State Briefs 2/25/08
Wanke still waiting on attorney as third lawyer withdraws
ROCKFORD – A Rockford man who has been linked to the investigation of his attorney’s shooting death last month still is waiting for a new attorney to handle his sentencing on an old burglary conviction.
The latest attorney appointed to the case, David Carter, withdrew today, saying he was friends with the man’s former attorney, Gregory H. Clark. Clark was shot three times in the back Feb. 6 as he cleared snow from the sidewalk outside his home.
Carter was one of three remaining court-appointed attorneys who have contracts with Winnebago County to take cases that the public defender’s office cannot because of conflicts of interest. Clark was one such attorney. Attorneys David Brown and David Caulk are the other two.
Brown and Caulk withdrew from the case last week, citing conflicts of interest stemming from personal and close professional relationships with Clark.
Richard E. Wanke Jr., 46, of Rockford, is in the Winnebago County Jail but not on murder charges. He was ordered to jail the night of Clark’s death after police informed Wanke’s judge, John Truitt, that eyewitnesses placed Wanke at the scene of the shooting, driving the van believed to be used in the shooting, and that some witnesses gave police a description of the shooter that matches Wanke.
Truitt deemed Wanke a potential danger to the community and revoked his bond under the state’s post-conviction detention law, which allows judges to revoke the bond of someone who has been convicted of a crime and is awaiting sentencing.
Wanke, who has expressed the need for a court-appointed attorney because he has no money to hire one, has a conflict of interest himself with the Winnebago County public defender’s office that prevents attorneys there from handling any of his cases.
In their requests to be removed from the case, Brown, Caulk and Carter told the court that they believe their relationships with Clark prevent them from representing someone who could be involved in the killing, even though the actual case that Wanke needs legal representation on is an unrelated 2006 burglary.
Judge Joe McGraw, who now presides over Wanke’s 2006 burglary case and a 1992 burglary conviction that’s back on appeal, appointed a Kane County attorney to the case and asked that parties return to court Friday.
Rockford Register Star
Peoria man attacked with soda can
PEORIA - A Peoria man was attacked with a can of soda last week by a
group of men pestering him for money.
The 23-year-old victim told police he was walking in the South Peoria
about 7 p.m. Thursday night when three men approached him and asked for
When the victim said he had none, one of the men struck him on the back
of the head, police said. A second man then tried to hit him, but the
victim said he "was able to block it."
The victim was walking away from the group when the third man threw an
unopened soda can at him. The beverage slammed into the back of the
victim's neck, leaving a red mark, police said.
Journal Star, Peoria.
State Police catch 15 illegal immigrants during traffic stop
SPRINGFIELD – Illinois State Police discovered 15 illegal immigrants inside a vehicle during a traffic stop Sunday morning, 10 of whom have been placed into deportation proceedings.
A state trooper stopped a Chevrolet Suburban with Illinois registration about 8:50 a.m. on Interstate 55 at northbound at the Toronto Road exit. The trooper stopped the vehicle because the driver was following too closely and failed to signal when making a lane change, police said.
During the stop, the trooper noticed 11 men and four women in the vehicle, all of whom were from Mexico and were here illegally. He contacted agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to investigate further.
Authorities are seeking criminal charges against the driver for unlawful transportation of illegal aliens and for illegally re-entering the United States after he previously had been deported, according to an ICE spokeswoman.
All of the individuals were taken to Sangamon County Jail. Four, including a 15-year-old girl and her adult uncle and a 15-year-old boy and his adult brother, were released pending immigration hearings, according to the spokeswoman.
Senate cancels session due to impending weather
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate has cancelled its scheduled Tuesday session because of weather concerns in the Chicago area.
Cindy Davidsmeyer, spokeswoman for Senate President Emil Jones, said Monday afternoon the Senate still plans to be in session Wednesday and Thursday. It will not be in session Friday. A revised committee hearing schedule is still being developed.
The National Weather Service is predicting three to seven inches of snow, with winds of 20 to 25 miles an hour, in the Chicago area overnight.
In Springfield, periods of rain are expected before midnight, then periods of snow. Winds could reach as high as 13 to 22 mph. One to three inches of snow is possible.
On Tuesday, one to three more inches of snow are possible and winds are predicted to reach between 24 and 26 mph.