Hours After her Shocking Release From Prison, Wendy Runge Shares Her Story With Ami Magazine


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UntitledThis past Friday, Wendy Runge was released from prison in Iowa. The Jewish mother had been sentenced to a maximum of ten years behind bars; in the end, she was released after six months. Several hours after her shocking release from prison, Mrs. Runge shared her story with Ami Magazine in an essay describing both her ordeal inside the Iowa prison system, where she found her place among the “lifers” and amid scenes of terrible violence and heart-wrenching tragedy, and the dramatic moments in court when she won her freedom.

Despite the sometimes disheartening surroundings, Mrs. Runge gathered the courage to write her own motion for a reconsideration of her sentence. “It took me over a month to convince my husband Pinchas as well as my rav to allow me to do it myself, without an attorney.” At a hearing in front of Judge Arthur Gamble, the chief judge of the county, whom she had previously had a positive encounter with, Mrs. Runge says she found a sympathetic ear. When she mentioned troubles that she’d had postponing an original trial date, Judge Gamble said, “I don’t know what happened with this case…Had I been presiding, things would have been very different.” In the end, she says, the fact that she was being let go, back to her family, was overwhelming. “By that time, I could only weep.”

(Ami Newsroon)


  1. Ah yes..a hero’s welcome for the chillul hashem lady who decided to mouth off on the internet about an “anti semtic” judge and got the appropriate punishment.

    This woman was not “wrongfully accused” and “railroaded” like most people assume every frum looking criminal is.

    The prosecution had plenty of proof of wrongdoing and the book was thrown at her.

    Had she been contrite in her allocution and kept her mouth shut on the blogosphere she would have been offered probation.

    Hopefully she learned her lesson.

  2. Baruch Mattir Assurim!!!

    In the “just saying” department:

    You used the phrase, “whom she had previously had a positive encounter with” … if you’re already using “whom,” the phrase should read like this:

    “with whom she had previously had a positive encounter”

    This is submitted without malice the interests of improving the English writing skills of the frum velt. The oilom reads what we write – it’s up to us to look good and professional.

    Your friendly neighborhood Jewish editor.

  3. #2, you seem awfully knowledgeable about the case. Were you perhaps involved in the legal proceedings? Or are you just spewing rhetoric from your own agenda? It is well known that this prosecution was full of trumped up charges and designed to make an example for others who are truly abusing this system in Iowa. Wendy is an extremely affable, yashrusdik woman who was not responsible for what went on but took the fall for it anyway. And this information IS coming from somewhere other than the news clips which you are reading. Save your anger-filled stupidity for someone who deserves it. #4 is right – go learn a little bit of Chofetz Chaim.

  4. #2 I hardly think someone who recommends Footsteps as an organization someone should volunteer for has any understanding what chillul hashem is.

    But I understand what your crises arise from, it is so sad that you are such a confused little creature.

  5. Shame on Ami Magazine. I am very happy for Mrs. Runge and her family that she is now home. However, it is wrong to glorify and create heros out of those that were convicted in our criminal justice system. This story is best kept to herself and her family our newspapers should focus on stories of honesty and integrity and not perceived victimhood.

  6. To Number 11. Her story is a story of Bitachon and Emunah. Even though she had to serve time she came to the conclusion that this was her destiny and was a total kiddush Hashem behind bars. She is a lady of honesty and integrity! There are two sides to every story! Be Dan LiKaf Zechut!

  7. #11 – I hope you are aware that not all of “those that were convicted in our criminal justice system” are actually guilty. I am not referring to this case, which I know nothing about. But every frum person deserves our ‘presumption of innocence’ beyond what a non-frum judge or jury decides. Shlomo Rubashkin would be just one of hundreds of examples.

  8. #13 – I hope that you are aware that not every Frum Jew that is convicted by a jury of their peers in really innocent.

    From what I understand she plead guilty and accepted responsibilty for her actions. The judge released her because he found the punishment to be dispoportionate to the crime.

    I am thrilled that she is home with her kids and that her tifilos were answered. This does not negate my original point. It would be better if we our media stopped creating heros out of those convicted. We are becoming an Al Sharpton / Jesse Jackson society of victimhood.

  9. I am very happy for her and I wish all those others who are wrongfully incarcerated (and even those who may be somewhat guilty, because it is not the Torah way to incarcerate people for wrong doing) will also be released quickly.

  10. I don’t know the case, but if she’s innocent and fighting for justice why plead guilty? Why make a plea bargain?

    If you believe you are innocent fight for the truth.

  11. crisisoftheweek says: “This woman was not “wrongfully accused” and “railroaded” like most people assume every frum looking criminal is.”
    Why don’t you turn that statement around on yourself: does every frum person convicted of a crime deserve a draconian sentence?

    HeshyR says:”You used the phrase, “whom she had previously had a positive encounter with” … if you’re already using “whom,” the phrase should read like this: “with whom she had previously had a positive encounter””
    You merely took “with” from the end of the phrase and placed it in the beginning, as though there’s something wrong with ending a sentence with a preposition. That’s a style issue, not grammatically incorrect.

  12. again the garbage like every time a frum person gets convicted of a crime. does anybody on YNW ever think a yid can do a crime or is every yid always innocent or maybe simply innocent because secular courts should not judge a yid?