Archive for the ‘Local Issues’ Category


It is past due time for staffing of the office. Obviously, it was of no real use without a deputy on duty.

“…Monday, the Rockford City Council OK’d a deal to pay the county $75,000 annually to fund the salary and benefits of a sheriff’s deputy who will be stationed noon to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Assessment Center housed in the Juvenile Justice Center at 211 S. Court St., the old Federal Courthouse.

Court officials said the presence of a deputy will speed up the process of returning the arresting officer to the streets and releasing juveniles back into the custody of their parents, or lodging them in the Juvenile Detention Center if necessary.

The deputy is described by Jakeway and Juvenile Probation Division supervisor John Papiernick as a vital cog in the assessment process. However, a deputy has been absent from the Assessment Center since September 2015 when the position was cut by Sheriff Gary Caruana because of budget constraints…”

http://www.rrstar.com/news/20170325/winnebago-county-juvenile-assessment-center-soon-to-be-fully-operational

 

 


 

No one should have to die just because one is sent away to prison.  Yet, the story below is not new. Not everyone can withstand the mental and physical pressures of imprisonment especially when they are treated little better than warehoused cattle. We routinely see PETA and other animal rights group advertisements in print and on media about the abuse of animals in puppy mills, etc., and we cringe. But we ignore the terrible physical conditions, sensory deprivation and human misery prisoners suffer under in our state and federal prisons and even many of our county jails.

As in this story, the institutional response is most often complete indifference and non-acknowledgement of responsibility. Prisons and jails are run for cost and often operated at the lowest common-demoninator cost. Staffing is often minimal and operations are cheap. Human welfare and concern are not even on the menu.

Read Article: Losing a son in NY prisons

From article:

“…Lonnie Hamilton III entered the state prison system on January 2, 2015, after spending nineteen months in a city jail. He was assigned to a prison in central New York, two hundred and fifty miles from the Bronx, known as Marcy Correctional Facility. By then he was twenty-one. At the beginning of his imprisonment, he called his father often, but as the months passed he became more secluded. By the spring of 2016, Ham had not heard from him in several months. In early May, he began putting together a care package to mail to Lonnie: clothes for the upcoming warm weather, underwear, sneakers, some of his favorite junk food, like Oreos.

Ham went to the prison system’s Web site to find his son’s inmate number. He typed his son’s name into the inmate-lookup section; next to “Latest Release Date,” he saw “03/18/16 deceased.” “I’m, like, that must be wrong,” he recalled. “So I go and start the whole process all over, and it’s coming up ‘deceased.’ My head is swivelling a thousand miles an hour. What the hell is going on? So I call up there, and I’m trying to get answers.” That’s how he found out that “deceased” was not a mistake: Lonnie was dead.

Getting more information proved nearly impossible. “As I’m talking, these people are hot-potatoing the phone to the next person, to the next person,” he told me. He reached a male officer: “He F.U.-ed me, told me to have a nice day, and hung the phone up on me.” At that moment, Ham was riding in his brother’s car. “This threw me into such a rage, I damn near jumped out the car,” he said. His brother told him about an app that records telephone calls, and he started using it as he called around the prison.

Eventually, he reached Deputy Superintendent Mark Kinderman. “We did everything we could to try to get some kind of response, to try to track someone down,” Kinderman told him. “We tried a lot of different family members. . . . Every number we had was called, was called multiple times.” The father acknowledged the difficulty of tracking people down by cell phone—“a lot of people’s numbers tend to change”—but he asked why, if nobody could reach him on the phone, he had not received a letter notifying him of his son’s death…”


https://www.aclu.org/issues/mass-incarceration/privatization-criminal-justice/private-prisons


Source: Prison treats inmates too harshly – Rockford Register Star


If he is any bit a humanitarian, State’s Attorney, Joe Bruscato should not waste a moment in reviewing and dismissing the prosecution of John Horton, and ending the 23 years of suffering which this man has endured.

