RichardWanke.Com

  • Attorney Desperately Needed!!!

    Since 2008, the murder of Attorney Gregory Clark has been the single highest-profile unsolved murder in Winnebago County, IL and an overall priority case statewide. Richard Wanke’s prosecution will now become the highest-profile criminal case prosecution in Winnebago County and be followed closely by regional, if not national media. It is doubtful that Richard Wanke has any chance of receiving an impartial trial in the Rockford community as he has been tried in the local media, in community electoral politics, and in the legal community now since 2008.

    Richard needs top-level, competent legal trial representation. He has past conflicts with the Winnebago County Public Defender’s office, so it will not be able to represent him. The conflict counsel representation available by Winnebago County is extremely limited and likely conflicted as well. It is critical for Richard to immediately find unbiased, conflict-free representation, probably from outside the Rockford legal community.

    Richard desperately needs an experienced private criminal defense trial attorney or law firm willing to defend him to avoid the further injustice of spending the rest of his life behind bars. We know that this is a financially rougher time for attorneys in general, but we hope that Richard can find an committed attorney to undertake his case because his is the only true protection the criminal justice system has available to offer.

    If there is the possibility that you can offer any assistance, please call Diane at (815) 980-6582, immediately! Thank-you!

    Click here to help.

  • Four Years of Injustice!

    Read our summarization of the events of the 5 year old investigation to date and our perspective as to why the allegations made against Richard Wanke, and Diane Chavez, are wrong. Please click on the tab on "Year Five: Where the Clark Murder Investigation Stands" in the top left center area of this page to read why we believe the investigation went astray and not only needs to be redone, but the charges against Diane Chavez also immediately dropped.
  • Richard Needs Your Help on Appeal!

    Richard is filing a post-conviction petition, and needs help. Please click on the "Help Needed" tab to read further. You can find all of his appeal court filings by clicking on the tab "Richard's Appeal Briefs.
  • Massive Clark Murder Investigation Fails to Link Richard or Diane

    Incidentally, the State's evidence comprising it's case against Richard and Diane (consisting of over 700 pages containing over 200 individual Rockford police reports and evidence summations) has been reviewed by an authoritative source who found nothing contained in that information which links either Richard or Diane to any involvement in Clark's murder other than the original claimed "witness reports" in February 2008. No DNA, no fingerprints, no weapon, no gunpowder residue, no questionable contacts, phone records, or transactions: nothing, zilch....
  • Why does this blog exist?

    On February 6, 2008, our friends, Richard Wanke and Diane Chavez, were arrested in alleged connection to the murder of a well-respected, local attorney, Gregory Clark. The vague scenario the Rockford police have submitted is problematic and more than five years later; the Rockford police still haven't been able to build enough of a case to charge Richard or Diane (or anyone else) with anything connected to the murder. We know Richard and Diane as gentle people; local community activists, who routinely participate in volunteer projects in the community. We hope, for the sake of our friends, and the family and friends of attorney Gregory Clark, that the Rockford police will rethink their current course and renew effort toward finding the real truth in this case.
  • How the Police Investigation of the Greg Clark Murder Went Astray

    The scenario on Wednesday, February 8, 2008, about 1:50 pm in the afternoon:

    The snow fall in Rockford, Illinois began the evening before and continued throughout the day. The snow accumulation was the heaviest experienced by the city in 10 years. The snowfall was so heavy that most businesses and all offices closed early or never opened, and for the first time in memory mail delivery did not even occur. At 1:50 pm, snow on the streets reached above car bumper level and visibility was poor.

    What happened: News media report that at 1:50 pm, attorney Greg Clark was home at his house in a quiet neighborhood on the east side of Rockford. According to the RRSTAR's latest summation of events from 2008: "A gunman springs from a van and opens fire, killing Gregory Clark, a Rockford attorney, who is clearing snow from his sidewalk." Clark was brutally shot in the back three times by an unknown shooter. He was pronounced dead at the hospital a short time later.

    News accounts and subsequent police action show that more than one perpetrator actively participated at Clark's shooting. Media reports show the police immediately focused upon Richard Wanke because of what they thought of him and not because of any of the evidence found at the murder site.

    The news reporter was told the next day that the police did not believe he shot Clark, but just that he was somehow involved. Subsequent questioning of Richard's acquaintances showed the police asking questions indicating they sought information about at least one other person other than Richard.

