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Jamie Snow’s federal appeal given new life

When a Northern Illinois District Court judge denied Snow’s federal habeas petition right before Christmas, she also summarily denied his request to appeal the decision to a higher court by issuing a denial of Snow’s Certificate of Appealability (COA) at the same time.

The Exoneration Project immediately appealed the denial of the COA, and was granted the right to appeal to the Seventh Circuit on February 18th. The order explicitly states:

We find that Snow has made a substantial showing of the denial of his right to

(1) the effective assistance of trial counsel with respect to evidence about Danny Martinez and Carlos Lunda, and

(2) due process under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963).

We also find that the district court’s procedural default determination is debatable.

In order to obtain a COA under § 2253(c), a habeas prisoner must make a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right, a demonstration that, under Barefoot, includes showing that reasonable jurists could debate whether (or, for that matter, agree that) the petition should have been resolved in a different manner or that the issues presented were “‘adequate to deserve encouragement to proceed further.'”

Further, in order to obtain a certificate of appealability when dismissal is based on procedural grounds, a petitioner must show, “at least, that jurists of reason would find it debatable whether the petition states a valid claim of the denial of a constitutional right and that jurists of reason would find it debatable whether the district court was correct in its procedural ruling.” Slack, 529 U.S. at 484.

We are very excited to be able to present Jamie’s case to the Seventh Circuit.

We currently do not have definitive timelines for the procedures, but will keep you posted updated.

Thanks!
tam

Supporters appeal to Aphrodite Jones to investigate the Jamie Snow case

Thanks to everyone who attended this year’s Postcards in the Park. I know everyone wasn’t able to film, but this is a representation of supporters for Jamie Snow’s innocence.

We hope Aphrodite Jones will pay attention, and decide to take a deeper look into this case. In any case, we cannot possibly thank all of you enough for your continued support.

Jamie Snow supporters are the best. We do NOT give up! <3

Huh? Jamie Snow’s lawyers wrangle about court ordered discovery at the BPD…seriously.

huhEven though the judge ordered photos of the crime scene, it seems when it “came down to the wire” the state objected to a series of photos being scanned.

The big question is “Why?”

I get it. It’s a lawyer thing. The State Representative is there to protect the State. But I can’t help but think it goes a little deeper than that. We must wonder why they will not open the file. What do they have to hide? What are they protecting the State “from?” And if Jamie Snow is guilty, why not just open all of the discovery?

Instead, they take it to the judge because that’s what lawyers have to do.

So here we are.

The Exoneration Project necessarily filed a motion to scan the photos. McLean County filed a response that Jamie Snow does not have a right to those photos under the current order.

Why doesn’t Jamie Snow have the right to his entire file? All photos, all police reports, EVERYTHING. Why are they so defensive? Ironic, isn’t it?

If you are so inclined, below are links to both motions, along with select quotes.

Quote from motion by Jamie Snow’s counsel, asking to see the photos, explaining the incident:

“However, on April 26, 2016, while the State and counsel for Mr. Snow were reviewing photographs at BPD. the State objected to counsel scanning some photographs in BPD’s possession, including close-up photographs of a red car in the parking lot of the gas station, and photographs showing a dark car that appeared to be in a garage.”

Quote from response by the State, asking the court to deny the request:

“Now that this court has granted ‘limited discovery’… they now seek to widen the scope to un-targeted items.”

Thanks for your support. We will be gathering peacefully in the park in July (as we’ve done for the last 5 years) to support Jamie. Feel free to join us!

Thanks for reading-

Tam

 

Jason Chambers defends is opposition to DNA testing on Facebook

A recent Ground Report article by Bruce Fischer outlines a discussion involving McLean County State’s Attorney Jason Chambers in reference to the DNA testing issue in Jamie Snow’s case.

Definitely worth the read…screenshots and all.

He still doesn’t answer the question, “Why not test the DNA?”

“Jason Chambers manages to rattle off a series of falsehoods all within a single post consisting of 5 sentences. Those falsehoods, along with others seen in the screenshots.

Here is a snippet taken from the screenshots at the link:

Facebook Poster: “If the DNA test cost the state NOTHING and can prove one way or the other why not have it done? I have to agree test the DNA I really do not see any issue not to.”

