and was denied outright by the lower court – without a hearing.
The Oral Arguments audio is already online, so slap your headphones on and take a listen!
This hearing was held before a panel of three judges: Lisa Holder White, James A. Knecht and Robert J. Steigmann. Each side argued for 20 minutes (starting with the defendant), followed by the State, and ending with the defendant getting 5 minutes for rebuttal.
In reference to the polygraph received obtained through FOIA request – the one NEVER revealed to Jamie’s defense team prior to trial – in which star witness Danny Martinez specifically stated that Jamie Snow was not the person he saw – the State continued to make the weak argument that Martinez was referring to the 1991 line up in which Martinez failed to id Jamie Snow. In the polygraph worksheet notes, it describes the witness airing up his tires, then specifically says: “w says this is not the person he saw.” The State claims the defense is “blowing this up” and turning into something that goes to misconduct by the government. However, there’s no evidence that this note meant anything more than what was written.
Judge Steigmann had an excellent question for the state: So, the witness failed to identify petitioner in the lineup within a few weeks of the crime, and then 3 years later when this polygraph exam is taken, the note in the margin says that Martinez says petitioner is not the person he saw, and…your…description of that is that refers to the lineup?
Thats when things got fuzzy. A lengthy response that didn’t really answer his very straightforward question at all. She still ended with saying that it was a ‘shorthand’ way of saying that Martinez did not ID Jamie in the lineup.
There were also questions by both Knecht and Steigmann concerning affidavits that were previously submitted in which witnesses stated that Martinez and Jamie were acquainted growing up, and that Martinez had told people that he knew Jamie Snow and that Jamie was not the person he saw. The State’s response was basically that there is no evidence that Martinez knew Jamie (and how he looked) during the time of the crime, even if he knew him growing up.
Concerning the affidavit that was submitted by one of the jailhouse informants wives, there were several questions from Stiegmann about why she came forward years later. It was really a bizarre exchange that he simply would not let go of. You just have to hear it yourself, he harped on that issue to the point of absurdity. Not sure anyone knew where he was going with that. Finally, he asked an odd question about whether it we should ‘…stop everything if she came forward in 2025? Tara was like, “Yes.” It isn’t unusual for a witness to come forward years, sometimes even decades later. This is certainly not the first time this has happened.
There was also a focus on the details of the affidavit. Knecht pointed out that the affidavit was unique in that it had so many details such as naming the the detective that put pressure on them, and explaining other details – and that they usually do not see such detailed affidavits.
I do not recall any questions concerning the failed polygraphs by jailhouse informants. Although the State went down the list of jailhouse informants, expressed the leniency they received AFTER they testified. I guess she was trying to make the point that there was no evidence of deals or promises BEFORE they testified. It was another strange event, and I’m not sure how that’s going to work out for them. I just kept thinking what an odd coincidence it was that they ALL received favor on thier cases after they testified.
During rebuttal, Steigmann made another bizarre comment, “…Mr. Snow sounds like a real mope who really did a hell of a job incriminating himself by his behavior…” So, of course, I had to look that one up. According to the Urban Dictionary:
Mope: A person of any race or culture that is: presenting themselves as uneducated (either by mannerisms or the clothing they are wearing). Plural = Mopes Mopes usually are up to no good and may have an extensive criminal record and a limited vocabulary.
Aside from sentencing hearings, I don’t believe I’ve ever heard a higher court judge say anything so disparaging in court about a defendant. Perhaps I’m naive, but I seriously think that comment crosses an ethical line. I’m sure Jamie’s daughter didn’t appreciate having her father talked about in such a derogatory manner by an appellate court judge.
In closing, Tara Thompson did a wonderful job of stressing thoughout the arguments that the new evidence must be looked at cumulatively. And that Brady says we must ask ourselves if the new evidence undermines our confidence in the verdict. We say yes, it does.
Media about this hearing:
WJBC: Attorneys argue merits of witness testimony during murder appeal
The Pantagraph: Snow makes new bid for hearing on DNA testing
What will be argued?
This time around, we are presenting “Brady” evidence. Which means evidence that was favorable to the defendant, but was withheld from him prior to trial. So what do we have?
Polygraph: This is actually a polygraph worksheet that was obtained through FOIA requests from supporters. The actual polygraph is Jamie Snow’s – 1994. In the notes on the worksheet, “Star witness” Danny Martinez says in reference to the suspect that Snow was not the person he saw.
This evidence was never turned over to Snow. In the state’s reply brief, they make a few very thin arguments.
1) They question whether the “28 year old white male suspect” was actually Jamie Snow. However, the state neglected to redact Snow’s name on the second page of the report. Guess they missed this part?
2) The state goes onto concede that “under the assumption Snow was the subject of the polygraph, ” the witness saying the defendant “is not the person he saw” seems like a “shorthand way of explaining that Martinez did not identify defendant in 1991 when defendant stood as part of an in-person lineup that Martinez viewed.” There is absolutely no evidence that Martinez was referring to the 1991 lineup in which he did not identify Snow, or any of the other photo array’s over the years in which he failed to ID Snow.
3) Finally, the state explains that Martinez was NOT a critical witness. “Therefore, the record rebuts defendant’s characterization of Martinez as a “critical” witness against him.” And bolsters Luna’s ID at “a lot stronger than Martinez.” Recall, Luna was the 14 year old boy who ‘closed his eyes and imagined each of them doing it, and Jamie Snow best fit.” One of the few the state didn’t ask to ID Snow in court, and also one that happened to give an affidavit recanting his ID. How convenient to be able to rewrite history, eh? If only the rest of us had those magical powers.
