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Exonerations Spark Reforms in Ohio
Posted: March 26, 2009 4:31 pm
After the recent exonerations of Robert McClendon and Joseph Fears in Ohio, state lawmakers – both Democrats and Republicans – are seeking to pass a package of reforms that would help free innocent prisoners and prevent future wrongful convictions. A bill pending before the Ohio legislature would grant wider access to post-conviction DNA testing and would require changes to lineup procedures and the electronic recording of some interrogations.
But some police and prosecutorial organizations are resisting the changes, saying they would be burdensome and costly for police departments to implement and would prevent police from doing their jobs.
State Sen. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, said even with compromises this bill would be a step in the right direction and would help prevent wrongful convictions.
"It will be progress that will save the system money," he said, noting that it will mean fewer arguments and appeals over the legitimacy of confessions.
Seitz stressed that he wants to work out issues and move the bill, noting two recent cases of innocence and "countless other cases in which people hoped to get exonerated only to find that the dog ate my homework and the (DNA) evidence was gone.
"This issue is too important. We've got real problems with real-life people. All I would say to anybody who doesn't like this bill is: What if it was you in jail for 18 years for a crime you didn't commit?"
Read the full story here. (Columbus Dispatch, 03/26/09)
Tags: Joseph Fears, Robert McClendon, False Confessions, Eyewitness Identification, Access to DNA Testing
Three Ohio Exonerees Adjust to Life Outside of Prison
Posted: November 22, 2010 4:35 pm
Towler’s story captured the attention of the CEO of Medical Mutual, who contacted the Ohio Innocence Project to see if he needed employment. After going through the standard hiring process, Towler now works for the company, and his colleagues say he has had a positive impact.
Last week, Towler’s attorney reached a tentative agreement with the Ohio attorney general's office for $2.57 million, which if approved by the Court of Claims, would be the largest wrongful conviction settlement in state history.
But exonerees aren’t given a manual about how to save and spend when they receive a settlement, and only 27 states plus D.C. having compensation statutes in the first place.
Read the full article.
Does your state have a compensation statute?
Read McClendon’s case profile.
Read Fears’ case profile.
Read Towler’s case profile.
Tags: Joseph Fears, Robert McClendon, Raymond Towler, Exoneree Compensation