Archive for the ‘Police Misconduct’ Category

Richard Wanke has recently submitted a Writ of Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court. The appeal filing was due this week after an extension was granted by the Court due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Writ was authored by the defendant pro se, meaning an attorney has not been appointed in this appeal thus far. Due to delays, the Clerk of the Court has indicated that in may be some time before a decision is rendered. The Court has assigned the appeal case number 20 – 5519 and the proceedings can be followed (here) and the Writ of Certiorari can be read here:


• A Writ of Certiorari asks the US Supreme Court to review legal disputes. The US Supreme Court is asked to review a large number of issues but only accepts for review about 1% of the cases submitted to it. The chance of Richard Wanke’s (or any defendant’s) Writ of Certiorari being accepted by the US Supreme Court is miniscule. While there are many issues of appeal in most criminal cases, the courts work to narrow review down to only a few issues in each case. A Writ of Certiorari is really the “Hail Mary” of the criminal appeal process and the last stage of trying to appeal issues present in court records. Most criminal appeals don’t win at this point but at the next stage, in a Post-Conviction Petition where the defendant, for the first time, has the chance to raise the issues which are NOT documented in the case record but which probably most directly resulted in the conviction.

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.

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There is reason for the public to shudder at the high number of wrongful convictions coming out of the state’s judicial system, even if they are not your hands gripping the steel uprights of a prison cell.

It means that real perpetrators are free to commit more crimes.

“The consequences are too grave for not using available, proven methods of preventing wrongful convictions,” said Stephen Saloom, policy director for the past eight and a half years of the Innocence Project. “It’s outrageous.”

What Saloom referred to was the failure, once again, of the New York state Legislature to enact reforms that would require law enforcement and prosecutors to videotape interrogations and use double blind lineups.

Bills requiring both methods be used and taught to police trainees died in committees.

“We know that our criminal justice system relies on unreliable forms of evidence — false confessions and eyewitness misidentification — proven methods are readily available and prosecutors and law enforcement don’t want to be required to use them,” Saloom said.

via Prove innocence of innocent – Times Union.

PASADENA — Two decades ago, a trio of Pasadena gang members stunned the City of Roses by gunning down six boys trick-or-treating, killing three and injuring three others on a night now known as the Halloween Massacre.

Now, after a 20-year police crackdown against gangs in one of Southern California’s most regal cities, the tide has turned, with crime at modern historic lows.

But instead of celebrating a hard-won victory, Pasadena police are themselves accused of kidnapping, beating and threatening to kill witnesses, withholding evidence in trials, attempting to bribe attorneys, wrongly shooting unarmed residents and a litany of civil rights abuses in their war against gangs and thugs.

“It’s gotten out of hand,” said Joe Brown, former head of the city’s NAACP branch, who has been tracking cases within the black community. “The problem is a lack of appropriate training and community policing.

via City of Thorns: Despite reforms, Pasadena police still face controversy –

Every time a criminal does something considered really dumb, their actions are quickly immortalized by national media in feature stories summarizing their actions in the “Most Stupid Criminal” news category. Here, we have three, supposedly career policemen, “detectives, no less”, who it seems put their heads together and decided that they would not only engage in questionable and possibly criminal behavior, but that they could also TRUST an INFORMANT to keep their secrets and act as a partner!

Just how many times is the public told that criminals and informants, in particular, have no honor and are not trustworthy? Cops always ding defendants for acting stupid and making poor judgements, but these guys   stretch credibility! The Schaumburg police force is not that large, and common-sense should tell anyone from the outset that the alleged wrong-doing would involve too many incidents and uncontrollable details to  remain secret for long. It does not even appear that the investigation had to squeeze the informant very hard for him to allegedly spill the beans. And, of course, like the criminal defendants police love to criticize, these detectives appear to have kept plenty in the way of incriminating evidence for investigators to recover as well as making alleged incriminating statements and admissions. At the very least, the reason O’Brien  is alleged to have given for his involvement (“for the thrill of it”) should serve to underscore to the public the power trip some cops given a certain level of power apparently fall prey to.

Of course, there is a difference between these guys and the “criminals”; there will be plenty of people ready to excuse their judgements and publicly defend them as being “good people”. They will also, no doubt get to keep their jobs and public pay-checks pending any prosecutions!


“…The offices of the Cook County state’s attorney and public defender are looking at cases in which the officers were involved to determine whether any have been compromised. Criminal defense experts said some prosecutions could be tainted because of questions about the officers’ credibility and their unavailability to testify…”

3 Schaumburg cops accused of drug ring

Prosecutors say they stole cash and narcotics, then profited from dope sales

“…They also were caught on video Jan. 12 breaking into a storage shed in Roselle to steal $20,000 in cash and a stash of drugs, Assistant State’s Attorney Audrey Anderson said.

On Wednesday, authorities executed 20 search warrants for the officers’ homes, vehicles, work lockers and other areas of the Schaumburg Police Department. Investigators recovered $20,000 and obtained incriminating statements from each defendant, Anderson said.

“(O’Brien) said he did all this just for the thrill of it,” she said.

Also charged was Nicole Brehm, 44, of Hoffman Estates, who was identified as O’Brien’s mistress. She’s accused of using her home as a “stash house,” where police found six pounds of marijuana…”

$750K Bail Set For Schaumburg Cops Accused Of Stealing From Drug Dealers

“…Audio and video recordings were played in court of the officers discussing plans to steal drugs from a dealer and delivering money to the informant. Prosecutors said the incidents occurred while the officers were in tactical clothing and police department vehicles.

Schaumburg police said in a statement Wednesday the officers have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the state’s attorney’s office’s investigation. The village has also begun its own investigation…”

Prosecutor: Schaumburg cop said he sold drugs “just for the thrill of it”

The Herald-Tribune examines how Florida police officers can stay on the job despite multiple complaints, crimes

This site features a thorough series of 9 in-depth media reports exposing just how flawed Florida police departments are and how despite flagrant abuses Florida police officers not only remain on pay, but are protected by their unions and retire to public pensions. The Herald-Tribune points out systemic problems in Florida which need to be addressed in order to improve the quality of the state’s police departments; suggestions which also apply elsewhere: eliminating patronage, enforcing the laws which exist with regard to police officers, correcting a too cozy relationship between the police and the local State’s Attorney’s office which declines to charge when valid offenses are reported, and stop the hampering of internal police investigations and reviews. A lot of this series explains why your local police officers are seldom brought up on criminal charges despite wrongdoing which would land your average citizen in court. The reports are downloadable as pdfs.

An example of what can happen when the police and prosecutors run amok…

Special report: Did prosecutors taint Memphis murder trial?

“An investigation last year by USA TODAY documented 201 cases in which judges found that federal prosecutors violated laws or ethics rules. Those violations put innocent people in jail and set guilty people free, and Attorney General Eric Holder subsequently announced a new office to punish wrongdoing by federal prosecutors…”

In Shelby County, prosecutors have sent three times as many people to death row as prosecutors in any other county in the state. And already, the judge in charge of Rimmer’s case has found that the lead detective “provided false testimony” that may have misled jurors — a ruling that raises new questions about the conduct of prosecutors in one of the nation’s most violent big cities.