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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

 

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

Snow Supporters Demand Retraction by State’s Attorney

We were made aware this week that Jason Chambers has yet again given a blatantly false statement concerning the Jamie Snow case. This is the second time that he has disseminated this lie in a public forum. This time, we do not feel as if we have a choice but to ask for a public retraction. The letter below was sent to Jason Chambers today, the news station (WMBD) was also copied on the communication. We hope he will respond by granting our request. We will keep you informed of any updates.

=========Begin Letter========

Jason Chambers
McLean County States Attorney
104 W. Front St
Room 605
Bloomington, Illinois 61701
stateattny@mcleancountyil.gov

RE:  WMBD Quote – Retraction Request

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Mr. Chambers,

On behalf of Jamie Snow supporters, we write to demand the immediate public retraction and clarification of a false, misleading, and deceptive public statement made by you with regard to a recent appellate hearing on behalf of Jamie Snow.

In a WMBD story published May 13, 2015 at: http://www.centralillinoisproud.com/story/d/story/convicted-murderer-seeks-new-trial/37624/b10eRV3HM0OLfGLdrU7Dzw, you were quoted:

“State’s Attorney Jason Chambers says even if there was new evidence, there would still be around 40 people who testified under oath that Snow had bragged to them about committing the murder.”

This statement is patently, objectively false. The state only called 41 people to testify in any capacity at trial, certainly you know this. So are you asserting that Jamie confessed to every single witness the state called at the time of trial except for one?

Similar to disinformation provided to original Snow jury members, you purposely concealed that of the 41 state witnesses who testified at Snow’s trial under oath:

  • 10 were customers, employees, family members of the victim, etc.;
  • 17 were law enforcement or state workers (detectives, police officers, coroner, etc.);
  • 3 were classified as “eyewitnesses,” (though no one saw the crime actually committed and their descriptions of a suspicious person leaving the scene were inconsistent).
    • “Eyewitness” 1: The state has now conceded that the star witness’ ID was unreliable
    • “Eyewitness” 2: Has recanted his ID
    • “Eyewitness” 3: Never identified Snow

The truth of the matter is that there were 11 witnesses who swore under oath that Jamie “confessed” or implicated himself somehow. Not 40, 11. And what you fail to acknowledge is that the entire purpose of Jamie’s current petition, the new evidence that you are glossing over, is evidence that many of these 11 (not 40) witnesses lied. Jamie never confessed to them.

Eleven (not 40) jailhouse informants which include several alcoholics, a convicted sex offender, prisoners desperate for shortened terms, parolees, paid informants and complete strangers –  testified that Jamie Snow “confessed” to them, or implicated him in some way.

The majority of these 11 (not 40) witnesses testified while incarcerated. Several of these 11 (not 40) informants had charges pending, and received leniency on those charges after they testified. Most of these 11 (not 40) jailhouse informants presented stories that were not only inconsistent with their police statements; they were inconsistent with each other’s accounting of events.

Mr. Chambers, you selectively ignore multiple sworn witness recantations and affidavits noting tremendous pressure from the Bloomington Police Department. Witnesses were told exactly what to say on the stand and were provided with details that contradicted their initial interviews. Mothers were threatened with the loss of their children. $7,500 in reward money is yet to be accounted for. The very young victim’s mother was even provided with witness phone numbers to add additional pressure.

You ignore the fact that the newest affidavit states that not only did a witness know he was lying, so did the prosecution. You ignore the approximate 17 affidavits submitted by witnesses in which they recant or change their testimonies. And you continue to ignore the remaining numerous pieces of new evidence before the court comprised of critical state’s evidence that was never disclosed to Snow before trial, was never heard by the jury, and was obtained only through Freedom of Information Act requests.

Instead, you choose to make blatant false statements to the press, use McLean County tax dollars to continue to fight appeals, and refuse to perform DNA testing (paid for by the Exoneration Project) that could confirm Snow’s conviction or exonerate him.

Unfortunately, this is not the first instance wherein you, Mr. Chambers, have made false public statements concerning this matter. On March 28, 2014 you made a similar comment on a “VoteJasonChambers” Youtube.com video.

A FOIA was filed on 4/22/14 requesting the names and contact information of “over 40 different people” Snow “bragged about the killing or implicated himself” to, etc. On 4/29/14 Rosalee Dodson, Esq., Asst. Corporation Counsel for the City of Bloomington denied that request in full.

Still, McLean County’s top law enforcement official continues to lie to the press. Maintaining the status quo of your ethically challenged predecessors, you have crossed boundaries set forth in the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct. We have posted the relevant rules at the end of this letter for your review.

The State has unfettered access to every detail regarding witnesses who previously claimed Jamie Snow “confessed,” yet continues to publicly disseminate blatant falsehoods with reckless regard for the truth. We overlooked the last instance, but are now forced to demand a public retraction in an attempt to end this libelous and inflammatory abuse of public office.

We further ask that the retraction and clarification be disseminated as widely as the original statement, to specifically include WMBD, the source of the original statement.

