Company President Bill Clutter has over 25 years
experience as an investigator. Bill has earned a reputation for
being one of the premiere private investigators in Illinois. He
has worked in all parts of the state -- north and south from Chicago
to Cario -- east and west from Quincy to Danville.
Specializing in death penalty and criminal defense investigations,
Bill Clutter is a Board Certified Criminal Defense Investigator
through the Criminal
Defense Investigations Training Council.
Investigators Conference 2010
Clutter is a featured speaker: Investigating Actual Innocence
to download his PowerPoint presentation
Every five years, private investigators from all
over the world gather at the World Investigators Conference.
This year they will meet in Dallas, Texas.
Springfield investigator, Bill Clutter, is one
of the featured speakers at the 2010 World Investigators Conference.
. His presentation, Investigating Actual Innocence, draws on his
experience that spans a twenty-five year career working on undoing
In 1988, Clutter began working on the case of Rolando
Cruz and Alejandro Hernandez, two men who had been wrongly condemned
to death for the 1983 murder of Jeanine Nicarico. Both men were
exonerated in 1995. The real killer, Brian Dugan, was finally brought
to justice last year when a DuPage County jury convicted Dugan for
the Nicarico murder. Ironically, he was sentenced to death.
The wrongful conviction of Cruz and Hernandez,
and seven other men, led former Gov. George Ryan to place a moratorium
on capital punishment ten years ago.
In 1998, Clutter was one of the speakers at the
first National Conference on Wrongful Convictions and the Death
Penalty at Northwestern
University Law School that brought together onto one stage 28
exonerated prisoners who had once faced death the penalty.
That event developed into the creation of the Center
on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern and the Downstate Illinois
Innocence Project at the University of Illinois at Springfield,
where Clutter serves as its director of investigations. The UIS
Innocence Project is a member the Innocence
Network, with affiliated Projects in 43 states including the
District of Columbia.
Bills investigation into the wrongful convictions
of Randy Steidl and Herbert Whitlock can be found featured in CBS
48 Mystery episodes The
Long Road and Who
Murdered the Newlyweds.
The Steidl-Whitlock case is also featured in a
newly released book, written by Michale Callahan, former Dist. 10
Commander of Investigations for the Illinois State Police, called
When Is Murder Too Politically Sensitive.
THE BOOK NOW
Bill Clutter's investigation in the case of Julie
Rea Harper can be found in Dusty Rhodes' article in the Illinois
Say Die. This case is also featured in the true crime
writers blog Women
In Crime Ink.
Bill Clutter also specializes in complex civil and environmental
investigations. His investigation lead to a major precedent
setting jury verdict in 1998 in the CIPS case, awarding $3.2 million
to children stricken with a rare cancer from exposure to coal tar
in Taylorville, IL.
Our Courthouse Courier Service
of Process division provides fast and reliable service of process,
serving all of Illinois. Our process servers adhere to the Standards
and Best Practices of the National
Association of Professional Process Servers [NAAPS] as a member
of that organization.
Bill Clutter is a member of the National
Association of Legal Investigators (NALI), an organization made
up of elite investigators who specialize in criminal defense and
In 2001, Bill was the principal founder of the Downstate
Illinois Innocence Project at the University of Illinois at
Springfield (UIS) at the Institute for Legal, Legislative, and Policy
The Downstate Illinois Innocence Project is affiliated with the
Innocence Project network based in New York.
Bills work as Director of Investigations for the Downstate
Illinois Innocence Project was featured in the May 2009 edition
front page article: This
projects focus is innocence
in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. A companion story in the
same edition, by Law Bulletin reporter, Bethany Krajelis, features
a story on the book Too Politically Sensitive, by former Illinois
State Police Lt. Michale Callahan: He
has taken his fight to print.
Bill Clutters investigation of wrongful conviction cases began
with his work in the Nicarico case in 1988, featured in the book
Victims of Justice authored
by Thomas Frisbie and Randy Garret.
