Two Cleared in Ohio as State Senate Passes Reform Bill


Nancy Smith and Joseph Allen were freed in Ohio in February after serving more than 14 years for sexual assaults they’ve always said they didn’t commit. Yesterday, an Ohio county judge ordered all charges dropped against them.

During a multi-year investigation into this case, the Ohio Innocence Project turned up convincing evidence that Smith and Allen didn’t commit the child sexual assaults for which they were convicted in 1994.

Read more about the case in the Cleveland Plain Dealer


Upon her release, Smith said she was glad to move on with her life:

“I go find a job and just live my life finally, after all these years, with my children, my grandchildren and my family,” a tearful Smith said during an interview at the Lorain office of her attorney, Jack Bradley.

Read the full story

. (Chronicle-Telegram, 06/25/09)

Also yesterday, the Ohio Senate voted 32-1 in favor of a bill addressing several of the most critical reforms to free the innocent and prevent wrongful convictions. The bill expands the state’s DNA access law, requires all lineups to be double-blind, requires recording of interrogations in serious crimes and requires preservation of evidence in serious crimes. It now heads to the state House of Representatives.

“This was a piece of much needed legislation that will bring Ohio up to speed with the best practices in the country,” said Mark Godsey, a UC professor of law and faculty director of the Ohio Innocence Project.

Read more on yesterday’s vote


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