If you are interested in learning more about Richard’s case, then pull down the tab above labelled “Who is Richard Wanke” and click on the “Greg Clark Murder” tab beneath it to read more about Richard’s murder case and predicament. The page is updated as the case progresses with court filings, transcripts, and explanations of events as they unfold. Please feel free to add your comments as you read. If you wish to help out, please attend the court dates as they are announced. If you are media, we hope your coverage will be balanced in it’s approach. If you are an interested defense attorney and will consider either pro bono assistance or court appointment, please call (779) 348 – 2487, anytime to prevent further injustice. Anyone is also welcome to contact us via email@example.com and we also welcome Facebook readers of richardwanke and injustice everywhere to this site.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A report from an Illinois prison watchdog group says the state’s hiring process for its corrections system is cumbersome and needs to be streamlined.The John Howard Association says in the report released Thursday that jobs at state corrections facilities stay vacant too long because of the hiring system. For instance, filling teacher vacancies takes six to eight months at six youth prisons run by the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice, according to the report.The report says delays in completing background checks and setting start dates “can encourage the most highly qualified candidates to accept employment elsewhere.”Additional testing, reviewing, scoring and interviewing add to delays, the report says. Applicants file large batches of paperwork, according to the association.Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner called for state hiring rules to be overhauled earlier this year, the Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers (http://bit.ly/1GMKqQM ) reports. He also said in February that the state Department of Corrections needed more workers, saying it should have 12,224 employees rather than the estimated 11,300 at the time.Department of Corrections spokeswoman Nicole Wilson said in an email that the agency is “working aggressively to boost staffing levels.” As of Sept. 30, the department’s staff was at 11,482 workers, she said, and nearly 600 new correctional officers have been added since Rauner took office.Wilson said increased staffing has helped trim overtime costs, saving $1.06 million from fiscal year 2015 compared with 2014.John Howard Association executive director Jennifer Vollen-Katz said the idea for its report came after the group visited facilities.”What we noticed is the chronic understaffing,” Vollen-Katz said. “The more questions we asked we found that this is a very complicated problem. Nobody could explain the hiring process to us from start to finish.”Many procedures that slow hiring were meant curb political favoritism, but Vollen-Katz said processes have become “unwieldy and unmanageable.””It started from a good place,” she said. “The instinct there was good.”Vollen-Katz said many changes would require spending. Computer systems would have to be upgraded, and more training would be needed for human resources staff.
To prevent false confessions, which have contributed to more than a quarter of the 330 DNA exonerations, nationally, the Innocence Project advocates that police departments video tape police interrogations so that juries can later determine if the confession was given voluntarily or was coerced. Yesterday, the National Science Foundation released a video explaining that the camera angle used in recording the interrogation can have an important effect on the ability of juries to accurately determine whether or not a confession was coerced.
Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department is seeking applicants to fill 13 openings for corrections officer – Rockford Register StarPosted: September 4, 2015 by scaryhouse in Uncategorized
ROCKFORD — The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department is seeking applicants to fill 13 openings for corrections officer. Testing will be conducted Sept. 26 at Rock Valley College’s Physical Education Center, 3301 N. Mulford Road.Registration begins at 8 a.m. Testing begins at 9 a.m.The tests include a physical ability assessment, a written exam, background investigation, psychological assessment and a medical exam.Comfortable clothing such as a sweatshirt or T-shirt, shorts or seat pants and gym shoes should be worn to the testing.Starting salary is $37,493 plus benefits.Applicants must be at least 21 years old, a U.S. citizen and have a high school diploma or G.E.D. Applicants should bring a valid driver’s license or state ID card.— Chris Green
August 21, 2015 6:14 pm • By Kristen Zambo(1) Comments
RACINE — Lawyers on Friday said the state’s top prosecutors plan to appeal a Racine County judge’s ruling that overturned a man’s conviction in a 1995 attempted rape, which ultimately led to his being freed after 20 years behind bars.
Daniel G. Scheidell, 66, of Racine, has been free for about a month after Racine County Circuit Court Judge John Jude overturned his two-decades-old conviction in June and ordered a new trial.
The state Attorney General’s Office this month filed a notice that it intends to appeal, but the formal appeal hasn’t yet been filed, one of Scheidell’s defense attorneys, Steven Wright, said after a hearing on Friday.
“I’m certainly not giving up.”