 

http://www.rrstar.com/news/20161012/illinois-appellate-court-says-rockford-man-convicted-of-murder-entitled-to-new-trial


Chuck Sweeney, local opinion columnist for the Rockford Register-Star newspaper points out the big hole in the way in which the Winnebago County Board operates which keeps it in the red. The Winnebago County Board sets a budget every year, but it apparently lets certain County Departmental heads walk all over the restraints of that budget when they want to exceed their individual budget allotments. Sweeney basically reveals that those department head County employees who have political clout feel free to approach individual County Board members for approval to overspend their departmental budgets when they run out of money. Sweeney indicates that this is apparently a routine occurrence, and that those individual County Board members often go along with these departmental requests and approve the excess expenditures.

http://www.rrstar.com/news/20161008/chuck-sweeny-saying-yes-to-amendment-demands-means-winnebago-county-has-no-budget

Well geez, now we really know why the Winnebago County Board can’t seem to rein in it’s County spending of taxpayer funds! They, as well as these departmental heads just don’t seem to understand what living within a financial budget means.

Most employees know they don’t stand a chance in going to the boss and asking for more money these days. The Winnebago County Board draws up a budget every year which requires Board votes for approval and passage. The fact that departmental heads would even think that they can confidently side-step the finality of that process by approaching a Board member to okay them additional funds indicates either extreme weakness and disunity in the Winnebago County Board or simple financial ineptitude.

That several departments came forward to successfully feed at this trough just recently despite the current County budget shortfall indicates how routine this practice is and how the County Board has created a monster it will now have to rein in if it is to get the County budget under control.

http://www.rrstar.com/news/20160804/winnebago-county-board-considers-15-million-in-budget-amendments-as-bigger-shortfall-looms

No wonder the County Board has Sheriff Caruana routinely grand-standing before it for more money for pet projects in his department.

Up for grabs is the question: Who is really in charge of our money in Winnebago County?

 

 

 

http://www.rrstar.com/news/20161008/chuck-sweeny-saying-yes-to-amendment-demands-means-winnebago-county-has-no-budget


By Jeff Kolkey Staff writer

Posted Jun. 24, 2016 at 12:14 PM
Updated Jun 24, 2016 at 5:37 PM

ROCKFORD — Digital scanners tuned to Rockford police channels will fall silent Aug. 1.

Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea is ordering all digital radio communications to be transmitted over only encrypted channels starting in August, preventing members of the public and news organizations from listening to police radio traffic. O’Shea said he is concerned about officer safety and individuals’ privacy rights and worries that open communication tips off criminals to police movements.

The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department may follow suit next year.”I’m not trying to hide anything,” O’Shea said today. “It’s not about cutting off the media or the public.”

O’Shea said technology had made it easier for criminals to glean information from police radio traffic that can thwart law enforcement, give suspects advanced notice of imminent law enforcement activity and compromise investigations.

The change to encrypted channels involves reprogramming police radios at virtually no cost, O’Shea said.Plans are for the department to continue keeping a police blotter, Facebook page and Twitter feed to disseminate information to the public.

O’Shea said the department plans to establish a dedicated news media hotline and create a 911 call log that journalists and the public can use to monitor criminal and police activity.It has not been determined how often the log will be updated and published. And O’Shea said it will be scrubbed of calls, such as child sex crimes and “certain domestics,” the police department determines are inappropriate to publish.

“With what we are putting in place, I feel very comfortable it won’t decrease our transparency,” O’Shea said.Don Craven, an attorney for the Illinois Press Association, said the shift to encrypted police communications is becoming more common in the state and in jurisdictions across the country. Police encryption raises the chance that the police department itself becomes the sole source of news and information about crime, he said.

“It’s going to make it very difficult to have immediate knowledge of what’s going on,” Craven said. “I’m not sure if this was designed to keep nosy reporters from knowing what’s going on, or if that’s an aftereffect.”

