Category Archives: Life after exoneration

Lessons of Wrongful Convictions: A Parent/Child Perspective

(Editor’s note: The author, Carey Hoffman, is Director of Communications for the Ohio Innocence Project.)

Every parent aspires for the best for their child.

That was true for Rickey Jackson’s parents. It was also true for Harold Franks, the Cleveland salesman killed in 1975 that Jackson and two friends were wrongfully convicted of murdering.

Of course, it is just as true for myself and my wife with our two daughters.

rickey jackson release portrait

Rickey Jackson in 2014, moments after a court ordered his release after 39 years in prison.

That’s why I was pleased our youngest, Emily, a junior at Miami University, was going to have the opportunity to hear Rickey Jackson speak when he visited her campus in October as part of a program put on by the Miami chapter of OIP-u, one of seven chapters at Ohio universities that serve as undergraduate advocacy organizations affiliated with the Ohio Innocence Project.

The realities of four decades lost to injustice can become very hard to miss when their embodiment is sitting 15 feet away from you, telling you a story of a life’s journey that you’ll never forget. Continue reading

New 360-degree Video Experience Allows Viewers to Step Into the Shoes of the Wrongfully Convicted

Only the people who have been through it can truly understand the experience of having been wrongfully convicted and sent to prison. But a new, 360-degree immersive video will allow viewers to gain greater understanding than ever before of what it is to “walk a mile in my shoes” when you are an exoneree who spent almost 40 years in prison.

That is the experience of Rickey Jackson of Cleveland, Ohio, who was exonerated in 2014. One of the longest-serving exonerees in U.S. history, the realities of his surreal, new post-prison life can be uniquely understood through the release of “Send Me Home,” a 360-degree video experience conceived and produced by Lonelyleap Film.

“Send Me Home” invites participants to take a journey in 360 degrees, as Rickey grants us entry into his private world, guiding us through time gone, family known and the spaces he lovingly embraces today. The 360-degree video transports participants into Rickey’s mindspace, urging them to reflect on the expanse of their own lives in relation to the time Rickey has lost.

Rickey was represented by the Ohio Innocence Project, which ultimately secured his release from a death sentence that began with a wrongful conviction in a 1975 murder case.

Continue reading

Ten years after: An exoneree success story

“Hello truth.”

That’s the phrase Robert McClendon will always be associated with. It was his reaction 10 years ago when DNA results were announced that conclusively cleared him of the rape charge that had cost him his freedom for the previous 18 years.

But, in this 10th anniversary year of that moment, Robert says they are not necessarily the words that stick out most in his mind from that day.

mcclendon o'brien

Robert McClendon and Ron O’Brien

It was an exchange with Columbus Dispatch reporter Mike Wagner, whose reporting plays prominently in Robert’s story, that remains most vivid to Robert.

Heading into the proceedings to announce the results of the DNA comparison, no one was telling Robert what the results showed.

“No one would say anything about it. My family was bewildered, they were stunned,” Robert recalls. “I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, the results must have come back inconclusive.’ All kind of things were going through my mind, and I will always remember this conversation with Mike Wagner.

“Mike knew I liked basketball, and he was a high school basketball player himself, so he had said, ‘If you ever get out, we’ll have to play a game of 1-on-1.’ So no one is telling me anything, and then Mike walks by and he says the words I’ll never forget, ‘You ready for that basketball game?’ “

That is how Robert McClendon learned his 18-year nightmare was drawing to a close.

McClendon, Wagner and others involved in his case – along with fellow Ohio Innocence Project (OIP) exonerees Dean Gillispie, Laurese Glover and Nancy Smith – revisited his journey to justice this week during a panel discussion, “Hello Truth, Ten Years of Freedom” in Robert’s hometown of Columbus.

Also participating were Columbus city council member Jaiza Page, who served as moderator, Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien, Judge Charles Schneider of the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, former Columbus Dispatch reporter Geoff Dutton and OIP Deputy Director Jennifer Paschen Bergeron.

Robert’s case was a true landmark moment for the innocence movement in Ohio. Continue reading

Exonerated After 45 Years in Prison

He was 27 when he went in. Now he’s 72.

This sets a record for the longest wrongful imprisonment in the US.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/30/us/detroit-man-wrongfully-excused-of-murder-released-trnd/index.html

Wrongfully Convicted Man Gets His Old Job Back with the White Sox After 23 Years in Prison

 

Would that ALL exonerated people were able to re-insert themselves back into society this easily.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/26/us/white-sox-hire-wrongly-convicted-groundskeeper-trnd/index.html

 

Weekend Quick Clicks…

Wednesday’s Quick Clicks…

Friday’s Quick Clicks…

Wednesday’s Quick Clicks…

Weekend Quick Clicks…

Tuesday’s Quick Clicks…

  • Learn about what The Exoneree Band is up to these days
  • The Ohio Innocence Project exonerees Rickey Jackson, Nancy Smith and Clarence Elkins on yesterday’s episode of The Doctors, talking about PTSD
  • Article spotlighted how bad interrogation techniques lead to false confessions
  • Innocence movement hero Jennifer Thompson speaks up about how new legislation in Alabama could hurt the innocent
  • Son speaks out about mom’s wrongful conviction

Weekend Quick Clicks…

Monday’s Quick Clicks…

  • Podcast of recent exoneration in South Africa, with exoneree, lawyer, and journalist who broke the story.
  • Zaruhi Mejlumyan, a journalist who is creating the Armenian Innocence Project, wins award for her advocacy work surrounding wrongful convictions
  • Take the quiz…..How much do you know about America’s guilty plea problem?
  • Profile of Innocence Project Northwest in Seattle
  • Can a surgical procedure help minimize PTSD in exonerees?
  • More on plea bargaining as a national problem
  • Meet the innocent couple who found love after death row