— Daniel G. Scheidell, 66, of Racine
By Jeff Kolkey
Rockford Register Star
Posted Aug. 18, 2015 at 2:24 PM
Updated Aug 18, 2015 at 6:17 PM
ROCKFORD — Attorneys for a 22-year-old man accused in the Dec. 20 killings of a young mother, her two sons and her boyfriend asked Judge John Truitt today to bar evidence from his eventual trial based on an argument that it was seized illegally.
Winnebago County Assistant Public Defenders Nick Zimmerman and Edward Light say a duplex apartment their client, Calvin Carter, shared with his uncle was entered by Rockford Police Department detectives without a warrant on the morning of Christmas Eve as they investigated the quadruple homicide. They argued police officers obtained a search warrant only after they had already conducted an initial search of the apartment at 422 11th St.
“The search was without probable cause, without a warrant, without permission to enter,” and was therefore illegal and in violation of the U.S. Constitution, Zimmerman argued. “They really had no information to believe (Carter) was there at that time.”
But Winnebago County Assistant State’s Attorneys Marilyn Hite Ross and James Brun said police investigating the quadruple homicide had every right to enter the home. They were looking for Carter who was already wanted on a retail theft warrant out of East St. Louis and had become a prime suspect in the killings.
After learning Carter wasn’t in the apartment, the officers left without taking any items and returned with a valid search warrant from a Winnebago County judge.
“The evidence will show there was no unreasonable search,” Hite Ross told Truitt.
The hearing at times grew heated, with tempers flaring during tense exchanges over what could be critical evidence including cellphones, gloves, flash drives and clothing. The hearing is expected to conclude Thursday afternoon.
Carter has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder in the killings of Martia Flint, 24, her two sons, Tobias Smith, 4, and Tyrone Smith, 6, along with her boyfriend, Demontae Rhodes, 24. Carter had been in a relationship with Flint, a dental assistant. Flint had for years dated Rhodes, a childhood friend, before they briefly broke up and then reunited.
The four were shot to death in their apartment in the 3200 block of Montrose Avenue.
Investigators, based on interviews with witnesses and more than 1,800 text messages downloaded from her phone, believe Flint had in the days before the killings complained to friends and family about abuse at the hands of Carter and voiced concern he might try to hurt her. Carter disputes those allegations.
Defense attorneys attempted to show police had no probable cause to conduct an initial search the 11th Street apartment. Their questions pointed out that a neighbor said it had been quiet the prior few days and didn’t recognize a photo of Carter.
Rockford Police Detective Brad Shelton testified that officers entered the apartment without a search warrant because they thought there was a chance Carter was there. Detectives worked relentlessly in the days after the killings to track down Carter, who had exchanged numerous text messages with Flint until an hour before the slayings when the messages abruptly stopped.
Illinois governor signs police guidelines for body cameras – News – Rockford Register Star – Rockford, ILPosted: August 15, 2015 by scaryhouse in Uncategorized
By The Associated Press
Posted Aug. 12, 2015 at 11:40 AM
SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed legislation making Illinois among the first states to establish a comprehensive plan addressing police procedures including body cameras.
The proposal that Rauner signed into law on Wednesday establishes reporting requirements for police who make stops or arrests and guidelines for training, like about racial bias. It also largely prohibits excessive force like choke holds.
Dozens of states have passed measures in the wake of last year’s fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Three states passed comprehensive plans: Illinois, Colorado and Connecticut.
Supporters call the measure a model for other states.
Rauner signed the bill privately. In a statement he says it helps strengthen the relationship between law enforcement and the public.
Sales tax increase considered to bolster Winnebago County Sheriff’s staff – News – Rockford Register Star – Rockford, ILPosted: August 15, 2015 by scaryhouse in Uncategorized
By Kevin Haas
Rockford Register Star
Posted Aug. 11, 2015 at 9:23 PM
Updated Aug 11, 2015 at 10:42 PM
ROCKFORD — Winnebago County Board members floated the idea of a sales tax increase Tuesday to pay for a $6.7 million plan to bolster staff and other resources for the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department.
The suggested tax increase divided County Board members, but they agreed that a priority must be placed on fighting crime and vowed to explore all avenues to fund Sheriff Gary Caruana’s budget proposal. The department had not suggested the tax increase and top brass say their request can be funded with existing revenue. County Board members are less confident because they already face a budget deficit of more than $2 million before factoring in the $6.7 million request.
The sales tax increase was offered as a solution Tuesday during a joint meeting of the County Board’s Finance and Public Safety committees. Ten County Board members — half of the board — were in attendance to hear Caruana pitch his proposal to increase his annual budget about 19 percent to $41.8 million, largely for additional staff and the equipment and training they’ll need. County Board member Burt Gerl suggested a small sales tax increase that would sunset after three to four years to bolster staff. His idea would require voter approval of a tax hike referendum. A public safety sales tax such as that would not apply to food, titled vehicles or medicine. Ted Biondo, chairman of the Finance Committee, said raising the public safety sales tax from 1 percent to 1.25 percent could help generate the cash needed but it would be a tough sell to the public.