Source: Rockford to scramble all police radio communication – News – Rockford Register Star – Rockford, IL


By Georgette Braun Staff writer
Posted Mar. 1, 2016 at 8:31 PM Updated at 8:30 AM ROCKFORD —

Public defender Nick Zimmerman asked to withdraw as attorney for Richard E. Wanke Jr., who is charged with murder in the 2008 death of attorney Gregory H. Clark, but Judge Rosemary Collins said today he couldn’t. Collins said Zimmerman’s assertion that there could be a conflict of interest if he were to call a colleague to testify wasn’t at issue. That’s because the colleague’s involvement with Wanke revolved around a separate burglary case against him, Collins said. “There is no conflict,” she said.

Zimmerman is the fourth lawyer for Wanke in the case. Wanke has contended at previous hearings that Winnebago County public defenders could not adequately represent him because of conflicts of interest. Zimmerman continued to defend Wanke in the Winnebago County courtroom today, where he sought to have certain evidence suppressed in the case that will go to trial on May 2.

Clark was fatally shot Feb. 6, 2008, 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 vehicle and shot Clark in the back.

Clark had defended Wanke on a 2006 burglary charge involving a computer, and Wanke was upset with the outcome. That’s what Rockford Police Department officers said Bart Henbest, Clark’s son-in-law and business partner, told them at the time.

Wanke was serving prison time at Stateville Correctional Center and was weeks away from being released when he was charged in 2014 with killing Clark. He has previously said he had nothing to do with Clark’s death.

In Collins’ courtroom, Zimmerman said that Rockford police in 2008 “arrested my client at gunpoint, without a warrant or probable cause.” And he asked that items Wanke had on him when he was detained not be admitted as evidence at trial. Those items included business cards, a driver’s license, keys, a cellphone and a flash drive. The significance of those items in the case was unclear.

Wanke, wearing a lime green Winnebago County Jail jumpsuit, ankle shackles, a ponytail and an audio headset to aid hearing, often leaned closer to Zimmerman and whispered to him as Zimmerman was about to address the court.

Marilyn Hite Ross, chief of the criminal bureau for the Winnebago County state’s attorney office, said there was probable cause for police to detain Wanke. “Probable cause exists when they have articulative facts that led them to believe that a crime had been committed and this defendant committed that crime.”

Sgt. David Lee of the Rockford Police Department testified today that he and other officers were sent to a duplex in the 1100 block of Grant Street to do surveillance within a few hours after Clark was shot. That’s where they saw Wanke shoveling snow. He matched the description witnesses gave of a suspect at the shooting scene: a white male in his 40s or 50s, with glasses and long, straggly hair. A blue minivan with gold rims was parked near Wanke.

Source: Richard Wanke, accused of killing Rockford lawyer Gregory Clark, seeks to suppress evidence – News – Rockford Register Star – Rockford, IL

…AND WHAT WE HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THIS HEARING & ARTICLE:

First off, background about what an IL “Suppression” hearing is and what it is supposed to accomplish

A motion to suppress evidence is an objection over evidence generally presented to court before trial begins. The motion challenges evidence on constitutional grounds. Generally a motion to suppress is based on:
Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure
Fifth Amendment limitations of self-incrimination
Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment safeguards for due process

Generally, the purpose of a suppression hearing is to examine whether or not the police had sufficient probable cause to either arrest, search, or seize persons or property at a specific time.

The US Supreme Court has left probable cause open to interpretation by US courts with such guidance as, …”Probable cause exists where the facts and circumstances within the officers’ knowledge and of which they have reasonably trustworthy information are sufficient in themselves to warrant a man of reasonable caution in the belief that an offense has been or is being committed.” (Brinegar v. U.S.)