Chamber’s response: “There is nothing they want tested which would prove innocence at this point. They are requesting one thing to be tested which already was tested. It is not like a sex assault case where they are requesting a sex assault kit be tested to prove exactly whose DNA was involved in a rape. They want to argue that because someone else’s DNA was in the gas station, it must have been someone else, and that is simply not that case.”

Click here for the full article: Jason Chambers posts misinformation on Facebook to defend his opposition to DNA testing in Jamie Snow case

Inmates, supporters get creative in bid to bring attention to cases

Chicago Tribune – Amid the commercial billboards along the Stevenson Expressway, a smaller wooden sign sticks out: Free Matt Sopron, it reads.

Supporters of another inmate who’s in prison for the 1991 murder and armed robbery of a gas station attendant in downstate Bloomington have passed out “Free Jamie Snow” wristbands to focus attention on his efforts to get DNA testing to help prove his innocence.

And backers of John Horton use social media to inform the public about the Rockford man’s efforts to unravel his conviction. Full Article…

New Petition Asks McLean County State’s Attorney Jason Chambers To Allow DNA Testing In The Jamie Snow Case

By: Article by Wrongful Conviction News

Injustice Anywhere, an organization working to correct wrongful convictions, has launched a petition JamieSnowUpdateasking McLean County State’s Attorney Jason Chambers to allow DNA testing in the Jamie Snow case.

Jamie Snow was wrongfully convicted in 2000, of a 1991 “cold case” murder and armed robbery of a gas station attendant in Bloomington, Illinois. Snow is an innocent man who remains in prison while DNA evidence goes untested in his case, even though not one shred of physical evidence has ever linked Snow to the crime.

For nearly 8 years the McLean County State’s Attorney’s Office (SAO) has fought DNA testing in this case, despite the fact that the University of Chicago’s Exoneration Project has agreed to pay for ALL DNA testing at NO COST to McLean County tax payers. The petition simply asks Jason Chambers to allow the Exoneration Project to pay for the DNA testing. There is absolutely no logical reason for Chambers to continue blocking the tests. There is no doubt that if this crime had occurred today, that the state would test every single piece of physical evidence collected from the crime scene.

The Injustice Anywhere petition provides detailed information about the Jamie Snow case and also includes an audio message from Snow. Please take a moment to read the petition and listen to Snow’s audio recording. You can click on this link to view the petition: Support DNA Testing for Jamie Snow

Nov 3, 2015: Naked as a J bird! Well, almost…

Hi Jamie,

I hope you’re still hangin’ in there, bro! I’ve been pretty busy and we have indeed made some progress! I did find out the the back rest I previously mentioned is actually set up for a slightly larger CB750 and is waaaay too damn wide to fit your CX. However, on the brighter side I do have a stock rear chrome luggage rack. This rack was actually made for this model bike and mounts the rear turn signals to it. I have included a picture of it mounted on the bike and I looks really great! Now if Tammy slides backwards on acceleration, the worst that will happen is an imprint on her ass that resembles either a mini barbecue grill or a xylophone. That’s wrong, isn’t it? I lost my “filter” years ago soooooo. I think Rhonda stole it. However, this rack actually has the two forward ends of the tubing frame open with plastic collars inside them. Being a very old school scooter tramp, I know these are actually bushings. These bushings are inserted into the tubes to put pressure on another component. A loop style backrest! The backrest has a forward facing padded rest mounted to a round tube frame with the two lower legs facing rearward opposite the back rest side. These two rearward tubes slide directly into the forward facing tubes of the rear rack. Somewhat like a trombone action. A really clever design. It may take awhile but they are out there and I shall find one. Of course the other option is that, being the crafty bastard that I am, I’ll just fabricate one! Anyway, the picture will show you how good it looks with just the rack mounted.