In addition to the above claims, 2 failed polygraphs from jailhouse informants, and an affidavit from one of these informants wives is being presented. As with the above, the state is claiming, had this evidence been presented at trial, it would not have changed the outcome.
Unlike previous arguments before the appellate court, we feel these arguments will be based on Brady material, or material that was not disclosed to the defense prior to trial. And also based on whether or not this new evidence would have changed the outcome of the trial.
We sincerely hope that you will join us at this hearing on May 12th at 11am in Springfield to support Jamie Snow and The Exoneration Project.
Below are the pleadings and responses that will be argued:
This video outlines much of the new evidence discovered SINCE the trial in the Jamie Snow case. It’s important to understand, the jury was NEVER presented with this evidence.
Please let me know if you have questions!
Thanks for watching.
A couple of year’s ago, Jamie read Paul Ciolino’s book, In the Company of Giants. Before the book even got started, Jamie was stopped in his tracks by this phrase:
VERITAS VALET VITAE
(The Truth is Worth One’s Life)
I don’t blame him. After all, Jamie was convicted based on false witness identification and jailhouse informants and THAT’S the extent of the evidence against him. None of the physical evidence tested at the time matched him, not a fingerprint, not a shoe print, not a swab of blood. It was the sheer volume of informants that testified against him, saying he “confessed.”
There were people he had been in prison with at one time or another, that Jamie had spent minimal time with. It was (sadly) a running joke in McLean County Jail, “Who’s the next one that’s going to say ‘Jamie told me he did it?'”
The problem is, none of their stories matched. Guess the state didn’t see that as such a problem, because they indeed got their conviction.
One said Jamie said he was at a party down the street, walked up to the gas station and the attendant wouldn’t give him cigarettes. So he went back down to the party, and came back and shot him and took his cigarettes because the kid had a smart mouth. The problem with that story is the owner of the house said there was no party, and his son (who would have thrown the party) was in McLean County jail at the time. Another nifty fact – no cigarettes were missing. Oops. This informant landed up doing about 5 years for a 6th Criminal Felony DUI. He got the 6th when he was out on bond, waiting to testify. This entire “confession” happened when Jamie was on a court writ, and temporarily in another prison for about a week. He hadn’t seen this informant since they were around 1o yrs old. The informant just happened to be a sanitation worker, and passed by his cell – that’s when the “confession” happened. When asked by the Assistant State’s Attorney, Teena Griffin, to identify Jamie in court, he couldn’t point him out. We also recently found out that he failed a polygraph prior to the trial, and that he wrote letters as early as 1994 to the State’s Attorney – letters that were never disclosed to the defense.
Another said there were three of them and they pulled up for gas. But Jamie Snow decided “He didn’t have to pay for gas.” So he went in and shot the guy. He named the other two, both of whom landed up on the state’s witness list. Nice. Suspects ending up testifying against the defendant? How novel.
One of the above named witnesses testified that he passed Jamie the next day in a car, and Jamie said, “Did you read about me in the paper? Gun goes off, kid dies.” That informant has given an affidavit saying that he lied due to police pressure. In truth, Jamie knew this informant had committed a string of burglaries and said, “I read about you in the paper.” And the guy got pissed off and drove off. The other named was never called to testify. Wonder why?
One said that he was coming in from out of town, and he called Jamie to pick him up at the bus station. From prior police reports, we know he was paid $600 for giving information to the police. Jamie “confessed” to him, but on the stand, he testified that he thought Jamie was joking. I think he was trying to play both sides of the law. In any case, Jamie didn’t have a phone or car at the time. So it would be difficult for the whole scenario to have occurred. He has also since given an affidavit.
And yet another said that Jamie confessed to him in County Jail. He has since given an affidavit saying he and Jamie got into a fight over a game of Dominoes in the yard, and he got moved to another pod. He knew he couldn’t get back at him physically, so he sent a flyer to the police, saying he had information about the case.
And we have one who spent time with Jamie in Florida. His testimony doesn’t match his police reports at all. For that matter, none of them do. But this one is sad. He was a registered sex offender. He had been interviewed by at least two independent investigators and he broke down in tears. Apparently, they threatened him very harshly. He was so afraid he wouldn’t sign an affidavit.
There’s so much more, but you get the point. We have uncovered so much new evidence, that two of the above have failed polygraphs, the “star witness” Danny Martinez told police as early as 1994 that Jamie was not the person he saw, that the state had written letters to informants in prison – never disclosed to the defense. It goes on and on.
We want the DNA evidence tested by an independent lab, and have thus far been denied. We want national attention to this case. We want to expose the state’s attorney (now judge) who already has TWO wrongful convictions under his belt. We want to know what happened to reward money which just disappeared. We want people to come forward and tell the TRUTH. That’s all we want – the truth.
Veritas. Valet. Vitae. – Truth is Worth One’s Life.
That’s the theme of the 4th Annual Postcards in the Park. It is so very true. Jamie’s release absolutely depends on people telling the truth. Why is that so hard? We hope you will join us. You don’t have to be present to participate. We are sending postcards this year to Keith Morrison from Dateline. Details are on the Facebook Event page.
And if you want some Jamie Snow schwag, we have it all set up here! Cool VERITAS VALET VITAE t-shirts and wristbands, all under this years theme.
We need your help to support this event, so please buy if you’re able. If not, please share. But mostly, please join the FB Event Page and send postcards to Mr. Morrison.
In solidarity – tam