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For my dad... "free Steve Wlodarz" He is serving life without parole in a United States prison

sdennis 1 | 9
25 Aug 2015 #1
I ask for the spread of truth among my Polish relatives. My father is serving life without parole in a United States prison for a crime he did not commit. 15 years ago, police illegally raided my father's property and began shooting. My dad compared it to "Poland under Stalin." An officer was killed, and my dad was blamed. 9 years later, I found evidence proving his innocence. If anyone knows Tennessee criminal law, I plea for help. There is a Facebook page created for him. Please Google "free Steve wlodarz" - We need help for his freedom. Thank you. dziękuję.
johnny reb 47 | 6,990
25 Aug 2015 #2
My father is serving life without parole in a United States prison for a crime he did not commit

I Googled your dad's case.
He admitted to shooting a Law Enforcement officer (after he admitted to drinking a half bottle of whiskey) trying to serve a warrant.
If L.E. came in with blazing guns as you suggest they would have killed your dad.
I am shocked that they took him alive after he shot one of theirs.
In my experience he will be doing life without any hope for parole.
He had a good attorney that got that plea deal to save him from the death penalty.
OP sdennis 1 | 9
25 Aug 2015 #3
I posted the evidence on his Facebook page. It was hidden from us, and we were told he was guilty so he would accept an Alford plea (stating that evidence is strongly against him while maintaining innocence). It was 9 years later when I discovered what actually existed. If you were to look at the documents themselves and not just the small-town local newspapers, you would in fact find a document clearly stating that the bullets did NOT match those in my father's gun. You would also see a photo of the remains of the fatal bullet lodged in a wall south of the house my father was in. The bullet was travelling TOWARDS the house, not away from it.

If you were to also Google the names of two officers who were present, Officer Scott Castle (who was covering the deceased officer) and Officer Brad Depew, you would discover a couple of examples of how law enforcement works in this particular area. There is one more name for you, the attorney representing the State, Doug Godbee. I'll leave the research in your hands.
jon357 74 | 21,980
25 Aug 2015 #4
This seems like a classic miscarriage of justice. Is there a chance of an appeal?
Pol attorney 2 | 106
25 Aug 2015 #5
Well, there may be a chance for your dad. For example, if your dad is a Polish citizen (or if you manage to confirm his citizenship in Poland), he may later try to submit a request to serve his sentence in the Polish jail. If you manage to do this, there MAY be a chance to change the sentence in order to adapt it to the Polish legal system. This is just an idea which may or may not work (this will also depend on the decisions made by US courts and Justice Department), but if this is life without parole, it's definitely worthwhile to try and use every possible legal option.

It may be a lengthy process, (and proabbly a costly one), but this is an option which is definitely worth researching.

I know of at least a few Polish citizens who were sentenced to many years of prison by the UK courts, and then they served their sentences in Polish prisons with their sentences being changed and adapted to the Polish legal system.

we have a law firm based in poland, so we just might be able to research some of the possible options for you.

if you are interested, please send me a private message on this forum and we may try to research some of the possible options.
Crow 155 | 9,025
25 Aug 2015 #6
Horrible. Its horrible when innocent people suffer in jail.

i suggest you to go and ask Polish and Serbian organizations in Chicago for help. Its two million of them there. Call them by phone, visit them, beg them. Some of them are even lawyers, people with influence. Somebody would for sure want to help you and to your dad. That`s how you can work for your father from within USA.
TheOther 6 | 3,674
26 Aug 2015 #7
we were told he was guilty so he would accept an Alford plea

Why on earth would someone who's innocent voluntarily accept such a plea deal? That doesn't make sense unless this person knew he was guilty. To be honest, I suspect that there is more to the story than you are willing to tell us.
OP sdennis 1 | 9
26 Aug 2015 #8
Thank you. I will surely check into it. Your direction is greatly appreciated.

He has returned to the courtroom multiple times raising new issues. Among them were whether his plea was voluntarily entered, whether the unmatched bullet fragments were newly discovered evidence, and whether a plea is considered to be a trial. He continues to work diligently on his case.

