The number of exonerated Ohio prisoners is growing thanks to the Ohio Innocence Project.

 

Exonerated Ohio Prisoners Ru-El SailorThe Ohio Innocence Project (OIP), is a local legal organization at University of Cincinnati College of Law, that is commits to exonerating wrongfully convicted people.  Harnessing the energy and intellect of law student as it’s driving force, OIP seeks to identify inmates in Ohio prisons who are actually innocent of the crimes they were convicted of committing. Innocence is often determined by DNA testing, but can include other types of new evidence such as eye witnesses, new expert testimony or evidence of police misconduct. The organization recently celebrated number 26 of exonerated Ohio prisoners.

 

The Ohio Innocence Project (OIP), is a local legal organization at University of Cincinnati College of Law, that is committs to exonerating wrongfully convicted people.  Harnessing the energy and intellect of law student as its driving force, OIP seeks to identify inmates in Ohio prisons who are actually innocent of the crimes they were convicted of committing. Innocence is often determined by DNA testing, but can include other types of new evidence such as eye witnesses, new expert testimony or evidence of police misconduct. The organization recently celebrated number 26 of exonerated Ohio prisoners.

 

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Recently, on March 28, 2017, Ru-El Sailor was released at the Cuyahoga County Courthouse by Judge Nancy McDonnell. In 2003, Sailor was convicted of a murder that he did not commit and was sentenced to 25 years to life in jail.

 

Sailor, 38, was convicted of aggravated murder in the Nov. 17, 2002, shooting death of Cleveland resident Omar Clark. At his 2003 trial, Sailor testified that he spent the entire night of the shooting with his best friend, Cordell Hubbard, who also was convicted of murdering Clark.

 

As part of his agreement with Cuyahoga County prosecutors, Sailor pleaded guilty Wednesday to new charges of perjury and obstruction of justice for lying in court 15 years ago. He was sentenced to 10 years, time served.

 

Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Nancy McDonnell, the judge in Sailor’s 2003 trial, chastised him for lying both to her and the court years ago. Then she uttered the words his family had come to hear: “You’re ordered released.

Although there are no published statistics on the demographics of exonerated Ohio prisoners, public images of the exonerees on the OIP website indicate that at least 48% of those exonerated in Ohio are African American males, and at least one exoneree is a female.

 

According to The National Innocence Project, 350 people, including 20 people who served time on death row, been exonerated through post-conviction DNA testing since 1989.  Nationally, more than 70% of people exonerated are of color (African American, Latino or Asian) while the remainder are white. 

 

Today, there are approximately 300 active cases in the United States.  Every year, more than 3,000 people from across the country write to the Innocence Project for the first time asking for help, and at any given time state agencies are evaluating between 6,000 and 8,000 potential cases.  Each of these cases represents an individual who can potentially be freed of their crimes.

 

Here is a list of exonerated prisoners:

1 Gary Reece 25 years 2005
2 Clarence Elkins 7.5 years 2005
3 Chris Bennett 4 years 2006
4 Bruce Paul 14 years 2008
5 Robert McClendon 18 years 2008
6 Joseph Fears 25 years 2009
7 Nancy Smith 15 years 2009
8 Willie Knighten Jr. 12 years 2009
9 Raymond Towler 29 years 2010
10 Teddy Moseley 10 years 2010
11 Wally Zimmer 12 years 2011
12 David Ayers 11 years 2011
13 Dean Gillispie 20 years 2011
14 Rico Gaines 9 years 2012
15 Glenn Tinney 20 years 2013
16 Doug Prade 15 years 2013
17 Dewey Jones 20 years 2014
18 Rickey Jackson 39 years 2014
19 Wiley Bridgeman 39 years 2014
20 Kwame Ajamu 27 years 2014
21 Derrick Wheatt 18 years 2015
22 Laurese Glover 18 years 2015
23 Eugene Johnson 18 years 2015
24 Jim Parsons 23 years 2016
25 Evin King 23 years 2017
26 Ru-El Sailor 15 years 2018

We will never know for sure, but the few studies that have been done estimate that between 2.3% and 5% of all prisoners in the U.S. are innocent (for context, if just 1% of all prisoners are innocent, that would mean that more than 20,000 innocent people are in prison).

 

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If you know of an Ohio prisoner who may qualify for the Ohio Innocence Project, complete this application . For more information about exonerated Ohio prisoners, visit the Ohio Innocence Project

 

The Rosenthal Institute for Justice was established at the UC College of Law thanks to the generosity of Lois and Richard Rosenthal.

 

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