‘CSI Oakwood’ forensic students tackle real-life cases

Dayton, Ohio

By Wayne Baker, Staff Writer May 17, 2020

“This semester in her Forensic Science II class, in addition to learning new content, students spent a lot of time studying real-life cases, many that are still actively being investigated […]

Another case that the class has spent a great deal of time on was the conviction of an Illinois man, Jamie Snow, for a 1991 murder. Snow is serving a life sentence without parole at Stateville Prison in Joliet, Illinois. He is currently being represented by the Exoneration Project out of the University of Chicago.

“I have been communicating with Jamie since November of 2019 after hearing his story on the Truth & Justice Podcast,” Wargacki said. “When I told him I was covering his case in class, he offered to answer student questions through an audio recording.”

She met with her students recently on Zoom to listen to the audio interview of Snow answering questions from the class.”

Read the full story here.

Jamie Snow Among Inmates Seeking Clemency During Virus


“For two decades, Jamie Snow has fought his McLean County murder conviction, but his battle with an infectious disease that has killed 12 of his fellow inmates may pose the biggest threat to his life.

Snow is serving a life sentence at Stateville Correctional Center in the death of Bill Little, a clerk who was fatally shot behind the counter of a Bloomington gas station on Easter Sunday 1991. The Exoneration Project is representing Snow in his effort.

Lawyers for the 55-year-old defendant have asked Gov. JB Pritzker to consider clemency for Snow, based upon the risk he and other inmates face from the spread of COVID-19 in the state’s prison system.

According to the Department of Corrections, more than 150 staff and 160 inmates have tested positive for the virus. Twelve inmates, all housed at Stateville, have died since March.

In an April email to WGLT, Snow described life in the Joliet facility as “some sort of B-rated horror movie.”  The arrival of the Illinois National Guard to assist with health care was a major improvement, he said.”

Read the full story here.

Internet Opens Door To Wrongful Conviction Cases


“Years of sparsely attended court proceedings go largely unnoticed until a judge’s final order allowing an inmate to be freed. Media coverage in most cases begins and ends with the smiles and hugs exchanged between a defendant and relatives outside the prison door.

But the story-telling potential of the internet through podcasts and websites maintained by inmates’ supporters now allows the public to closely follow exoneration cases. Audiences for podcasts have exploded from 19 million listeners in 2013 to more than 60 million last year

[…] Tammy Alexander oversees a blog dedicated to developments in Jamie Snow’s efforts to be cleared in the 1991 murder of Bill Little in Bloomington.  From her home in Tennessee, Alexander posts information and recently started work on a podcast on Snow’s case […] Snow does most of the talking on The Snow Files podcast through tape recorded conversations between himself and Alexander; Snow is serving his second decade of a life sentence at Stateville Correctional Center.”  

Read the full story here.

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’s Letter to the Judge

Jamie sent a letter to the judge after he was convicted, but before he was sentenced. He tried desperately to have his counsel removed prior to this. And never gave up. But I wanted to share with you an excerpt from the letter he wrote to me with the attachment.

“I’m not even sure I could accurately describe to you my level of despair that I felt when I wrote that letter. I know I was hoarding pills that I’d planned to take that night before my sentencing. I wonder if I ever told you about that? I popped them, as many as I could fit into my mouth, but I just couldn’t swallow them. I didn’t want to do it to my kids. I’m sometimes amazed Tammy that I’ve made it all these years.”

This letter was written to the judge 4 days after his conviction. Pat Riley and Frank Picl (Jamie’s attorneys) stood before the judge and told them they had spent approximately 80 hours visiting Jamie to prepare for trial. Jamie knew that was a lie, and he proved it by the visitor log he asked to judge to review in regard to this matter. It turns out they only spent a total of 23 hours with Jamie. And I believe the lead counsel had spent less than 5 hours with him. When caught red-handed by viewing the log files, they said it was an “honest mistake.” The judge not only forgave them, but kept them on the case – as evident in this news article from April 2001.

