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.
McLean County States Attorney
104 W. Front St
Bloomington, Illinois 61701
RE: WMBD Quote – Retraction Request
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
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:
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.
Sue Gless Thorne
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.”
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).”
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!
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:
The Pantagraph: Snow makes new bid for hearing on DNA testing
Please join us on Tuesday April 28 at 8 PM CDT, for the first show on IA’s new format.
Jamie’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.
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:
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.
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:
DNA motion is still before McLean County.
Federal Habeas is in abeyance.
Yeah. we’ll keep ya posted.
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.
Please join us on Sunday, August 3rd from 11:00am – 2:00pm at Miller Park in Bloomington, Illinois for the 4th Annual Postcards in the Park to support Jamie Snow’s innocence, and gain awareness about this egregious injustice!
You do not have to be at the actual event to participate! We STILL need your help.
Please join the Facebook event site here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1494543540759633
This year we will send postcards to Keith Morrison of Dateline in an effort to have Jamie’s story told on a national level. We will have postcards for everyone to write messages at the park and will also release a balloon for each year he has been wrongfully convicted.
All supplies will be provided. Just bring yourself, your kids and friends! Please join us and tell you friends!
If you CANNOT ATTEND, please still SEND A POSTCARD to the address below asking Keith Morrison at Dateline to visit FreeJamieSnow.com and review the case for consideration of a Dateline investigative report.
SEND POSTCARDS TO:
NBC News: Dateline
ATTN: Keith Morrison
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, N.Y. 10112
OR: Social network the crap out of him 🙂 Let him KNOW we would like a REAL investigation on the Jamie Snow case!
Thanks everyone. We’re growing every year, and it will not happen without your support. Thanks for sticking with us, and please keep spreading the word!
Check out last year’s message from Jamie after the 3rd Annual Postcards in the Park:
Don’t forget to join the event site! https://www.facebook.com/events/1494543540759633
Please join us online at Injustice Anywhere Radio to discuss updates in the Jamie Snow case. Topics will include a review of the latest filings as well as newly discovered evidence. Please join the Facebook Event page below to stay updated on the details of the show.
Join the Facebook Event Page for updates: https://www.facebook.com/events/594002523987326/
Date: Tuesday, November 19
Time: 8pm CST
Listen Online: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/injustice-anywhere
About Injustice Anywhere:
Injustice Anywhere is an all volunteer organization working to bring more knowledge and attention to wrongful convictions. We are currently highlighting seven featured cases. Please visit www.injustice-anywhere.org to learn more about their efforts and to see what you can to do get involved. We must do more to prevent the unjust imprisonment of innocent people. If we work together we can all make a difference.
(BLOOMINGTON, IL; July 17, 2013) – Friends, family and supporters will gather at Miller Park on July 21st, 2013 at 11am for the 3rd Annual Postcards in the Park to show support for Jamie Snow’s innocence.
This year postcards will be sent directly to Erin Moriarty of 48 Hours in an effort to gain national attention to the wrongful conviction of Jamie Snow by asking Moriarty and 48 Hours producers to perform an in-depth investigation of this case.
Moriarty learned about the upcoming event on Twitter and responded “Send them!!”
Jamie Snow’s case has garnered support from Injustice Anywhere (IA), the grassroots organization that worked to free Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito in Perugia, Italy. “I look forward to attending this wonderful event for Jamie Snow and encourage everyone reading here to participate.” said IA co-founder Bruce Fischer.
The event is sponsored by the Committee to Free Jamie Snow, and representatives from Investigating Innocence and Justice for Illinois Wrongfully Convicted, both Springfield based organizations, will also be in attendance.
Post cards will be available for supporters to write messages to Mrs. Moriarity and a balloon will be released for each year Snow has been wrongfully incarcerated.
Jamie Snow of Bloomington, Illinois was convicted in 2001 of the 1991 murder of a gas station attendant during an apparent robbery. He has always maintained his innocence. In 2008 the University of Chicago’s Exoneration Project accepted his case.
For more information on this case, please visit: http://www.freejamiesnow.com. If you have information concerning this case, please call our toll free, confidential tip line at: 1-888-815-9299 or email: email@example.com.
For all press inquiries please contact:
Committee to Free Jamie Snow (CFJS)
P.O. Box 944
Collierville, TN 38027