A look at the probable cause in a criminal case may be warranted based on the circumstances of the case. In Richard Wanke’s instance, there are indications that the police in February 2008, may have had little more than suspicion that Wanke was involved in Greg Clark’s murder; that is, no forensic evidence or only circumstantial linkages. Richard Wanke was not arrested in 2008, but his bond was revoked and he was jailed. The State is trying to justify the factual basis on why he was imprisoned based on what the police knew at the time they acted against him. If the actions taken in 2008 were not based on sufficient probable cause of his involvement in the murder, then whatever was collected by police in 2008 may not be usable today by the State. Bottom-line, in 2008, the police needed to be able to have reasonably connected Richard Wanke to the murder.

Richard’s case is almost a double situation of probable cause because he was charged with the murder in April 2014, after it went cold in 2010. Cold cases are usually re-opened and charged after the police discover new evidence that links a suspect to the crime. This does not appear to have happened in Richard’s case, so if sufficient probable cause is not found in the actions of 2008, then there may be further issues of legitimacy in his 2014 charges.

Now, will Judge Collins find the police had “probable cause” against Richard Wanke in 2008? She will issue her decision next Monday on March 7, 2016. But, yeah; we anticipate that she will find that the police did have probable cause to act against Richard, and that she will deny defense’s motion to suppress any evidence.

We anticipate this decision based on how she handled and disposed the first motion defense submitted just before the suppression hearing began.

The RRSTAR article above is a garbled account and explanation of what actually took place in the courtroom on March 1, 2016. The RRSTAR reporters have only the limited opportunity while reporting to learn how to interpret courtroom actions and their significance.

Georgette Braun writes: “… Collins said Zimmerman’s assertion that there could be a conflict of interest if he were to call a colleague to testify wasn’t at issue. That’s because the colleague’s involvement with Wanke revolved around a separate burglary case against him, Collins said. “There is no conflict,” she said…”

Well, this is not quite what happened. Derrick Schmidt, one of Richard’s prior Public Defender’s warned Judge Collins during argument over his past motion to withdraw the Public Defender’s office from representing Richard that the issue of conflict-of-interest regarding the Winnebago County’s Public Defender’s office was going to rear it’s ugly head repeatedly through Richard’s case if Judge Collins did not remove the office from the case.

Yesterday, Nick Zimmerman, Richard’s current Public Defender said that he and Robert Simmons, (his co-counsel) were reviewing case materials early Monday morning when they came upon an issue with the way in which Richard’s bond was revoked on February 6, 2008. Basically, Zimmerman maintained that Richard’s bond was illegally revoked because the police and the State agent at the time failed to follow proper procedures when they revoked his bond.

Generally bond is revoked in court. The State presents facts to the judge about why the bond should be revoked; the defense has the opportunity to challenge the reasons, the judge decides if the revocation is merited and then signs an order which is officially recorded in the record by the Circuit Clerks’ office.

None of that happened in Richard’s situation in 2008. On February 6, 2008, a police officer knocked on Judge Truitt’s door at home about 11pm at night; told Judge Truitt god knows what about Richard and the Clark murder; got the judge to sign the revocation order and then the order ended up in the court record much later. Problem is, again, no one knows what information was presented to Judge Truitt to persuade him that Richard was such a danger that his liberty should be revoked, and no one was there on Richard’s behalf to challenge the information presented. It was all done improperly and ex-parte. Plus, at 11pm, the police had already picked up Richard and he was already in their custody, so they had jumped the gun on picking him up.

You see, the police had a choice on February 6, 2008, if they believed that Richard was a danger and needed to be in custody. The police could have gone to a judge earlier that afternoon and obtained an arrest warrant for Richard and then picked him up and arrested him. This is what they do for most people they arrest.  Instead, the police apparently felt that Richard had no legal rights because he was already out on bond, so they could just go and pick him up between 5 – 6 pm.