    Read the whole essay.

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  • About the Articles on this Blog:

    RichardWanke.com is written and updated by community volunteers. It's mission: publicity and assistance for the legal defense of IDOC inmate, Richard Wanke. This blog also features articles on topics affecting IL, IDOC, and IDOC inmates. Article information is gleaned from a variety of public media accounts and from other internet sources and reflects what we believe to be accurate. Readers are invited to respond and submit their own experiences.
  • Help Investigate This Story! Support Our Spot.us campaign! See Below!

    Click here to link to Richard's campaign Spot.us is a non-profit project to pioneer "community funded reporting". Through Spot.us, the public can commission investigations with tax deductible donations for important and perhaps overlooked media stories. Read this article at link to more information
  • IDOC Early Release & Good Time Credits About to Change!

    If you are reading any of our earlier posts concerning All IDOC Early Release Programs, MGT, or Good Time, please be aware that the IL legislature has now passed new legislation replacing MGT to address giving inmates good behavior "sentence credit" which could release them early. However, the terms of who is eligible to receive sentence credit is more restrictive. Still, sentence credit has the potential to begin to reduce prison overcrowding, but even if implemented, prison releases may not happen soon. Governor Pat Quinn signed the bill into law on June 22, 2012, and we will wait to see what happens. No changes have yet happened in 2013. You can read more here: (here)

    Politicians have made the law more restrictive in accordance with the suggestions contained in the Erickson Report. You can read the Erickson Report and IDOC's official plan for implementing MGT (here).

    We will keep readers posted of any news or changes when these occur. We also urge readers to check these online sites: (ILprisontalk.com), and the (John Howard Association), for other information

  • Important Email Addresses:

    Send a letter with your thoughts or questions to Richard Wanke. (If you want a reply, you must include your name and a regular mailing address.) freerichardwanke@gmail.com, or snailmail (and it is slow):

    Richard Wanke, K77902 Stateville CC, F House PO Box 112, Joliet, IL 60434

    ____________________

    Express your frustration about IDOC, prison issues, or anything else to your IL State Representative or IL State Senator! Use this link to email them directly!: (Rep or Senator here)

    Send your thoughts to Congress!

    Thanks to reader prisonrightsadvocate, for letting us know of the following weblinks which you can use to directly email our US Rep, Don Manzullo and State Senator, Dick Durbin

    ____________________

    Send an opinion letter to the Rockford Register Star. (To be printed it must be less than 200 words, with name, address, and daytime phone number.) Opinions@RRStar.com

    Send an opinion letter to the Rock River Times. rrtimes@rworld.com

    Have you experienced problems with the Winnebago County legal system? Please write a short story about your incident for us to post. You can choose to add your name, or not. freerichardwanke@gmail.com

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    Wordpress has excellent spam protection, and over 7,000 spams have been eliminated from this blog. Not to discourage legitimate postings and links, but REMEMBER: if you post or comment to this blog with commercial content which is not informational and is not related to any of the topics featured on this blog, you are wasting your time (please note this jersery or shoe poster) and all your postings are removed in 2 secs daily. This blog is offered as an avenue for those interested in wrongful convictions, prison issues, misconduct, and social & economic issues pertaining to them, and to others who offer services to assist others on those issues. Every one else spamming with junk will be removed!
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Possible misstep by prosecutors

Posted by mikethemouth on May 31, 2014


Defense: Prosecutors intentionally misled jury on Richard Wanke murder charges

By Kevin Haas

Rockford Register Star

Posted May. 30, 2014 @ 1:45 pm

Updated at 3:39 PM

ROCKFORD — Richard Wanke’s defense says prosecutors intentionally misled a grand jury in order to secure murder charges against him in the death of attorney Gregory Clark.

Wanke’s attorney, Sami Azhari, filed a motion to dismiss the charges today during an appearance around 1:30 p.m. before Judge Rosemary Collins. The motion claims that prosecutors led a grand jury to falsely think gun residue was found on Wanke’s clothing.

State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato said his office will not comment on pending litigation.

Clark, Wanke’s lawyer in a previous burglary case, was shot in the back on Feb. 6, 2008, while clearing snow from a sidewalk in front of his house. Wanke was out of jail awaiting sentencing on burglary charges at the time of the shooting. He has denied any involvement in Clark’s death. Wanke is currently being held in Winnebago County Jail.

