- Jason ChambersMcLean County State's Attorney
Allow DNA testing that could prove innocence
Jamie Snow was wrongfully convicted in 2000 of a 1991 “cold case” murder and armed robbery of a gas station attendant in Bloomington, Illinois. Since his conviction, witnesses have recanted their testimony, his original lawyer went to jail for fraud, the first cop on the scene has discredited the “star witness” testimony, and an investigating detective has said Jamie’s Snow’s indictment was a mistake.
While an innocent man remains in prison, there is DNA evidence from the case that has gone untested. For nearly 8 years, the McLean County State’s Attorney’s Office has fought DNA testing in this case. The University of Chicago’s Exoneration Project has agreed to pay for all the DNA testing at no cost to McLean County taxpayers, but the State Attorney still refuses.
Allow the Exoneration Project to pay for it, save the tax payer dollars, and let’s put an end to the cloud of doubt surrounding this case. If this crime had occurred today, there is no doubt the state would test every single piece of physical evidence collected from the crime scene.
To date, there have been 337 post-conviction DNA exonerations in the United States – and Illinois has one of the highest DNA exoneration rates in the nation. Yet McLean County continues to show a pattern of opposing DNA testing. Many of these are cases were prosecuted under the same State Attorneys Office as Jamie Snow’s case and resulted in questionable convictions.
At the time of the crime, fingerprints, blood evidence, and bullets were collected at the scene. To this day, these items have never been tested for DNA. We are asking Jason Chambers to allow testing for the following items:
Fingerprints: Fingerprints were collected from the crime scene, none matched Jamie Snow. Today, the fingerprints can not only be run through the FBI fingerprint database, they can be tested for DNA.
Bullets: Two bullets were retrieved from the victim. They should be tested not only for DNA, but can also be run through the FBI ballistics database in an effort to determine if they were linked to another crime.
Clothing: There was a clear sign of struggle. We are asking that touch DNA testing be performed on the victim’s clothing to determine who struggled with him.
Blood: In line with the signs of a struggle, there was blood evidence found underneath the counter that was identified as human blood. We would like to know the source of that “human blood.”
Additional Discovery: We are also asking for additional discovery so that an expert can give further insight to the crime scene and the meaning of the physical evidence.
Snow’s conviction was solely on the testimony of witnesses who have since been discredited, and jailhouse informants – who we now know were either under extreme pressure by police, or were seeking deals to testify.
Snow’s original trial attorney would later go to prison for bilking an elderly woman of her life savings. Appellate Court Judge Knecht even admitted during oral arguments that Snow’s trial attorney was impaired: “this guy is a, is a alcoholic who has basically lost his life, lost his practice, and was mentally impaired. Not only is he an alcoholic, he has mental illness issues, and that these go back to dates preceding the trial.”
We are asking you to please support Jamie Snow’s petition to test the DNA, and to join us in asking Mr. Chambers to discontinue using McLean County tax dollars to fight DNA testing.
McLean County State’s Attorney Jason Chambers has an opportunity to grant DNA testing. Please join us in asking Mr. Chambers to do the right thing.
Thank you for signing. Please JOIN THE FIGHT TO FREE JAMIE SNOW!
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- McLean County State's Attorney
I’m writing today to ask that you support the Exoneration Project's offer to conduct DNA testing of crime scene evidence from the William Little homicide.
As you know, not one shred of physical evidence tested at the time linked Jamie Snow to this crime.
This case is riddled with inconsistent police reports and incredible testimony from discredited witnesses and jailhouse informants who have admitted to seeking deals or succumbing to police pressure.
Despite DNA evidence that is available for testing with new technology, you continue to use McLean County tax dollars to oppose this testing. The glaring reality is that we do, indeed, have physical evidence that can be tested in a case that cries out for physical corroboration.
Tell me, Mr. Chambers, if the fingerprints, blood and bullets had been gathered today – if this crime had been committed today, and was “unsolved” – wouldn’t you test every single piece of physical evidence available? I suspect you would.
On your website you state, “Our job is not simply to gain convictions but to seek justice.” I ask you, where is the justice in denying DNA testing?
In 2011, you made a public statement while seeking the McLean County State’s Attorney’s Office in reference to the Alan Beaman case:
“Jason Chambers, a former prosecutor who now works as a defense lawyer, said DNA testing “validates our system” by confirming the correct person has been convicted, or exposes an error that put the wrong person behind bars. In the Beaman case, the forensic work “is an opportunity to remove the cloud that’s been hanging over not just the people involved in the case, but our community,” added Chambers, who is seeking the Republican nomination for McLean County state’s attorney.” (The Pantagraph, August 28, 2011)
In fact, McLean County spent thousands of tax payer dollars over a decade opposing testing in the Beaman case. We now know that the DNA tested in the Beaman case did not match any of the suspects who were on the police radar. You were correct in your assertion in the Beaman case, so why oppose testing in the Snow case?
If you truly believe that Jamie Snow is guilty, then McLean County should allow the testing of evidence to confirm this.
We ask you to join your progressive peers across the country in not only Illinois, but in New York City, Philadelphia, California, Texas, Maryland, Oregon and elsewhere, in their quest to mete justice.
The Exoneration Project has offered to pay for this testing and to date, there have been 337 post-conviction DNA exonerations in the United States In some cases, DNA testing has also supported the prosecutor’s case and confirmed guilt. The bottom line is, it’s clear that the only reason your office would oppose testing is out of concern that Mr. Snow would be proven innocent. That is a perversion of justice.
Please State's Attorney Chambers - do the right thing. Allow DNA testing to take place and do not continue to oppose Jamie Snow's appeal for testing in the McLean County Circuit Court.
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