Sincerely,

Tammy Alexander
Pamela Wilson
Nicole Snow
Tammy Snow
Kelly Thompson
Bruce Fischer
Randi Juarez
Sue Gless Thorne
Lynne Blanchard
Teresa Gladson
Rhonda Mericle
Rex Mericle

cc: Jeff Mulligan, WMBD News Director/Operations
Jenny Goodman, WMBD Managing Editor
Paul Cicchini, WMBD Main Anchor
Maria Chandler, WMBD Main Anchor
Jacob Peklo, WMBD General Assignment Reporter
Hannah Hilyard, WMBD General Assignment Reporter

Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct

RULE 3.6 Trial Publicity

(a) A lawyer who is participating or has participated in the investigation or litigation of a matter shall not make an extrajudicial statement that a reasonable person would expect to be disseminated by means of public communication if the lawyer knows or reasonably should know that it would pose a serious and imminent threat to the fairness of an adjudicative proceeding.

RULE 3.8 Special Responsibilities of a Prosecutor

(d) In addition to his or her obligations under Rule 3.6, a public prosecutor or other government lawyer in criminal litigation shall exercise reasonable care to prevent investigators, law enforcement personnel, employees or other persons assisting or associated with the prosecutor in a criminal case from making an extrajudicial statement that the public prosecutor or other government lawyer would be forbidden from making under Rule 3.6.

(e) The prosecutor in a criminal case shall refrain from making extrajudicial comments that would pose a serious and imminent threat of heightening public condemnation of the accused, except for statements that are necessary to inform the public of the nature and extent of the prosecutor’s action and that serve a legitimate law enforcement purpose.”

https://www.law.cornell.edu/ethics/il/code/IL_CODE.HTM#Rule_3.6

In 1935, the United States Supreme Court described the duty of a federal prosecutor in the following passage:

“…He may prosecute with earnestness and vigor – indeed, he should do so. But, while he may strike hard blows, he is not at liberty to strike foul ones. It is as much his duty to refrain from improper methods calculated to produce a wrongful conviction as it is to use every legitimate means to bring about a just one.” Berger v. United States, 295 U.S. 78, 88, 79 L. Ed. 1314, 1321, 55 S. Ct. 629, 633 (1935).”

5-13-15-wmbd

 

=========End Letter========

Appellate Hearing – Thank You’s, Audio Online, The Gist, and….Mopes?

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.

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!

 

The Gist

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

Jamie Snow’s case will be featured on Injustice Anywhere radio, Tuesday, April 28!

Please join us on Tuesday April 28 at 8 PM CDT, for the first show on IA’s new format.

logoJamie’s case will be back in Appellate Court on May 12. We will discuss the arguments that will be heard during the hearing and provide an overall update of the case.

Please visit our show page to listen in. All live shows will also be available on our show page archive. So if you miss the live broadcast, be sure to catch the podcast at your convenience.

Jamie Snow was wrongfully convicted in 2001 for the 1991 murder of William Little, a gas station attendant in Bloomington, Illinois. Jamie is currently serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole in Stateville prison in Joliet, Illinois.

Jamie Snow has proclaimed his innocence from day one. In the years following his conviction, new information has come to light clearly showing that police misconduct and bad lawyering sent the wrong man to prison for William Little’s murder. Jamie Snow is innocent.

Jamie Snow – Back in Appellate Court May 12th. Please join us in Springfield!

JamieSnowUpdateWhat 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:

Jamie Snow PC denied in January. But wait, there’s more!

I’ve really been struggling with this, because it’s weird. Let me explain.

Jamie’s successive post conviction petition was denied in January, but we didn’t know about it. When Tara (EP attorney) had a conference call with the judge, she was very curt. She said she would rule by mail, and that she was really busy, and would rule when she could.

Fast forward to Postcards in the Park. We talk at length to a newspaper reporter, and she inquires with the clerk the following Monday about an update on the case. They inform the reporter there was a ruling in January – reporter then calls Tara and informs her of the status.

But hang on. The EP made a motion in April to supplement the PC. Lo and behold, we find out THAT was denied as well, also, without notification to attorneys or defendant.

Okay, ONE failing to notify might be a mistake, but TWO denials without notification??? Houston, we have a problem.

Thing is, the McLean County Clerk’s Office doesn’t have an online docket system, so you have to call for updates, which I DID. And they NEVER told me there was a ruling. Notice anything screwy about the last few entries in this docket?

Was the state notified of the denial? If so, they allowed us to stand out in front of the courthouse in March 2014, with Jason Chambers looking down at us from the window, KNOWING it was denied, and not informing us? Did they allow us to stand in front of the press at Postcards in the Park in August 2014, and still failed to inform us of the denial?

So…we had to appeal to the 4th District, and they allowed a late appeal.

It’s very interesting that the successive pc included critical newly discovered evidence in the form of an ISP police report in which Danny Martinez told police in 1994 that Jamie Snow was not the person he saw as well as polygraph results from two jailhouse informants that prove they failed, and the state put them on the stand anyway.

Where we stand:

Yeah. we’ll keep ya posted.