In a landmark victory for open government, a court in Ohio ruled that police investigation records must become public documents after a suspect’s criminal trial concludes. The ruling meant that the records being sought by the Ohio Innocence Project from Columbus Police dating back to 2013 must be handed over to them. Ohio Innocence Project Director Mark Godsey called it a “huge win for justice.” So far, OIP has helped to free 23 wrongfully convicted prisoners.
Celebrated author John Grisham has been a longtime supporter of the innocence movement. In a recent interview with the Marshall Project, he offered these words of advice for incoming AG Sessions: “I would never advise Mr. Sessions on how to handle his job, but I hope he understands that there are thousands of innocent people in prison serving long sentences for crimes committed by others; that their convictions could have been avoided and the real perpetrators brought to justice; that many segments of our criminal justice system are broken and must be fixed; that untold millions of dollars could be saved by criminal justice reforms, not to mention the avoidance of human suffering…”
25 years ago, William Carini was wrongfully convicted of rape. His conviction was cleared by Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim, who announced in December that, after a lengthy review of the case, his office would dismiss William’s conviction after forensic testing done last fall revealed none of the physical evidence collected in the rape case matched William. He will be the 7th person cleared of rape or murder in Lake County in the past six years.
Due to a budget impasse in the capital of Springfield, Illinois exonerees haven't been able to receive any of their compensation funds. There hasn’t been a state budget for nearly 18 months, and during that time attorneys say that roughly 14 people have been exonerated.