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.
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.
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:
|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||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.||Roger “Dean” Gillispie||20 years||2011|
|14.||Bryant “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||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|
|30.||Christopher Smith||12 years||2020|
|31.||Isaiah Andrews||45 years||2020|
|32.||Michael Sutton||14 years||2021|
|33.||Kenny Phillips||14 years||2021|
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.
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.
Related Legal Resources:
Black Lawyers Association of Cincinnati
Cincinnati Bar Association
Hamilton County Office of Re-entry
Hamilton County Public Defender
Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati
NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund
Ohio Justice & Policy Center
Ohio State Bar Association
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.