Six years after the shooting — on April 16 — prosecutors sought first-degree murder charges against Wanke in a hearing before the grand jury. It was during testimony from Rockford Police Sgt. Kurt Whisenand, the state’s only witness at the hearing, that prosecutors misled the jury, according to Azhari’s motion.

A portion of the transcript of the grand jury testimony, which was included in Azhari’s motion, shows that Deputy State’s Attorney Jim Brun asked Whisenand whether a bag of clothing found during the investigation had been tested for gunshot residue. It was, Whisenand said. Brun then asked Whisenand whether he was familiar with a Illinois State Police Crime Lab report that “indicated they did, in fact, detect particles characteristic of background samples on the clothing in that bag.” Whisenand affirmed that background particles had been found.

The problem, Azhari says, is that the background particles are not actually evidence of gunshot residue. But he says Brun led the jury to believe they were.

“He’s insinuating that the background particles are gunshot residue and, in fact, they are not,” Azhari said. “Background particles are just natural environment particles.

“If they tested my hands or your hands, or my clothes or your clothes right now — and we’ve never fired a gun — we would have background particles.”

When a grand jury member later asked Brun for a clarification, Brun said, according to the transcript: “There were particles — the way the lab report and the testimony was presented, there were particles consistent with gunshot residue.”

Azhari said prosecutors had not presented anything new in the six years since the shooting

Page 2 of 2 – “There’s been no new evidence that I’m aware of in the 967 pages of discovery that I’ve reviewed that has anything that’s come up since 2008,” he said.

Kevin Haas: 815-987-1410; khaas@rrstar.com;@KevinMHaas

via http://www.rrstar.com/article/20140530/NEWS/140539935/

Posted in 2008 Clark murder investigation, Attorney needed, Attorney needed: high-profile case, Gregory Clark's murder, High profile criminal defense, Prosecutorial Misconduct, Richard's Cases, The Causes of Wrongful Convictions | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Appeal to the Legal Community: Attorney Desperately Needed for Richard Wanke!

Posted by parchangelo on April 17, 2014


Since 2008, the murder of Attorney Gregory Clark has been the single highest-profile unsolved murder in Winnebago County, IL and an overall priority case statewide. Richard Wanke’s prosecution will now become the highest-profile criminal case prosecution in Winnebago County and be followed closely by regional, if not national media. It is doubtful that Richard Wanke has any chance of receiving an impartial trial in the Rockford community as he has been tried in the local media, in community electoral politics, and in the legal community now since 2008.

Richard needs top-level, competent legal trial representation. He has past conflicts with the Winnebago County Public Defender’s office, so it will not be able to represent him. The conflict counsel representation available by Winnebago County is extremely limited and likely conflicted as well. It is critical for Richard to immediately find unbiased, conflict-free representation, probably from outside the Rockford legal community.

Richard Wanke is not a violent criminal. He is not a habitual criminal. He has no gang or criminal affiliations. He is an intelligent, articulate, responsible, caring, and giving, human being who is now in danger of spending the rest of his life behind bars due to political pressure perhaps, but certainly a rush to judgment by the authorities. He will be an exceptional and cooperative client. He has already served a 14 year sentence as a result of suspicion from this murder. He has survived the current overcrowded and inhumane conditions within the IL Department of Corrections, including unwarranted physical assaults. He is knowledgeable and knows everything what is at stake here.

We appeal to the legal community at-large on Richard’s behalf.

Richard desperately needs an experienced private criminal defense trial attorney or law firm willing to defend him to avoid the further injustice of spending the rest of his life behind bars. We know that this is a financially rougher time for attorneys in general, but we hope that Richard can find an committed attorney to undertake his case because his is the only true protection the criminal justice system has available to offer.

If there is the possibility that you can offer any assistance, please call Diane at (815) 980-6582, immediately! Thank-you!