I’ve typed the letter out for you below. You can also read the handwritten version here.


Dear Sir,

As with my last letter please make this a part of the record with this case. I have a few issues I would like to raise with the court.

First I would like to address the witness list problems in this case. Pat Riley came to see me the day before jury selection was first set to begin. He said we needed to get our list together. I asked him when was it due. He told me when we start to pick a jury. But that he was asking for a continuance because of Frank’s back problems. You gave them the delay. I was under the impression, which was given to me by my attorney’s, that the list wasn’t due till’ jury selection. I had some names ready even before I got the transcripts on Christmas Eve. But was following what Pat Riley told me. But in court you said “I” know the rules about discovery. Just for the record I had no idea what the rules were. But I learned the hard way. I learned never to listen to or trust a court appointed lawyer.

Your Honor, I tried to tell you Frank and Pat were not only unprepared, I thought then and now know they were unable to try my case. I knew I was in trouble when the State rested their case and that was the first time Frank ever asked me what any of my witnesses were going to testify to. And as we all know now, Frank didn’t lay the FOUNDATION to call most of my witnesses. I guess just like the witness list, I was also responsible for my lawyer to lay FOUNDATION for witnesses. How in a case like mine does that happen?

You yourself sat in on my co-defendants trial. You had to know they were not prepared. You saw Mark Foster and Billy Hendricks testify about the things Danny Martinez had told them. Also we found another ex-co-worker of Mr. Martinez who also had testimony to give. But I couldn’t call him because of the FOUNDATION problem. One of my jurors said Mr. Martinez was key to them convicting me. If Frank would of called them people, I have to believe the verdict would of, or at least could of, been different.

Your Honor I thought you were in that court room to make sure Justice was served. And to make sure my rights were protected. I thought I had a RIGHT to a fair trial. You forced me to go to trial with two lawyers who NEVER talked to me about my case! Frank says he spent 50 hours with me. Pat says he spent 30. There is no way that is true.

There are log books here at the jail. They are there for people to sign in and out. Also, the time in and out is also logged. I’m sure it probably don’t matter to you. But I challenge you to check into the time they spent with me. They are the lawyers you gave me. And they both lied to you about the time they spent.

I would also like to know what did you do to determine if Pat Riley was able to effectively help me. He had a stroke shortly before you gave him this case. What if anything did you do to make sure his mind had not been affected by the stroke? You did say in court he had the chance to sit in on the first trial. So I’m trying to figure out was it his mental state of mind or complete incompetence that kept him from telling Frank to lay foundation for my DEFENSE.

I know my trial and Susan Claycomb Powell’s trial were different. But the charges were the same. And the state’s case was pretty much the same. One big difference was her lawyer knew how important it was to LAY FOUNDATION when it came to the state’s witnesses like Danny Martinez. But like the witness list, I guess that was my responsibility too.

Justice was not served in your courtroom. I have been convicted for a terrible crime I DID NOT commit. So please make this letter a part of the record. I hope and pray that somebody will take a close look at what happened in Your Courtroom. My lawyers never talked to me. How else do you explain them not laying FOUNDATION to call ¾ of my Defense witnesses. They had no clue. That’s why they didn’t ask the questions. They sold me out. Did you know Frank was friends with Bill Little’s foster father? Talk about a conflict of interest. Pat Riley does not have the Mental Ability to try a traffic case. But You gave him to me. Now that things have turned out the way they did, I have to wonder why.

Also when I asked Frank why he didn’t lay the foundation to call witnesses against Danny Martinez, he said, “What do you want? Nobody bats a thousand.”

Thank You

Jamie Snow

I am Innocent. But I guess that doesn’t really matter anymore.

Does it!!

New Evidence Explained

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.


Jamie Snow Case on Injustice Anywhere Radio 11/19 @8pm CST

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.

Jamie Snow Case – What happened to the reward money?