In February 2008, however, the police did not charge Richard Wanke with the murder of Greg Clark. Instead, they waited till April 2014 to do that. Meantime, in 2008, they held Richard in jail under questionable authority for about 4 months before he was sentenced in his laptop burglary case and sent off to IDOC.

So, Nick Zimmerman maintained to Judge Collins, on March 1, 2016, that the whole issue of how Richard Wanke was seized by the police in 2008, has to be examined because a bond revocation and not an arrest was used to justify holding him and then seizing evidence against him at the time, and he ended up not being charged with anything at the time.

It is a fair issue to consider because without protections, the police can then pick up and detain indefinitely people out on bond without charging them with anything.

Zimmerman’s problem however is that the State agent who acted against Richard on February 6, 2008, is now a public defender of some repute who many people in the Public Defender’s office consult with on a regular basis, including himself. Zimmerman notified Judge Collins that, in order to examine the issue of the bond revocation on Richard’s behalf, he and Simmons had a conflict-of-interest in that they would be divided between their allegiance to Richard and their allegiance to the public defenders office when cross-examining Margie O’Conner; who might also hedge in answering truthfully simply because she was being questioned by colleagues.

Judge Collins, in the morning first heard arguments on both sides; from the defense that the bond revocation was illegal because procedures were not properly followed, and from the State, who claimed that it was legal and justified holding Richard Wanke indefinitely. Collins then adjurned the case upon 1:30 pm for her decision on the issue.

During the noon break, Collins used her time to review first the electronic docket on Richard’s laptop burglary case 06-CF-405. Then she pulled the casefile and reviewed the court transcript for 2/15/08, where a motion by Attorney Brown to reinstate Richard’s bond was heard by Truitt.

Brown complained at that hearing that the State (Margie O’Conner) presented some information as to why Richard’s bond was revoked, but that it was conclusionary information and not the underlying factual basis: for example, that Richard fit the shooter’s description, but the description itself was not presented. Brown complained then that the State was not providing sufficient information for him to be able to sufficiently represent Richard. Also, the procedural manner in which the bond was revoked was not discussed then before Judge Truitt.

Collins also reviewed the 6/11/08 court transcript where attorney Glenn Jazciew refiled the motion for bond and argued that it was due reconsideration since it had been four months since the first motion was argued and Richard’s situation still had not changed in that he still had not been charged. Judge McGraw refused to allow the issue to be reheard at that time.

So, Collins basically, marched back into court yesterday afternoon and said “the bond revocation issue was raised and litigated in 06 CF 405 and we are not going to revisit it. And, because, we don’t need to revisit it, the PD does not need to call Margie O’Conner as witness, so we don’t have a conflict-of-interest situation here. So, lets go on and do the suppression hearing now.

Georgette Braun makes it sound as if Collins found that the issue Zimmerman raised only pertained to Richard’s prior laptop burglary case. It does not, and that is not what Collins said. Collins simply found a way to avoid having to deal with the entire issue and refused to allow it to be considered on March 1, 2016. That it was raised to be considered in an entirely different manner than in 2008, with new facts available to the defense who now knows what it did not know in 2008, that is the flimsy basis of the evidence the police had against Richard in 2008, and how they did not follow procedure is irrelevant to Judge Collins. On March 1, 2016, she is happy to ignore all improprieties that happened in 2008; just to ensure that Richard still remains representing in this murder case by the Public Defender’s office.

So, we hardly find Judge Collins action on March 1, 2016, to be an impartial consideration and ruling on an important issue raised by the defense. She basically heard both sides then went and scouted out support to just toss the issue away. This is hardly the sort of action one hopes for in a judge who is considering the outcome of the remainder of your life.

Judge Collins’s actions and rulings so far in Richard’s case may just be a total waste of all our time and public money.  By continuing to be adamant regarding keeping the public defender’s office on Richard’s case, Judge Collins is setting this case up for the Illinois Appellate Court to just toss the case back to the County several years from now when it ends up reviewing the case. The trouble is that not only does it waste all our time and money, but it means Richard Wanke may be subjected to several years of additional unjustified incarceration while he goes through the process of trial all over again.

