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


The Ohio Innocence Project (OIP) is a legal organization at the University of Cincinnati College of Law committed to exonerating wrongfully convicted persons incarcerated in the Buckeye State.

Harnessing the energy and intellect of law students focused on exoneration as it is driving force, OIP seeks to identify inmates in Ohio prisons who were falsely accused and found guilty of the felonies such as robbery, rape, or murder.


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Innocence is often determined by DNA or other forensic evidence. Still, it can include several types of new evidence such as unheard eyewitnesses, confessions, recent expert testimony, unseen physical evidence, inept prosecutors, or proof of police misconduct.

Since 2003, more than 30 men and women convicted of felonies based and sentenced to decades in prison, life in prison and even the death penalty in Ohio have had their wrongful convictions overturned.



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According to The National Innocence Project, 375 people, including 21 people sentenced to death and served time on death row, have been exonerated through post-conviction DNA testing since 1989. The demographics of exonerated Ohio prisoners are not published, however, nationally, more than 60% of people exonerated are of color (African American, Latino or Asian), while the remainder is white.



Since 1993, the Innocence Project has received over 65,600 letters from incarcerated individuals seeking help in proving their innocence. The intake team processes the letters chronologically, and thoroughly reviews each case request received.


Exonerated prisoners in Ohio:

NameYears in Prison Year Released
1.Gary Reece 25 years2005
2.Clarence Elkins7.5 years2005
3.Chris Bennett4 years2006
4.Bruce Paul14 years2008
5.Robert McClendon18 years2008
6.Joseph Fears25 years2009
7.Nancy Smith15 years2009
8.Willie Knighten 12 years2009
9.Raymond Towler29 years2010
10.Teddy Moseley10 years2010
11.Wally Zimmer12 years2011
12.David Ayers11 years2011
13.Roger “Dean” Gillispie20 years2011
14.Bryant “Rico” Gaines9 years2012
15.Glenn Tinney20 years2013
16.Doug Prade15 years2013
17.Dewey Jones20 years2014
18.Rickey Jackson39 years2014
19.Wiley Bridgeman39 years2014
20.Kwame Ajamu28 years2014-2015
21.Derrick Wheatt18 years2015
22.Laurese Glover18 years2015
23.Eugene Johnson18 years2015
24.Jim Parsons23 years2016
25.Evin King23 years2017
26.Ru-El Sailor15 years2018
27.Chris Miller17 years2018
28.Charles Jackson27 years2018
30.Christopher Smith12 years2020
31.Isaiah Andrews45 years2020
32.Michael Sutton14 years2021
33.Kenny Phillips14 years2021


Although exact statistics are unknown, the few studies that have been done estimate that between 2.3 percent and 5 percent of death row cases in the United States are wrongfully convicted. For context, if just 1 percent of all prisoners are innocent, more than 20,000 innocent people are imprisoned.



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If you know of an innocent Ohio prisoner who has a wrongful conviction, wrongful imprisonment or failed by the criminal justice system, complete this Ohio Innocence Project Application.

Ohio Innocence Project Application


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



Related Legal Resources:

Black Lawyers Association of Cincinnati 
Cincinnati Bar Association
Cincinnati NAACP
Hamilton County Office of Re-entry
Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati
NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund
Ohio Justice & Policy Center
Ohio State Bar Association



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