“What do you tell your constituents who have lost tens of thousands of dollars on their homes in property value, but they still are paying higher property taxes than they did five years ago,” Biondo said.
A quarter-cent public safety sales tax increase would bring the overall sales tax rate to 8.5 percent in Rockford.
The Sheriff’s Department staff is down almost 16 percent since 2007, according to the department. Caruana wants to hire 14 deputies on patrol, three detectives and 26 corrections officers, including a sergeant and a lieutenant. The proposal includes additional Winnebago County 911 center staff previously approved by the County Board in March. Caruana also requests an additional evidence custodian, reserve deputies to provide security for the county’s newly obtained Ware building, two deputies to serve on the warrant-serving Fugitive Apprehension Unit, one deputy assigned to oversee accreditation standards, nine administrative clerks for the records department, a crime research coordinator and community policing deputy.
“The crime in this community is outrageous. People do not want to come out of their doors because of crime,” County Board member Gary Jury said. Jury, however, said the board has to prioritize its spending rather than raise taxes.
Safety concerns fuel Winnebago County Sheriff’s fight for more jail officers – News – Rockford Register Star – Rockford, ILPosted: August 15, 2015 by scaryhouse in Uncategorized
By Kevin Haas
Rockford Register Star
Posted Jul. 31, 2015 at 4:21 PM
Updated Aug 1, 2015 at 9:26 PM
ROCKFORD — The fight started at the edge of a blind spot for jail security cameras. And Corrections Officer Sam Suddarth was alone with 45 fresh-off-the-street inmates.
Nearly two minutes had passed before anyone realized that Suddarth was engaged in a struggle with an inmate. It was almost three minutes before help arrived. The back-and-forth grappling match sent both Suddarth and the inmate slamming against cement walls before he released his grasp and radioed for backup.
“While other inmates just stood around, he was in a blind spot on one of the cameras so the desk officer couldn’t see him and was in just a ferocious fight,” said Mark Karner, chief deputy of the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department.
For Karner, Winnebago County Sheriff Gary Caruana and corrections officers, the June 27 fight exemplifies the dangers of an understaffed Winnebago County Jail. Suddarth was the sole officer locked in the jail pod with the inmates. He should be accompanied by a second officer, but there isn’t enough staff to do so, Jail Superintendent Bob Redmond said.
Caruana wants to bolster the corrections staff and is working to justify the expense to County Board members, who set the budget. But the board is already wrestling with an anticipated deficit totaling more than $2 million. Caruana’s first budget proposal since being elected asks for a $6.7 million increase to hire more deputies, corrections officers and other staff, as well as purchase equipment and provide training. The nearly $1.4 million request for 26 corrections officers, including two supervisors, surprised some County Board members who have watched as the jail’s average daily population has dropped 33 percent from its peak in 2012.
Despite the recent population decline, the jail is operating with 36 fewer staff members than it had upon opening in 2007, Karner said. The ratio of inmates to officers was 3-to-1 in 2007. It was nearly 4-to-1 in June, when the average daily jail population was 726. The average ratio has been 3.68-to-1 this year.
Weapon, drugs seized during Winnebago County Jail lockdown – News – Rockford Register Star – Rockford, ILPosted: August 15, 2015 by scaryhouse in Uncategorized
By Jeff Kolkey
Rockford Register Star
ROCKFORD — Winnebago County Corrections officers placed the jail on a 15-hour lockdown Sunday to conduct what is believed to be the first-ever search of the entire facility for contraband, weapons and drugs.
Under the direction of a new administration, Sheriff Gary Caruana said the search was part of an ongoing assessment effort to determine what is working and what can be improved at the Winnebago County Jail and with other functions of the sheriff’s office.
“At least we know we are starting out with a clean slate,” Caruana said.
A make-shift weapon and illegal prescription drugs were confiscated during the search. There were no arrests or charges filed in connection with the items that were found.
It was the first in what Caruana says will be a series of unannounced, periodic searches to “ensure the safety of the corrections officers and the inmates.”
The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Corrections Emergency Response Team was assisted by K-9 units from Winnebago County, Rockford and Loves Park during the exhaustive search. New safeguards that include expanded training to detect and prevent illegal contraband from entering the jail are being implemented, Caruana said.