The story leading up to the incident is as follows (if anything is unclear, please feel free to ask any questions): On a hot, summer day, Wlodarz was doing home projects while drinking (vodka or whisky- both were consumed, though I don't know which was first). His neighbor's dogs were a nuisance, and he walked them home. The renters of the house were on vacation. At that time other residents of the area had seen Wlodarz on the property and noticed broken windows. They called the owners who then called the police. The police arrived for an investigation and brought a dog in training with them. The dog led them across the ridge and through thick brush which led them somewhere along the 1/2 mile - long driveway leading to his residence. Meanwhile, Wlodarz (after returning the dogs) rode his bicycle to a friend's house to return borrowed money. Upon arriving, he was heavily intoxicated that he failed to light a cigarette after trying five or six times. When his friends were leaving, police arrived. The friends attest to never having seen a warrant. The police simply wanted to talk, and they were informed by the friends of the intoxicated condition Wlodarz was in. From nearly 100 meters away, one officer claimed to have seen what he thought was a gun. This is when SWAT was called for backup. The cops told Wlodarz to come out. He refused. The cops began firing tear gas into the residence. Wlodarz began scribbling notes comparing it to Poland under Stalin. When he opened the bedroom door, two bullets were fired at his head. Wlodarz returned two shots from his 30/30, through closed blinds, heavily intoxicated, in a tear-gassed house. He passed out in an interior closet. The shots were exchanged around 7pm. It was still light outside. Around 1 am, Wlodarz was arrested. The patrol car recorded his reaction. He asked why so many police were there and explained he didn't know what he did. To which the officer replied, "well, I don't either."
johnny reb 47 | 6,990
26 Aug 2015 #9
If you were to look at the documents themselves and not just the small-town local newspapers

This is the document that I looked at:
OP sdennis 1 | 9
26 Aug 2015 #10
He was held in maximum security jail and forced to take Paxil and Depakote for over a year while awaiting trial. The state appointed attorney representing Wlodarz was persistent in trying to convincing him to accept an Alford Plea. As far as any of us knew at the time, the officer could have been hit by one of the two shots fired from the house. The attorney called my mother, sister, and me into his office and told us my dad had two options and only two options: either accept the plea for a life without parole sentence or receive the death penalty. Seven months after the incident, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation found a bullet with tissue and blood stains lodged in the exterior wall of the south side of the shed. The house was north, meaning the fatal bullet was travelling towards the house, not away from it. In hindsight, everyone was aware that evidence supported friendly fire, yet a trial was "ill advised." Nine years later, I began researching his case and found documents and photos proving his actual innocence.

Johnny, thank you for the link. I was under the impression you had read one of the numerous newspaper articles published before the hearing took place. For that, my apologies to you. The link you found is when he changed a Supreme Court ruling, stating that pleas are considered to be trials. It's one of the many reasons I am proud of my father. For 15 years, he has used his time wisely and has built an outstanding reputation through hard work, education, patience, persistence, and respect. To give an example, many of the guards call him "Sir." Within the past month, a correction officer at a different facility reviewed the documents on Facebook and afterwards, shook my father's hand and said, "good luck, Sir."
delphiandomine 88 | 18,163
26 Aug 2015 #11
Wait, wait. He was mixing vodka and whisky?

That's pretty hardcore...

Sorry, but he even informed the police that he had an intention to kill one of them.
jon357 74 | 21,980
26 Aug 2015 #12
Are there forensics that could help him, and are any organisations like the Innocence Project involved?
delphiandomine 88 | 18,163
26 Aug 2015 #13
He's not quite as innocent as the OP makes him out to be. It turns out that he had intentions of killing a police officer, he came out firing and he even told them in advance of his intentions. He's only (probably) not guilty of murder, but he's definitely guilty of attempted murder.
jon357 74 | 21,980
26 Aug 2015 #14
The main question is whether or not he is innocent of the exact crime for which he was convicted. This awful 'no parole' thing they have over there is another issue too.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,163
26 Aug 2015 #15
He was convicted of murder, attempted murder, two counts of assault and manufacturing some substance.

The story posted above isn't quite what happened - have a look here: - it seems that he was clearly intent on killing a police officer. Given the story, although he appears to be innocent of actual murder, it's hard to sympathise with someone that clearly threatened to kill the police and then came out with every intention of doing so.
jon357 74 | 21,980
26 Aug 2015 #16
That's really throwing the book at him. When push comes to shove, he didn't actually kill anyone and has done 15 years in a very unpleasant place already.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,163
26 Aug 2015 #17
What I'm struggling to understand is why he reacted in such a way to begin with. It's not quite normal to mix vodka and whisky, and it seems that he has/had some severe mental issues too. If he was in such a mess, perhaps he should have been admitted to hospital rather than prison. Drinking more than a half litre of spirits is quite an accomplishment to say the least. In my glory days, I could manage 350ml at the most and usually spent the next day in bed.
Roger5 1 | 1,448
26 Aug 2015 #18
he didn't actually kill anyone and has done 15 years in a very unpleasant place already.

But he was directly responsible for creating a horrific situation, one result of which was that a cop's family had their lives wrecked in an instant. I reckon he deserved a long prison sentence, going by what we know, but 15 years is surely long enough.
Dougpol1 31 | 2,640
26 Aug 2015 #19
Drinking more than a half litre of spirits is quite an accomplishment to say the least

Really? Blink.

Sorry for the OP. Who would want to live in America, where justice is but a game? (sic).
jon357 74 | 21,980
26 Aug 2015 #20
but 15 years is surely long enough.

More than enough. Keeping him inside is doing no good to anyone and these extra long sentences just punish the family.

