December 19, 2014, Richard Wanke files pro se supplement to PD conflict motion

A defendant can either assert themselves in their own defense or chose to rely only on the efforts of his attorney. If he depends on his attorney’s efforts then he is also later bound by the actions or inactions of that attorney. Criminal defense attorneys don’t generally like working with clients who do try to assert themselves. Clients often find themselves between a rock and hard place because they don’t know if they can really trust the attorney to protect their interests when they don’t or refuse to do something. Richard found himself in that position early in this murder case.

Richard waited months for the Winnebago County Public Defender and his assigned Public Defender, Derrick Schmidt, to file a decent Motion acknowledging the existence of Schmidt’s conflict-0f-interest, and that of the entire Winnebago County Public Defender’s office conflict in representing him. When Schmidt finally filed a weak motion that was easily deniable, Richard was forced to go ahead and file this pro se supplemental addition to the court filings in order to protect his interests. Judge Rosemary Collins later denied this motion on February 6, 2015, but we believe that it demonstrates that Richard’s counsel (and counsel’s entire agency) both have “per se” and “actual” conflicts-of-interest in representing him. Richard is forced to go ahead at trial with the PD representing him, but any appeal review can reverse or remand the case because of this issue for error if he is convicted.

The issue of whether or not the Winnebago County Public Defender’s office should have been appointed to represent Richard in this murder case is the single largest pretrial issue raised in this murder trial. Richard’s case went on to trial. We will be posting in the future the filings and transcripts of his March 2017, trial. Richard Wanke was wrongfully convicted at that trial, and a read of those transcripts and what happened at trial easily shows that he was very poorly represented at trial by the Winnebago County Public Defender’s office and by the lead attorney it assigned to represent him: Nick Zimmerman. A read of those transcripts shows a defense where the State witnesses were either poorly questioned or not questioned at all about discrepancies and factors which improperly influenced them. It shows a defense where available witnesses who could have exonerated Richard Wanke by their testimony were not presented and the State’s assertions about them were not challenged. The true question about Richard’s prosecution and trial is why the Winnebago County Public Defender’s office permitted the conviction of a client who it could have exonerated at trial. This issue of the conflict-of-interest of the Winnebago County Public Defender’s staff and office in relation to Richard Wanke probably goes to the heart of the reason why Richard Wanke was wrongfully convicted and it is outrageous that this happened.



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