Bill Clutters investigation in the case of Randy
Steidl resulted in his release from prison in 2004, after spending
17 years in prison, most of it serving a death sentence. Bills
post-conviction investigation was cited by federal court judge Michael
P. McCuskey in granting a habeas
petition filed by Jane Raley, Karen Daniel and Lawrence C. Marshall
of the Bluhm Legal Clinic of the Northwestern University School
of Law, and by Springfield attorneys Michael Metnick and Kathy Saltmarsh.
By April of 1992, Clutter's investigation revealed new evidence
proving that a key prosecution witness, Debra Rienbolt, bore false
witness against both Steidl and Whitlock. This evidence included
forensic evidence proving that a broken lamp discovered by firemen
had been broken after the fire had been suppressed, discrediting
Rienbolt's trial testimony that she saw a broken lamp inside the
bedroom as she witnessed the murders.
His investigation in the case of Herbert
Whitlock was cited by the Illinois 4th Dist. Appellate Court
in its decision reversing Whitlocks conviction.
On May 18, 2009, Bills mentor and friend, Springfield attorney
B. Metnick was honored with a Defender
of the Innocent Award for his lifetime achievement defending
the wrongfully convicted. The event featured Larry Marshallas keynote
Bill Clutter worked on two of the 15 death row exoneration cases
in Illinois that lead to Gov. George Ryan in 1999 declaring a moratorium
on the death penalty.
He has worked in collaboration with the Northwestern
University Law School Center on Wrongful Convictions in a number
of cases to exonerate persons who were wrongfully convicted.
Bill Clutters work can also be found at the website for the
Coalition Against the Death Penalty.
Bill Clutter: Former alderman focuses his time
on private investigations
By SARAH ANTONACCI, Journal Register Staff Writer
Published Monday, April 23, 2007
following is the latest installment of a new series in The State
Journal-Register called "Headliners: A look at people who made
the news." Each Monday, we'll catch up with a newsmaker from
Bill Clutter was going to school and serving people court papers
on the side when he was sent on a delivery that changed his life.
One of his first clients was Mike Metnick, who represented plaintiffs
in the voting-rights lawsuit that ultimately changed Springfield
city government from the commission form to aldermanic.
"I sat through the (city) council meeting, and after the meeting
I served the lawsuit papers on all of them, Clutter said recently
"They had no idea I was there.
"It was a shock to them, and the irony was, with the voting
rights lawsuit being successful, I ended up being elected as an
alderman," Clutter said.
He was sworn in in 1987. Then, in 1990, he lost a close race against
then-State Sen. John Davidson, a well-known Springfield Republican.
Those efforts made it seem like politics was Clutters destiny.
Clutters destiny actually was the job with Metnick. A legal
studies major at what was then Sangamon State University, Clutter
was a process server who had dabbled in investigative work.
"I suggested in a cover letter to local attorneys that I could
do investigations, though I didnt have a lot of experience,"
he said. One hired me for a barroom shooting case, and I really
enjoyed pounding the pavement."
While with Metnick's firm, Clutter worked on a Taylorville case
in which the former Central Illinois Public Service Co. was sued
by several families alleging the company's cleanup of a coal tar
gasification site was the cause of their childrens cancer,
a form called neuroblastoma.
Clutter said he believes the state helped cover up some environmental
problems on the site.
"That experience heightened my cynicism of government,"
Clutter hasn't run for office since that early '90s run for the
state senate. He left Metnick's firm when the state legislature
created the Capital Litigation Trust Fund in 2000. The fund allows
defendants in death penalty murder cases to pay for a defense.
That change in the law created an opening for Clutter to go into
business for himself.
During the time he worked for Metnick, he was involved with a few
death penalty cases where he believed, and the courts later ruled,
that the people charged with the crimes didnt actually commit
"I had the good fortune to be involved on the ground floor
of the Innocence Project in Illinois,"Clutter said. He continues
to work on death penalty cases through that project in addition
to his private investigations business.
Sarah Antonacci can be reached at 788-1529 or firstname.lastname@example.org.