Eyewitness Identification Reform
State statute requires that law enforcement agencies follow specific policies in eyewitness identification procedures, including blind administration, proper fillers, proper instructions, and confidence statements. It also permits law enforcement to use the “folder shuffle method.” Evidence of non-compliance is specifically admissible at trial and the jury is to be instructed that it may take that evidence into account when determining reliability of the identification. Effective: 2010.
Recording of Interrogations
State statute requires the audio or audiovisual recording of all statements, in their entirety, made by a juvenile or an adult during a custodial interrogation in a place of confinement, if the interrogation relates to a specified serious criminal offense. If law enforcement fails to record a custodial interrogation when required by law, the prosecution must establish by a preponderance of the evidence that one or more specified exceptions applied to the failure to record, otherwise the court shall admit the unrecorded statements as evidence with the cautionary jury instruction that the jury “may consider the failure to record the custodial interrogation in determining the reliability of the evidence." Effective: 2010; Amended most recently: 2021.
Post Conviction DNA Testing
A person convicted of a serious felony who has not been unconditionally discharged may apply for an order for DNA testing of evidence. Effective: 2003; Amended most recently: 2010.
State statute requires the automatic preservation of biological evidence for aggravated murder and murder offenses for the time the crime remains unsolved. For crimes such as voluntary manslaughter, first or second degree involuntary manslaughter, first or second degree vehicular manslaughter, rape, attempted rape, sexual battery, or gross sexual imposition of a person under 13 the evidence must be preserved for thirty years or as long as the offense remains unsolved. Effective: 2010; Amended most recently: 2014.
Ohio's statute does NOT meet the best practices standards outlined by the NIST Technical Working Group on Biological Evidence Preservation.
Pursuing compensation is a two-step process that begins with a wrongful imprisonment determination in a court of common pleas. The individual must then file a civil claim for monetary damages in the Court of Claims. After the Court of Claims receives proof of this determination, the wrongfully imprisoned individual is entitled to a sum of money that equals the total of each of the following amounts: a) Any fines or court costs paid, reasonable attorney's fees and other expenses associated with the criminal proceedings and appeals, and expenses incurred to obtain discharge from confinement; b) $55,045 as determined by the auditor of state for each full year of imprisonment; the amount is prorated for partial year; c) any loss of wages, salary or other earned income; and d) certain cost debts the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction recovered from the person who was wrongfully imprisoned.
In 2018, the law was amended to: Clarify that exonerees are eligible for compensation if their conviction was overturned based on the state unconstitutionally withholding favorable evidence from the defendant (known as a Brady violation); permit eligibility if the prosecutor does not attempt to re-prosecute after one year of exoneration; and permit eligibility for misdemeanor wrongful convictions. Effective: 1989; Amended most recently: 2018.