Posted in 2008 Clark murder investigation, Attorney needed, Attorney needed: high-profile case, Gregory Clark's murder, High profile criminal defense, Legal assistance needed | Leave a Comment »

Update: Regarding Today’s Arrest of Richard Wanke, by Winnebago County for 2008 Murder of Greg Clark

Posted by mikethemouth on April 16, 2014


There is going to be a lot of hype going around since today’s announcement  by the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s office of charges against Richard Wanke regarding the 2008 murder of his attorney, Gregory Clark. For the record, we do not believe that any charges are merited in this murder case which has been (and still is as of today) listed as an UNSOLVED MURDER  for several years on the Rockford Police Department website. As we understand it, the murder investigation has been at a stand-still for years with no new evidence being uncovered. The existing evidence in the case to-date has been described to us as chaotic at best  since the murder occurred in an open neighborhood, in the middle of a major Rockford snowstorm,  and resulted in speculation about potential multiple suspects,  contradictory statements and sparse information. As far as we know, no direct evidence connects Richard Wanke, to the murder, and NO NEW EVIDENCE IS BEING ADVANCED EVEN NOW by the SA, as justification for charging him 6 years after this heinous murder.

What we do know is that this particular unsolved murder is has been a thorn in the side of the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s office since it happened. It has been a contentious issue raised often by contending candidates in electoral elections for the office. It has been the subject of unsubstantiated public opinions aired in the press by various law enforcement and related individuals. And, from the outset, the investigation and resulting criminal process has been handled, as some would say, as a “rush to judgment” directed against Richard Wanke, who received an arguably the maximiun  prison term possible in another minor infraction as a result. So, the real question we should all be asking ourselves at this point  (instead of assuming) is: Is this justice? Does the evidence really justify the charges, or is this just an attempt by the SA and Rockford to save face with the community and the public by charging the usual suspect?

Posted in 2008 Clark murder investigation, Gregory Clark's murder, Richard's Cases, the Responsiblility of the Media, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Six years after slaying, Richard Wanke charged in Rockford lawyer’s killing – News – Rockford Register Star – Rockford, IL

Posted by scaryhouse on April 16, 2014


By Georgette BraunRockford Register Star

Posted Apr. 16, 2014 @ 10:45 amUpdated at 11:46 AM

ROCKFORD — Richard E. Wanke was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder in the Feb. 6, 2008, shooting death of local attorney Gregory H. Clark, 60, Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato announced at a news conference.

The charges come six years after the killing. Although investigators named Wanke, 52, a person of interest, no one was charged in the slaying until now. Clark had served as Wanke’s attorney before he was killed. PHOTOS: See a gallery of the Clark caseA grand jury indicted Wanke on charges of first-degree murder, Bruscato said.Bruscato would not comment on whether any new evidence was uncovered or what led to the charges years after the killing.

Rockford Police Department Deputy Chief David Hopkins said “nothing has dramatically changed at all,” with regard to the investigation into Clark’s death. He described the lengthy investigative process as “methodical, sometimes grueling.”Wanke has denied any involvement in Clark’s death. He faces 25 years to life if convicted. Wanke was arrested on a warrant Wednesday and is being without bond, Bruscato said.

An inmate at Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill, Wanke was weeks away from being released. He is serving prison time there after he was convicted on a 2006 burglary charge.Clark was appointed to defend Wanke against the charge.Wanke will make a court appearance in Winnebago County next week, Bruscato said.

Clark was killed while clearing snow from a sidewalk outside his Rockford home in the 1700 block of Oakforest Drive. Police said a gunman jumped out of a van and opened fire, shooting Clark several times in the back.Wanke has been in prison since 2008 on a 14-year prison sentence after he was convicted of burglary for stealing a laptop from a Rockford University professor. Clark was Wanke’s attorney in that case. Wanke’s projected parole date on the burglary charge had been set for May 7.

Diane Chavez of Rockford, Wanke’s former girlfriend and landlord, was found guilty in 2013 of obstructing police investigating Clark’s homicide, but an appellate court has sent the case back for retrial and prosecutors are planning a new trial on the obstruction charge. A jury had decided she lied to investigators when she told them that Wanke did not live with her at 1113 Grant Ave. That ruling was later overturned and Chief Judge Joseph McGraw vacated the conviction.

According to statements made in court hearings for Chavez and Wanke, police had provided prosecutors with eyewitness accounts placing Chavez, Wanke and the vehicle they shared at the scene of the shooting.

via Six years after slaying, Richard Wanke charged in Rockford lawyer’s killing – News – Rockford Register Star – Rockford, IL.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Inmates lend a hand: Partnership forms to fight local floodwaters

Posted by scaryhouse on April 14, 2014


April 11, 2014 1:00 am  •  By Becky Malkovich0

DU QUOIN — A collaboration between state and private entities put 12,000 sandbags in reach of those affected by flooding — at no cost to taxpayers.

