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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 local legal organization at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, that is committed to exonerating wrongfully convicted people. The number of Exonerated Ohio Prisoners is growing. 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 eyewitnesses, new expert testimony or evidence of police misconduct. Since 2003, more than 30 men and women wrongly convicted of felonies and sentenced to decades or life in prison and the death penalty in Ohio have had their convictions overturned.  

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  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 is 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.  

Exonerated prisoners in Ohio:

  Name Years in Prison  Year Released
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. Ricky Jackson 39 years 2014
19. Wiley Bridgeman 39 years 2014
20. Kwame Ajamu 28 years 2014-2015
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
27. Chris Miller 17 years 2018
28. Charles Jackson 27 years 2018
29. Jerry McMeans 30 years 2020
30. Christopher Smith 12 years 2020
31. Isaiah Andrews 45 years 2020
32. Al Cleveland 25 years 2020
33. Michael Sutton 14 years 2021
34. Kenny Phillips 14 years 2021

  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).    

Cincinnati African American Lawyers accepting new clients

    If you know of an Ohio  prisoner who may qualify for the Ohio Innocence Project, complete this 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.   The Voice of Black Cincinnati is a media company designed to educate, recognize, and create opportunities for African Americans. Want to find local news, events, job posting, scholarships, and a database of local Black-owned businesses? Visit our homepage, explore other articles, subscribe to our newsletter, like our Facebook page, join our Facebook group, and text VOBC to 797979.

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2 comments

  1. What if you have gotten out, only you were never guilty, and because its still on your record, its very hard if not impossible to get a Good Paying job, even according to your skill sets~ my question is do you help with getting charges off your record for people that can not afford it?

    1. Thank you for visiting our website. We invite you to contact OIP and Legal Aid of SW Ohio for additional information. They may be able to assist or provide additional information.

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