Sorry for the OP. Who would want to live in America, where justice is but a game? (sic).

Or in Britain, where we can see from the historic sexual crimes hysteria, Yewtree etc plus the tens of thousands (and it is that many) of ordinary people, that you can be sent to prison for a very long time with no evidence, no proof, no forensics; just somebody's word.
Dougpol1 31 | 2,640
26 Aug 2015 #21
you can be sent to prison for a very long time with no evidence, no proof, no forensics; just somebody's word.

Yes, and yet in the "Land of the free" Bill Cosby walks free and unchallenged for likely rape (allegedly), due to their perverse statute of limitations. Now, (touch wood) if one of his alleged victims were my daughter......

It's an ill wind.

I don't know if it's any better in Poland. The police seem all powerful here and are allowed by society to act like instant judges.
OP sdennis 1 | 9
28 Aug 2015 #22
He never left his house. He did fire twice in the direction of the incoming bullets After the police fired at his head. By law, the police are only allowed to fire at someone after that subject fires first. In a state of intoxication coupled with an intense fear of being killed, how could anyone think clearly?

The first photo is what convinced us that the plea was the best option. It was the only piece of evidence I knew to exist until 2009. The second and third photos are the patrol car transcript immediately after his arrest. The scribble on the bottom of the page says "will be changed" and is in the appointed attorney's writing. There are multiple edited documents. More will be posted if anyone would like to see them. The last photo is the bullet that was lodged in the shed. It was discovered 6 months after the incident. My father claims he did not leave the blade there. Other photos taken the night of show blood stains in the exact area of the bullet.

OP sdennis 1 | 9
28 Aug 2015 #23
Photos didn't upload properly

delphiandomine 88 | 18,163
28 Aug 2015 #24
Did your father have an alcohol abuse problem?
OP sdennis 1 | 9
28 Aug 2015 #25
Yes, he was an alcoholic at the time. It was especially out of control because my mother had divorced him less than 2 years earlier. She had full custody of my siblings and me.
InPolska 9 | 1,816
28 Aug 2015 #26
If you dad is innocent, it is a true tragedy not only for him but also for whole family. There are needless to say counterless judicial 'errors" in all countries and unfortunately in the US it's much worse than in all so called civilized countries. How many innocents are killed? How many spend years in jail for nothing? Simply disgusting.

What about lawyers? Do you think your dad's have been "good"? I guess not otherwise he would have received a softer deal.

If I were you, I would try to publicize the case through the medias. Do you think you could bring new evidence that could change the situation? When new clear evidence is brought, I believe they do reopen the case.

I don't know whether Hank Skinner's case if famous in the US. He is from Texas and in jail. He was about to be executed 3 times and every time at the very last minute, authorities stopped the execution. The guy exchanged letters with an anti death penalty (female) French film producer and a bit later they got married. Skinner's wife has ever since raised hell in favor of her husband, who was allowed to have a DNA test previously refused.

What I am trying to say is that do get in touch with anti death penalty associations (they would help you). Maybe you can find the ones helping Hank Skinner and his wife, Sandrine.

I am NOT saying your dad is innocent because I don't know but if you think he has not been treated "right", do fight as much as you can. Of course, lawyers (especially in the US) cost an arm and a leg so do try through media and through anti death penalty associations.

Do fight!
johnny reb 47 | 6,990
29 Aug 2015 #27
Try contacting the t.v. series '20/20' or 'Dateline' that do investigative stories on such cases occasionally.
They may be very interested in your Dad's case and start their own investigation to free him by doing a t.v. documentary about the case.

Even if they don't do a story on your Dad they might be able to point you in a direction that could help you.

The problem that I see here is that "if it is determined" that the bullet that killed the cop did not come from your Dad's gun

then it will open up another investigation to "who's gun" it did come from which is obvious at this point another cops gun.

I have a gut feeling that this is what it is all about.
My prayers have been and are with you my friend.
OP sdennis 1 | 9
30 Aug 2015 #28
Thank you, Johnny. I really appreciate your support. I'll try to gather the documents and see about mailing them. I looked into an email, but I'm not sure if I can attach documents. The photos, in my opinion, speak for themselves. InPolska, I'll be sure to research Skinner's case
InPolska 9 | 1,816
30 Aug 2015 #29
@Sdennis: good luck! Do check into the Hank Skinner's case (it is in Texas). His wife got and gets a lot of support from anti death penalty associations in the US. Thanks to them, he has not been exectuted and could get a DNA tes (strangely results were not released...). If you Google, you'll find appropriate associations and even his wife, Sandrine (she is totally fluent in English so do not hesitate to contact her). Obviously all media coverage you can get may help.

You guys for sure have been through hell!

All the best!
OP sdennis 1 | 9
30 Aug 2015 #30
Thank you, InPolska. Hope is always alive and grows with the possibility of a new opportunity. I'm grateful for your support and advice

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