Now for some exciting stuff. I have the old gal stripped of all the electrical wiring, handle bar cables and controls, headlight, horn, front brake controls and caliper, carburetors, fuel tank, seat, and radiator. Pictures are included of everything in plastic containers. I use plastic containers because they don’t get soaked with water or fluids or get that nasty ass musty smell from growing mold like cardboard does. Not to mention that it protects the parts much better. Everything you see in the boxes will be disassembled and completely cleaned and then reassembled. I included two pictures of the headlight bucket with the dirty wiring followed by another picture of the same wiring cleaned with Simple Green. I will definitely be cleaning out that headlight bucket and coating it with rust converter. That is some cool shit man. Spray it on rust and when the rust turns black, it is no longer oxidized! Gotta wear a mask with some of this stuff otherwise it will try to do the same thing to your lungs. I mean, who wants to sound like that 75 year old truck stop waitress who smells like the ash tray on your table, right??? To my previous point, everything including the wiring harness will be cleaned. First, I soak the brass connectors (just the connector) in brown vinegar. Brown vinegar has a 5% acetic acid concentration and is the best thing I know of for cleaning brass or copper safely. You can toss a practically black penny into it and over night it will come out looking like new! One has to be patient since the acid concentration is only 5% so the harness connectors will sit in the vinegar for at least 24 hours and will get a light wire brushing when done to make them shiny again. Green corrosion on old harness connectors is not our friend. Its kind of like a sinus infection, just a different shade of green. I put that in there for Rhonda. I can hear her gagging even as I type 🙂 Yeah, she proof reads my letters. After that, (cleaning the harness, not Rhonda gagging) I generally hang the harness from one end or from the middle, depending on how long it is and then spray it down with Simple Green, followed by light nylon brush scrubbing, followed by a wipe down rinse with a rag soaked in clean water, followed by a drying wipe down and finished with a wipe down of WD40. Makes them look almost factory new. The key to making an old bike look good is cleanliness and shine. I’ve seen bikes that had great paint on the fender and tank and there was this ugly nasty ass wiring harness looking like it laid in the mud just before they put it on. I mean WTF??? Do the whole job! Another thing I think is really lame are so many guys are taking an old bike and just spraying the entire thing with a coat of primer and calling it a custom bobber, then asking $1500 for it. Somehow, a motorcycle tire painted primer gray just ain’t stylin’ and it tells me someone has probably been sniffing the spray paint to get their stylin’ ideas.

I still have more tear down to do, but as I said previously, I want to set the valves and since I don’t have an engine stand I will do that on the bike. That is the next step and I’ll send pictures with my next letter. I leave both wheels on the bike when I do engine work so it is more stable than placing a motorcycle jack under the engine and removing the front end. Not many things suck worse than having your scooter fall over putting some nice cracks in that pretty cracked aluminum or on that gray covered cranium. Worse if one of those pieces happens to be the edge of the cylinder head. Removing the valve covers will also tell me if there is much sludge in the engine. If so I’ll clean the oil passages and check the oil pump, but as the oil I drained out of it was nice and kind of the color of pale root beer, I expect it will be fairly clean inside. It was running nicely when I went to look at it so I think we’re golden on that one. I know it will be somewhat boring but I will send before and after pictures of components as I clean and restore each one. Cleaning ain’t exactly exciting but I really enjoy taking something from dirty and dingy to a clean and, in the case of wiring, colorful as new condition. It is such an important step in making an old vehicle look great. Generally what makes a bike, or any vehicle for that matter, that’s been sitting for a while look so crappy is the layer upon layer of dust and corrosion that has accumulated as it sat for what has been usually years. One of the first things I do when I bring a bike home is give it a good thorough washing all over and then hose to motor down with WD40. WD40 makes it look really clean and shiny right away, but the reason I do that is to soften up and old grease and oil that have collected dust/dirt and become as hard as wood pecker lips! Old grease impregnated with road dirt can be damn near impossible to remove without breaking out the ol scraper.

I have created a list of what you asked for. You may be in a place right now where you don’t have many choices, but out here you do, so as you think of things just let me know and I shall add it to the list. Once it is met I mark it done, just like this:

Stock handlebars – done

Stock seat – done

Black wall tires – done

Small fairing, w/radio (silverwing) – planned

Tank logo w/ Illinois Innocence Project and place for release date – planned

Tank color – ?

That should work to keep us “aligned” so when you sit your ass on it for the first time, you can truthfully say “It’s exactly the way I imagined it!” We can do that.