How does this appeal to your sense of humanity?

 

 


The one police official who spear-headed the February 2008 investigation into the murder of local attorney Gregory Clark and determined it’s on-going direction and focus; the past Rockford Police Deputy, Gregory Lindmark, apparently took his own life by suicide this past week on February 9, 2015.

Now, we are not generally fanciful, but cannot fail to note certain eerie coincidences and similarities between Lindmark’s own death and the death some seven years previous of attorney Clark. Certainly, there is some irony to note at work here. We’ve put together these reflections and readers are welcome to add your comments to our own.

Like Attorney Clark’s death, Greg Lindmark’s own death was totally unexpected, and similarly, the event has rocked the Rockford law-enforcement community to it’s core. As in Clark’s own death, Lindmark appears to be the victim of senseless gun violence; although self-inflicted. His death is also filled with unanswered questions and contradictions and eerily, it has occurred almost seven years to the exact February 6, 2008, date of the major murder investigation he first initiated and then remained most closely connected in importance to. What are we to make of this incident and what conclusions are we to draw from it?

Report of Greg Lindmark’s death on February 9, 2015

http://www.wrex.com/story/28063982/2015/02/09/rockfords-former-deputy-chief-chief-investigator-greg-lindmark-dies

Greg Lindmark relinquished control of the Greg Clark murder investigation and retired from his leadership role in the Rockford Police Department in 2011. He left, turning control of the Clark investigation over to his colleague, David Hopkins, in the department, who he associated with early on in his career and who has also risen into police leadership.

Lindmark left the Rockford Police Department for quiet retirement and family life with his second wife, Sheryl, but apparently he could not stay inactive for long. He was prevailed upon, shortly afterward to return to work and a new job assisting the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s office by establishing and heading up it’s investigatory staff in the position of chief SA investigator; a job which colleagues say he reportedly loved till his death at age 53.

Greg Lindmark’s life and work was eulogized this past week at his funeral by his police comrades  in many respects as being the epitome of what any police cadet should aspire to: a hard-worker who rose rapidly thru the rnnks, meticulous in detail (whether washing his cars or working on cases) and a individual who cared deeply about and was supportive of others (his co-workers and the many crime victims he assisted).

Funeral arrangements for Lindmark

Hundreds turn out for funeral

The question is, as to why this death should have occurred in the first place and what are some of the ramifications it leaves for the future.

Audience mourners attending his February 13, 2015, funeral were instructed by the presiding clergy that, Greg Lindmark touched their lives forever and to go forth and reflect upon that fact. Certainly Greg’s life and actions  also touched our own; and we too carry forward with us some part of ourselves which he will have forever altered-just not perhaps in the same manner as his friends and family.

Earliest recollections of Greg Lindmark stem from 1991 – 1992, when he was Richard Wanke’s primary arresting officer (along with David Hopkins) for a pair of commercial burglary cases spanning both DeKalb and Winnebago counties. Their initial interaction with Richard Wanke during his first arrests and prosecution concerned several instances of alleged misconduct on their part which he would later attempt to sue them in federal court over. Richard Wanke alleged that both Lindmark and Hopkins extracted from him (during an extended marathon session of interrogation) false written confessions implicating him in certain area burglaries; the details of which he claims they provided him with and dictated to him in exchange for promises of medical treatment while he was medically unwell and too sleep deprived to resist believing them. Lindmark, in particular, Wanke claims, played “good cop” to him under the guise of a being a former high-school classmate of his who claimed to be concerned only with his welfare at the time.