Inmates at the Illinois Department of Corrections Inmate Impact Incarceration Program in Du Quoin shoveled about 126 tons of sand into bags Thursday as part of a joint effort by IDOC, the Du Quoin State Fair and Nikki’s Place, a video gaming business with 13 Southern Illinois locations.

The business donated the sand and about 12,000 bags and the boot camp and inmates donated the labor.

The fair is providing covered storage for the bags.

The collaboration was the idea of the donor and Thomas Spiller, warden at Pinckneyville Correctional Center. The Du Quoin camp is a satellite of the Pinckneyville facility.

“Everybody benefits,” Du Quoin IIP superintendent Clem Campanella said. “We’re being proactive and doing this in advance so if there is flooding we aren’t all of a sudden trying to coordinate the effort. These are ready today for anybody in an emergency situation.

”Inmates convicted of non-violent offenses are sentenced to the camp that offers educational, work, community service and physical activity opportunities.

via Inmates lend a hand: Partnership forms to fight local floodwaters.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Proposed bill would release elderly state prisoners early – The Times: Local

Posted by scaryhouse on March 30, 2014


Legislation to release certain older inmates from state prison early is once again moving through the Illinois General Assembly.

Rep. Arthur Turner, D-Chicago, proposed a bill that would make long-time prisoners who are older than 50 and have served more than 25 years eligible to be considered for early release.

The legislation would allow prison administrators to interview inmates before appearing before the Illinois Prisoner Review Board.

Supporters said the plan would reduce overcrowding in the state’s prison system and save money because elderly prisoners cost more money to house.

It is estimated 800 state inmates would be qualified to be considered for the program, up from about 32 in the late 1980s.

The measure advanced to the full House this week from a 4-3 vote by the House Restorative Justice Committee, but opponents suggested the legislation is not sensitive to victims and would not have any appreciable effect on the overcrowded prison system.

Opponents also object to the idea of allowing murderers to walk free just because they were able to live long enough to qualify for the program.

The bill, HB 3668, provides a committed person who is at least 50 and who has served at least 25 consecutive years of imprisonment in a Department of Corrections institution or facility may petition the Prisoner Review Board for participation in the Elderly Rehabilitated Prisoner Sentence Modification Program.

In part, it reads: “If the Board determines that a committed person is eligible for participation in the Program and that the committed person should participate in the Program, the Board shall set the conditions for the committed person’s release from prison before the expiration of his or her sentence.”

The proposed measure could affect prisoners such as Chester Otto Weger — infamously known as the “Starved Rock Killer.” Currently, he is the longest-serving inmate in the state’s prison system.

Weger, 75, was sentenced to life in prison following his 1961 conviction in the bludgeoning murder of a female hiker at the state park during a break from his dishwashing job at the lodge.

Three Riverside friends — Lillian Oetting, 50, Mildred Lindquist, 50, and Frances Murphy, 47, were killed in St. Louis Canyon on March 14, 1960. Weger was found guilty for just the killing of Oetting and never was returned for the trial in the other two deaths.

Last fall, following a parole hearing at the Pinckneyville Correctional Center and a hearing in Springfield, the Prisoner Review Board denied Weger release by a single vote.

It was his 18th failed attempt in seeking parole.

La Salle County State’s Attorney Brian Towne is opposed to the early release legislation and told The Times Friday he believes the bill would usurp the legal and just verdicts of juries and the courts.

“Speaking for the victims, we should not be doing this kind of release,” Towne said. “We all know that the state is in financial turmoil, but I do not think this is the place to save money.”

via Proposed bill would release elderly state prisoners early – The Times: Local.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

IDOC reps explain overtime, inmate population numbers – WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Posted by scaryhouse on March 29, 2014


$60 million. In 2013, that’s how much Illinois spent on overtime for those working where criminals serve time, Department of Corrections employees.

Like workers in many industries, some corrections workers pick up slack, working overtime when others are sick, on leaves of absence or just off-site. It’s actually a requirement, in the IDOC’s contract with its staff’s union.