Well, I did finish the Miami bike. I put a little over one hundred miles on it to make sure it was actually complete and working well and then it went to a guy in the mountains of NC, up close to Boone. Really pretty up there and close to the Blue Ridge parkway. I traded him for an unfinished Yamaha XS650 chopper. Construction wise it’s 95% done but wiring, a few simple part fabrications like the headlight mount and rear fender fit up and final paint. I plan for it to be the last bike I build and I wanted to go back to my youthful roots and build an original wild ride. It has a hellaciously long springer on the front and is so low it’ll probably scrape speed bumps even at a crawl 🙂 Don’t know yet but I may have to get that frame up out of the grass for highway ridin’! I included pictures of both the finished CX and the chop. It will be awhile before I do much to it. I have to clean and set the Goldwing’s carbs and then degree wheel the point timing to the camshafts to get it to run correctly. The old Wings are very touchy but not impossible to work on. When set up correctly they are one of the best motors on the market. Most good for well over 200,000 miles if well maintained. Yep, no joke, 5 zeros in that last number. The newer models (1500 cc size) are known to do double that. There is actually a bike mechanic in Dubuque, Iowa who has worked at the local Honda shop for decades. Rides his Wing to work, even in the winter. The bike has over 450,000 documented miles on it and was so impressive the local news did a story on it along with the local paper. I personally saw the bike and it looks like new! F**kin kewl!

I manage my time in segments for the sake of consistency. It works like this. I’ll take somewhere in the neighborhood of one or two nights after work to restore the CX’s wiring harnesses, using the method I mentioned earlier. Then depending on where we are with the project, let’s say I’m waiting on carburetor parts and gaskets for the CX, I may move to the Nighthawk engine and spend two nights cleaning it and getting it ready for paint when warm weather returns. I would really like to have all of our bikes done with the new chopper almost complete by this time next year. Farming out the paint save WEEKS of time on each bike and I am glad to do it. I’ll paint the engines or, for your CX clean to original engine silver if that is what you’d like. the Nighthawk engine will be gloss black for certain.

One really cool thing I did see on your CX is a balanced air ride stock front suspension! The 1980 I just traded did not have that. It may have been a 1981 CX500 first. In one of the pictures you can see me pointing to a hose connecting the two upper fork tubes with one of the tubes having a Schrader valve (fancy correct name for the typical valve used in tire valve stems and most devices inflatable with air) as an air input. This allows you to stiffen the front suspension for tighter handling on curvy roads. My green bike has a valve on each tube so they have to be checked individually.

I’ll keep sending updates and you keep replying so we can get this bad boy done! You’ll be amazed at how good parts will look once I get them clean. Next month I’ll be looking at getting the frame of your CX and my Nighthawk “powdered” and that is really exciting, because once that is done we begin the process of turning them back into “road warriors”. The local shop powders in black all the time so they will just hang both frames with existing contracts, which cuts down on the cost. I think that is very cool. They love to do motorcycle parts and I’m (now we’re) glad 🙂

By the way, we are including a color chart for you to look at. Black would be a good color if you want the innocence logo to be in the blue w/light blue color scheme, but if you want orange then by God that’s what it will be!

Well that’s about it for now, my friend. Keep the faith and I hope I am giving you some things to envision rather than just laying in bed staring at the ceiling.

All my best

Rex

What a rack! (Sorry, Tam, not you, the bike!) I know, so wrong on so many levels…

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Naked as a J bird! Well, almost

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Parts is parts and they gotta be taken care of. Some of this is worth some bucks. Carbs routinely sell for $200 needing a full rebuild (Hence they get their own tote 🙂

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Air ride! This’ll keep your bike on the road and your nuts off the tank.

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Dirty to clean. That entire headlight bucket interior will be rust converted black when done. I don’t know who the sadistic bastard was who decided all the front end electrical connectors should go inside the headlight bucket instead of an actual electrical box to be protected from the weather but when he gets to heaven, I think Jesus may give him a real hard time before letting him in. These are no fun and the edge of the bucket ain’t very forgiving either!

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The finished CX “Miami”

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The “Miami’s” replacement.

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Take a look at these and if you like one  or even a combination of two for a tank color let me know. Just use the letter row/number column to communicate a choice.

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Nov 1, 2015: True Freedom in Motion

Dear Rex,

As always, I hope this letter finds you and the rest of the family well. I’m doing my best to stay busy and remain focused on the positive.  It’s been such a long time since I was stuck in my cell without a job assignment, so it’s taking some time to get used to it. But I’ll make it, I’m sure of that.

