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. Sentence credits have the potential to begin to reduce prison overcrowding, but have so far not been used to do so. IL now has a new governor who has expressed more concern with prison issues. We will wait to see what changes Bruce Rauner will make to IDOC and policy. You can read more here: (here)

    Sentence credits are 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, 20605 Winnebago County Jail 650 W. State St. Rockford, IL. 61102

    ____________________

    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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Why Eyewitness Testimony Should Rarely Be Used To Convict Anyone

Posted by smallmouth63 on September 14, 2011


The uninformed public gives the testimony of “eyewitnesses” far too much credibility. Do any research on the reliability of eyewitness testimony and you find that not only do people not remember correctly what they think or are certain that they saw, but you learn that all too often studies show that ideas and suggestions made after an incident happens or the desire of an individual to be “helpful” ends up tainting or rewriting peoples memories of events. The final memory that people believe is accurate is fragile and can bear little resemblence to the truth.

People should be a little more self-aware of how fleeting and susceptible their own memories are about events that happen around them and their own interactions with other individuals, and that we should know that our memories often cannot be relied upon. You would think that we would be very cautious in expressing certainty based upon our observations; particularly when the lives and well-being of others are affected by what we claim we saw or know.

Yet humans continue to bear witness to false memories and the consequences upon others, as in the two articles below, is disastrous. Jacques Rivera, served 21 years of an 80-year sentence before the appeals court accepted the recanted testimony of Orlando Lopez, the man who fingered Rivera for murder and who originally testified against him. Even now, Rivera is not free, but remains held without bond in Cook County jail, (a jail no one wants to be held in) waiting for the state to decide if it will still retry him for the 1988 murder. Inmate Jamie Snow, has not been so lucky. Even though his attorneys state that a former police officer who is now an inmate can discredit a prime witness’s claim that he saw Snow leave the scene of a murder, and despite that recantation of the testimony of other witnesses, Snow was still recently denied the chance for a new trial. He is just fighting to get his argument heard without any assurance that his life sentence will be overturned.

New trial for man convicted in ’88 murder after witness recants

Inmate appeals denial of new trial in 1991 killing

IL needs a law which prevents eyewitness testimony to either be used alone or in conjunction with just circumstantial evidence to convict anyone of a crime, particularly serious crimes. The consequences to those wrongfully convicted are too great and the error rate in eyewitness testimony is too high to justify such heavy reliance upon it in those cases. There are too many wrongfully convicted, particularly in IL, and too few resources to help them after they have been screwed. Thank goodness for the efforts of Northwestern University Center on Wrongful Convictions and those individual attorneys who, in these tough times, still care enough to do the hard work and investigation required to prove the innocence of those convicted only by eyewitness testimony or circumstantial evidence.

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One Response to “Why Eyewitness Testimony Should Rarely Be Used To Convict Anyone”

  1. tam said

    Infuriating! Thanks for spreading the word! This goes far beyond the “star witness” being discredited by the police officer. He also failed to identify him in a physical line up shortly after the crime (in which Snow attended), and also in numerous photo books over the years. He only identified him 8 years later, in a private meeting in the state’s attorney’s office. Get this: from the exact photo of the original line up. Wonder why he “suddenly” identified him? And how many more that we DON’T know about?

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