Certainly Richard Wanke’s prolific writings from this time period lend support to the perspective of his naiveté in believing in any promises Lindmark and Hopkins may have made to him prior to the State then proceeding to prosecute him for burglary separately in both DeKalb and Winnebago counties. Richard Wanke subsequently served three years in IDOC for his DeKalb conviction while his Winnebago conviction would be overturned in 2000 and sent back to Winnebago County for a retrial which never took place before the State dismissed the case in 2008.

Greg Lindmark showed up to first testify at Richard Wanke’s DeKalb county trial. When the issue arose as to whether or not he and Hopkins had Mirandized Richard prior to eliciting a confession, Lindmark testified that he was present in the room when Hopkins Mirandized Richard. The problem was that Lindmark apparently forgot that he was on already on record elsewhere stating that he was called away from the room at the time for another purpose. Richard’s Public Defender didn’t find that contradiction important enough to refute when Richard raised it to him, but the State did. The State recalled Lindmark to the stand to retract and correct his testimony.

It was at Richard Wanke’s subsequent sentencing hearing in DeKalb County that Greg Lindmark also first put forth his claim in testimony that during his arrest, Richard Wanke, purportedly told he and Hopkins that he “wanted to be known as the Ted Bundy of serial burglars”. Lindmark’s claim at the time and now rings false to anyone personally acquainted wtth Richard Wanke, but that did not stop Lindmark from repeating the claim; most recently in 2008, when he again testified the same in aggravation at Richard’s last sentencing hearing. Most lately, of course, Lindmark laughingly confided to a third-party in a manner signifying that he thought little of it at the time; that the claim was an “embellishment” of his, and that even now he found it amusing that anyone could resent his action.

Richard Wanke subsequently dropped his federal lawsuits against both Greg Lindmark and David Hopkins over their alleged 1991 – 1992 actions, but the continued pattern of interactions also pitted Greg Lindmark against Richard Wanke in 2006 and 2008 and then set in motion the murder charges currently pending against Richard Wanke.

When attorney Greg Clark was shot to death on February 6, 2008, in the middle of a snowstorm, Greg Lindmark had been Deputy Chief of the Rockford Police for five years and was put in charge of Clark’s murder investigation. Evidence at his murder scene was sparse and not specific to any known individual but only seemed to indicate a composite of a suspect seen leaving the neighborhood after the murder. Whether that person lived in the neighborhood and thus, even had any connection to the murder is unknown since even at least one house a block or so over from Clark’s owned a vehicle similar in model and of the same color to the one some witnesses allegedly sighted. So, the police had no suspects to focus attention upon early in the investigation until a name was dropped into their midst.

It was fateful that Greg Lindmark was in charge of the Clark murder investigation when the local Public Defenders office offered up to police the name of Richard Wanke as a person allegedly in dispute in attorney Clark. However, within a couple of hours, Lindmark turned the entire murder investigation towards developing evidence to name Richard Wanke as the murder suspect. This likely would not have happened under a different Deputy Chief, but was almost inevitable given Lindmark’s past history with Richard Wanke.

Now, seven years later, it is apparent that even the State recognizes that Lindmark’s bias against Richard Wanke has doomed any real chance that ever existed to find the person or persons truly responsible for attorney Greg Clark’s murder. Richard Wanke has been fully investigated by the State and still no evidence exists directly connecting him to any involvement in the Clark murder. While State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato went ahead in April 2014, to charge Richard Wanke with Clark’s murder despite the case going officially cold in 2010, his office was careful to then excise Greg Lindmark from the prosecution’s case.

As the police official who directed and controlled the substance and scope of the original murder investigation and who then remained in charge of it for the following three critical years, Greg Lindmark should have been front and center to the State’s prosecution case, and their primary prosecution witness offered to detail how the investigation was handled. Instead, from the moment of filing, the State has reprised Lindmark’s role with a different and minor police official. It will be a police official who was in charge of dispatching individual police officers to their assigned responsibilities during the onset of the investigation, rather than Lindmark, (particularly following his death) who will now play the role of the primary prosecution witness responsible for the investigation.