I have to say, I wasn’t sure about the fringed handlebar covers until you described what they meant to you – “True freedom in motion.!! YES!! I don’t think it’s a bit corny at all. I’ll remember this conversation the first time I see them flying in the wind.

I’m gonna have to say yes to the back rest for Tammy. Even though yesterday she said she wasn’t sure if she’ll want to ride with me. She’s not sure she’d “Trust Me.” I guess I’ll have to pass “Her Test” before she’ll get on the bike J! There are a few things I don’t think, no matter how long I’m in here, I won’t forget how to do. Driving a car or riding a bike is a couple of them. I’m gonna guess the gear pattern is one up, four down, or is it reversed?

Do bikes also have to pass a state emissions test? I know that was a pain the ass in Florida. I always bought my trucks old enough that they’d be exempt from the emissions testing. I was wondering what’s the helmet laws there in NC and TN? Rhonda sent a letter with a picture of you guys on your bike and you both had on helmets. So is that by choice or is it the law? I’ve never really cared for them too much myself. But I’ve also never banged my head off the pavement at 65 mph.

You truly must have a great amount of patience to be able to break these bikes down and build them back up. My dad was a mechanic all his life with his own shop. I tried working for him a half a dozen times over the years, but I just didn’t have the patience for all the wrench turning.

Your description of trying to find and fix the coolant leak you had going is exactly what would of drove me CRAZY!! Although, after my experience the last 15+ years, I might have the patience now to do that sort of work.

I do like both the colors you have picked, so that’s good with me. I noticed there isn’t a fender on the back. Will you put on or leave it off? I guess it really wouldn’t matter unless you were riding on a wet road.

I’m not sure if you told me before or not, but what exactly is a quality systems auditor? I know Rhonda said you have to travel a lot, but what do you do?

Well Rex, I guess I’ll end this here, and get it on its way. Thanks for the pictures and the updates. I feel like I can actually see it all coming together.

Again, I hope all is well out there with you guys. Be safe and take care. Write when you can!

Always,

Jamie

PS: I was wondering if you get a lot of snow in the Carolina’s or can you ride year round?

Turkey on a Chopper (Rex’s Hysterical T-Day Poem for Jamie)

t-day_2015A Motorcyclin’ Turkey’s Happy Thanksgiving

Happy as could be, I was just rollin into town,
Not a worry in the world just two wheels on the ground

Didn’t say nuthin’, didn’t say a single word,
This ain’t the first strange town for this ol travelin’ bird

People were way too nice, sorta smilin’ like with pity,
Those long creepy looks made me feel kinda shitty.

This one old girl was a mouthy, loud beast,
Even yelled out the question, “Is that our Thanksgiving feast?”

Feathers really ruffled but I still didn’t say a word,
Just extend my left wing and gave the little bitch the bird.

As I got further into town the air began to thicken,
I even heard someone say, “Bet he’ll taste better than chicken!”

What the hell is going on, has everyone lost their mind?
This is the whole damn reason I left that last town behind!

I went a little farther but with a deeper feeling of dread,
This is beginning to feel like I’m on the Walking Dead!

All those big, white teeth and bulging eyes,
And way too many people staring at my thighs!

Why can’t they be happy just eatin’ some tasty muffins,
And stop looking at me for a place to put their stuffins’!

I ran away from Iowa and all the things I dreaded,
See my brothers and sisters being plucked and beheaded!

Then as if pluckin’ wasn’t enough for those specially chosen,
They wrapped em’ in fish net and they were fuckin’ frozen!

It’s all a blur to me, ridin’ this motorcycle I stole,
But I can tell you one thing, my ass is still whole!

People are starting to follow me with hatchets, knives, and pans,
These crazy bastards have way too much time on their hands.

Well, shit, looks like it’s time to blow this fuckin’ town,
Ain’t none of these sorry assholes gonna put this turkey down.

Rollin’ outa town, catchin’ up with some truckers,
Flippin’ off those town folks with a, “Happy Thanksgiving, Motherfuckers!”

Hope this gave ya’ a laugh my friend,
Happy Thanksgiving Motherfu…uh…Jamie!

Rex