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The Ohio Public Defender’s Wrongful Conviction Project

The Ohio Public Defender is attempting to fill a gap in the system by developing the state’s first program to focus exclusively on the majority of wrongful conviction claims that do not involve DNA evidence. Focus will be on allegations of flawed science, witness mis-identification, and false confessions. The Project is designed to evaluate claims, to remove wrongfully convicted persons from Ohio prisons, and to promote policy changes that will prevent wrongful convictions in the future.

The Project targets inmates who meet seven criteria: (1) the inmate is an indigent Ohio inmate; (2) the inmate claims factual innocence of the convictions; (3) the inmate did not contribute in any way to the commission of the offense; (4) the inmate is serving a lengthy prison sentence; (5) the inmate has no prior history of violent crimes and no lengthy prior criminal record; (6) the basis for claimed innocence is not outcome determinative as to DNA evidence; and (7) the inmate has exhausted the legal process. Inmates referred to the Project will be asked to complete a questionnaire. If they meet the Project’s criteria, their case will be referred to a law student or other volunteer to consider the merits of their claim.

The evaluation process will be a lengthy one. It may take several months or longer to begin assessing a given case. The ultimate decision of whether to litigate your case could take well over a year to make.

Referrals to the Ohio Public Defender’s Wrongful Conviction Project can be made to:

Office of the Ohio Public Defender
Attn: Project Director, Joe Bodenhamer
250 East Broad Street, Suite 1400
Columbus, Ohio 43215





Ohio public defender launches new non-DNA innocence initiative

(The Plain Dealer © 11/19/2009)

Ohio's top public Defender is taking on a rare challenge:  accepting cases of convicted criminals who say they're innocent but don't have the DNA to prove it.


"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

Martin Luther King, Jr. Letter from
Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963

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