Studies show the police are more prone to commit sudden suicide by their own weapons than the general public or persons in other occupations. Greg Lindmark’s autopsy is still pending and perhaps it will shed more light on the reason why a police official who many found exceptional apparently and most unexpectedly shot himself to death in the end. Perhaps it was just an accident, after all. To the observer, his somber funeral, (while respectful and attended by hundreds) comprising the routine Catholic mass, the presentation of the Color Guard, and a single, superficial brochure consisting of a few photos and an impersonal notation failed to adequately reflect the meticulous, yet human individual his mourners seem to recall. Clearly, Lindmark’s death not only came as a surprise to others, but to himself as well; since given his choice, he would have no doubt have planned for better.

As detailed above the Greg Lindmark we came to know over the years, differed significantly from the Lindmark his friends and family came to know and love. Yet, there is also that one last human moment of contact with Lindmark for us to share with the reader.

In 2013, in one of the large capacity courtrooms in the new Justice Center, Diane Chavez found herself face-to-face with Greg Lindmark, who had come in late to stand in the back. Lindmark apparently did not recognize her from the rear and found himself suddenly confronted by her in his path when she left. He evidently expected her to confront him with hostility, because sudden embarrassment and shame washed over his face for a second or two before he was once again able to compose himself stoically. Perhaps he had occasion over the years to recall his certainty in the justification of his actions at the time in Februuary 2008, when he personally arrested her and the knowing manner of her prediction to him then: when she advised him that his actions would be irrevocable and would cost her everything of value in her life (a situation which has since come to pass). in 2013, she merely continued past him.

Richard Wanke now faces the inability to at any upcoming trial to directly confront Greg Lindmark, his primary ranking accuser for the explanation and justification of his actions in 2008. As an falsely accused person, in the back of one’s mind is continually replayed the possible scenario of your main antagonist coming to the realization of his fault and in some manner accepting responsibility, acknowledging the fault to you, and making some atonement. In criminal prosecutions, you hope that someone in power intervenes to stop the senseless onslaught of prosecution against you.

For all the humanity attributed to Greg Lindmark by his mourners, he will therefore never play that part, and henceforth, we will have to do our best to erase the mark and memory he has left upon our lives.

 Greg Lindmark’s Funeral Brochure

 


The Richard Wanke prosecution clock ticks on for his April 2014 demand for a speedy trial.  Yet his case has been delayed and continued due to “inclement weather”, the illness of his assigned Public Defender, and now again, for personal reasons by the judge who has set the next court date for Friday, February 6, 2015, at 1:30 pm in courtroom 478 of the Winnebago County Courthouse, located at 400 West State Street, in Rockford, IL.

This rescheduled hearing on the disqualification of the Winnebago County Public Defenders office has languished for more than 60 days as Richard’s conflicted counsel walks the fine line between advocating for his offices’s removal from Richard’s representation to protecting it from having to air dirty laundry in public (such as the details of its own involvement in it’s client’s arrest). This divided loyalty lies at the crux of this Friday’s hearing.

Karen Sorensen, the head Public Defender of Winnebago County, withdrew from the case in 2008 citing conflicts-of- interest, and other experienced public defenders who knew the murder victim have also stepped back from the case. Attorney Gregory Clark, was highly respected and well-connected locally. Inadvertent coincidence or not, the wisdom of  scheduling this hearing, critical to decide the very constitutional direction of the defendant’s case, on the exact day of attorney Clark’s death, seven years ago is questionable; at least it is to this defendant.

As Richard Wanke states, “I have been held responsible and without bail in some sense since 2008 in this case and my charging in April 2014, was just the formality of my on-going ordeal. And, so far, while I have also filed a speedy trial demand and repeatedly requested conflict-free counsel, I have yet to receive either. And, somehow, I feel that I am not the only Winnebago County defendant exposed to an unusual degree of jeopardy in the county legal process.”