More From Ohio: “A Wonderful Day for Justice”


As we reported here, Ohio yesterday enacted one of the most sweeping packages of reforms to address wrongful convictions in the nation. In the video above, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland says the plight of the wrongfully convicted was a driving force behind the legislation. “Being in prison – year after year after year – knowing you are an innocent person, is one of the worst things I can imagine.”

Innocence Project Policy Analyst Rebecca Brown was in Columbus for the signing, and she told the

Cincinnati Enquirer

: “Certainly other states have passed omnibus legislation, but this law really puts Ohio at the forefront of police practice reform. It’s a wonderful day for justice.”

In addition to helping free the innocent and prevent wrongful convictions in DNA and non-DNA cases, the bill will help law enforcement and prosecutors apprehend and convict the real perpetrators of crime. “The new procedures will help improve criminal investigations and save lives,” Strickland said. The Columbus Dispatch reported on other attendees at the signing:

Attending the bill signing were two men freed as a result of the (Dispatch) series:

Robert McClendon

of Columbus, who served 18 years for a child rape that DNA testing showed he did not commit; and

Joseph Fears Jr.

of Columbus, who wrongly served more than 25 years for two Columbus rapes.

Other Ohioans freed in the past decade by DNA evidence — Walter Smith, Clarence Elkins and Danny Brown — also joined the governor.

Read the full story

. (Columbus Dispatch, 04/06/10)

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