Ohio inmate Al Cleveland, convicted of murder in 1996, has been a client of Jennifer Bergeron of the Ohio Innocence Project for many years. His case has also been investigated at various points in time by the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University and private investigator Martin Yant.
Today, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the evidence compiled over the years is sufficient to meet the “actual innocence” Shlup exception, and overturned the lower court’s decision and remanded the case for further proceedings. The fantastic opinion is here. All the details of the case are contained in the opinion. News report here and in WSJ here…
This the type of victory that reflects determination and persistence. Bergeron worked against great odds for years to get to this point. It is a sweet victory for Al, and a sweet victory for Jennifer.
Below is a painting that Al created in prison, entitled Flood of Lies, which reflects his feelings about his plight. About the painting, Al wrote:
I don’t have many words to describe this piece, but it represents the end of the artistic confines to which I have been bound for years, and marks the beginning of an inward journey of truth-telling in art and the expression of such by all means despite the look. No beauty right now, just a soul under pressure and an able hand in need, coming to grips with a few dreams it must let go. Upon further thought, this represents the feeling of many of us wrongfully incarcerated, serving Life sentences.