“We will never leave a mandatory security post uncovered at any time.” -says IDOC Communications Director Tom Shaer.Union leaders believe the overtime costs are the result of overcrowding and understaffing. Shaer says statewide inmate populations have increased 10% in the last seven years and at Dixon Correctional Center, populations have increased 10% in the last five years. But, with around 2,300 inmates, Dixon still isn’t at capacity.

“We’re crowded, but not overcrowded. We’re not completely full, but we’re close, so we wouldn’t increase the Dixon population much more than it has.” -says Shaer.

While the IDOC doesn’t object to the need for more staff members, Shaer says it’s not the main reason for overtime.

“The biggest part of the cause for overtime are employees calling in sick, calling in for other reasons that are within their contract, family reasons, weather, can’t get in it’s snowing.

“According to department numbers, Dixon Correctional Center overtime expenses have fluctuated in the last five years, currently half a million dollars more than the cost in 2009. Shaer points out, this year is more expensive, partly because of scheduled pay raises, dating back two years.

“But, the money couldn’t be paid until the General Assembly freed up the funding and gave us the money to pay these folks, that now is pushed into this fiscal year.

“The IDOC total budget is $1.2 billion. With a staff of 11,000, it employs 20% of all state workers.

Overtime in FY ’14 is projected to be $7 million less than FY ’13.

via IDOC reps explain overtime, inmate population numbers – WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Ruling could mean early release – News – The Register-Mail – Galesburg, IL

Posted by scaryhouse on March 22, 2014


CHICAGO AP — Dozens of inmates serving life without parole in Illinois for murders they committed when they were juveniles were given a chance at freedom Thursday when the state Supreme Court granted them new sentencing hearings.

The 16-page opinion stemmed from the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2012 decision that mandatory life sentences without parole for juveniles were unconstitutional, and said it must be applied retroactively in Illinois.

The ruling sets up the prospect of dramatic sentencing hearings. Approximately 100 inmates, some of whom have been locked up for decades, will try to convince a judge they’ve been rehabilitated and deserve to be released, while families of victims will recount horrific crimes and ask their loved ones’ killers to stay behind bars.

An attorney for the 37-year-old Addolfo Davis, who was convicted of murder for his role in a 1990 robbery that left two people dead, said the judge will be presented information about Davis’ troubled childhood and what he has done since his conviction — receiving his GED diploma, participating in a mentoring program and writing a book of poetry.“Young people are young people and no matter their worst acts they have the capacity for change and that can never be omitted from any criminal proceedings, including at sentencing when they’re facing a punishment that means they will die in prison,” attorney Patricia Soung said.

Another attorney who represents three people sees another benefit from Thursday’s ruling.“We have the unique opportunity where we know what their potential for rehabilitation really was 10, 20 years later,” said Shobha Mahadev, a clinical assistant professor in Northwestern University’s Children and Family Justice Center.But victims’ families said they were horrified at the high court’s decision, because they will not only have to see the people who killed their loved ones but also face the possibility that the inmates could go free.“It’s absolutely horrible and what’s so unfair is he’s had all his legal appeals and now this,” Dora Larson, whose 10-year-old daughter, Vicki, was raped and strangled by 15-year-old Scott Darnell in 1979. “How many chances does he get when my baby is dead forever?”

Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins’ pregnant sister and her sister’s husband were shot to death by David Biro in the basement of their Winnetka home in 1990.Bishop-Jenkins says her family and other families will be at a disadvantage at the hearings because relatives have died or can’t be located to testify. Her father found the bodies of her sister and brother-in-law.“My father passed away and we never videotaped what he saw because we didn’t want to put him through that again,” she said. “If we had known what was coming we would have done that.”

With Thursday’s decision, the Illinois Supreme Court is the latest to rule on the issue of retroactivity, agreeing with the high courts in Iowa, Massachusetts, Mississippi and Nebraska. Courts in Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Minnesota ruled against applying it retroactively, with courts in a number of other states considering the issue.

via Ruling could mean early release – News – The Register-Mail – Galesburg, IL.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

UPDATE: New Parolee Proposal

Posted by scaryhouse on March 16, 2014


UPDATE: The Illinois Department of Corrections says a new parole proposal, would in fact bring more than 200 ex-offenders back to Rockford.

Tom Shaer, Communications Officer for IDOC, says Winnebago County currently has 202 fewer parolees living there than it would under this proposed legislation.

