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. 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. The organization recently celebrated number 28 of exonerated Ohio prisoners.
Recently, on November 27, 2018, Charles Jackson was released at the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court by Judge Robert C. McClelland. In April 1991, Jackson was convicted of aggravated murder and attempted murder. A judge sentenced him to consecutive terms of 20 years to life on the first charge and seven to 25 years on the latter. He also received an additional three years for using a firearm during the crimes.
Jackson, now 54 years old is innocent of the murder of Joseph Travis and attempted murder of Ronald Lacey, who were both in Travis’ Cleveland apartment at the time. At the time of his conviction, there was no physical evidence tying him to the scene, inconsistent police reports and shaky eyewitness testimony.
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.
Here is a list of exonerated prisoners:
|Years in Prison||Year Released|
|1||Gary Reece||25 years||2005|
|2||Clarence Elkins||7.5 years||2005|
|3||Chris Bennet||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|
|27||Christ Miller||17 years||2018|
|28||Charles Jackson||27 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).
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.
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