State Rep. John Cabello introduced the new parole proposal today. It would force parolees back to their home county upon their release. This comes nearly a year after two men from Peoria and Chicago were arrested for a string of burglaries along Broadway. Rockford police say they don’t want out of town criminals causing more trouble in our area.

Right now, 465 parolees first sent to prison from Winnebago and currently not living/paroled in Winnebago County, According to the IDOC.

The IDOC says, 263 parolees are living/paroled in Winnebago County but were not originally sent to prison from there.

Lieutenant Pat Hoey says parolees need a positive support system as they transition back into society.

“A reason why you may not want to come back to your home town so you don’t have those same bad connections, those associates that get involved in criminal activity, but you also need that family structure.to be able to come back where you have family,” Hoey

The house rules committee stil has to review the proposal.

WINNEBAGO COUNTY (WIFR) – Nearly a year after two men from Chicago and Peoria almost killed a Rockford man, local lawmakers want to keep out of town criminals out of our area.

“Parolees not only from Chicago but other cities are coming here to Rockford with no ties to this community and causing havoc.”

Lieutenant Hoey says sometimes it’s difficult for ex-offenders to turn their lives around, especially in a new city.

“You also need that family structure to be able to come back where you have family, where you have friends, where they can help mentor you and keep you on the right track.”

That’s why legislators are pushing for a new parole bill which would force parolees to go back to their home county once they’re released from prison. This comes nearly a year after two men from Chicago and Peoria were charged with a string of robberies along Broadway Street.

“We have enough challenges with the people in Rockford.”

“We have to do a better job of getting people back into society once they’ve been released from prison.”

State Representative John Cabello introduced the bill earlier this year. He says communities shouldn’t have to deal with another city’s criminals, however he understands some parolees may need a fresh start somewhere else.

“Some people need to go to a different community to be able to break those ties with the gangs or whatever. We will probably amend the bill so that there might be a way to petition the department of corrections to move into a separate community,” Cabello said.

The legislation has been sent to the House Rules committee.

via UPDATE: New Parolee Proposal.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Courthouse News Service

Posted by scaryhouse on March 16, 2014


By JEFF D. GORMAN

CN – In a case that “illustrates the often arbitrary gaps in the legal remedies … for violations of federal constitutional rights,” the 7th Circuit said it could not advance the claims of a “victim of serious institutional neglect of, and perhaps deliberate indifference to, his serious medical needs.”

“The problem he faces is that the remedial system that has been built upon § 1983 by case law focuses primarily on individual responsibility,” Judge David Hamilton wrote for a three-judge panel in Chicago.     It means that Earnest Shields, the victim in question, “must come forward with evidence that one or more specific human beings acted with deliberate indifference toward his medical needs.”

Shields ruptured a tendon his shoulder while lifting weights in prison in 2008, but those responsible for his medical care waited too long for surgery to do him any good, leaving him with a serious shoulder injury.     Shields sued the Illinois Department of Corrections, Wexford Health Sources Inc., four of its doctors and two other doctors from the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine who recommended physical therapy for him rather than surgery.

The 7th Circuit reluctantly affirmed dismissal Wednesday.     Shields was not able to assign the necessary individual responsibility, as the regional director and medical director made the “critical error” of failing to select specific doctors for the referral of Shields’ case, according to the ruling.

“The Illinois Department of Corrections and its medical services contractor, Wexford, diffused responsibility for Shields’ medical care so widely that Shields has been unable to identify a particular person who was responsible for seeing that he was treated in a timely and appropriate way,” Hamilton wrote.     Though Shields lost, the judges said “a new approach may be needed” to ascertain whether corporations should be shielded from respondeat superior liability.

“Since prisons and prison medical services are increasingly being contracted out to private parties, reducing private employers’ incentives to prevent their employees from violating inmates’ constitutional rights raises serious concerns,” Hamilton wrote.

Shields may petition for rehearing on the question of whether corporate liability should be treated similarly to municipal liability, but Judge John Daniel Tinder disagreed in a concurring opinion.     He said Shields should not be allowed to advance an argument in an appellate court that he did not present at trial.     “There exists no law in our circuit that would allow us to review, de novo and on the merits, brand new arguments raised in a petition for rehearing,” Tinder wrote.

via Courthouse News Service.

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