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Judge Rules Cleveland Man Was Wrongfully Imprisoned For Murder, And Can Get More Than $1M

Judge Rules Cleveland Man Was Wrongfully Imprisoned For Murder, And Can Get More Than $1M

A Cleveland man who spent nearly 30 years in prison for a murder he did not commit is now eligible to receive more than $1 million in wrongful imprisonment compensation after being exonerated by a judge on Monday.

Charles Jackson was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of murder and attempted murder in 1991, according to Cleveland.com. After 28 years in prison, he was finally released in 2018. The charges against him were also dropped the following year by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s office.

Jackson can now seek compensation from the Ohio Court of Claims as a result of the wrongful imprisonment ruling. He is entitled to approximately $52,000 for each year he was wrongfully imprisoned.

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Despite his appreciation for the compensation and the ruling, Jackson told News 5 Cleveland that he does not believe the state can completely right the wrongs of his wrongful conviction.

“I’m relieved. All these years to be labeled as a monster and to live through that and to feel shame and humiliation and now to be totally exonerated, it feels good,” said Jackson. “I don’t think [the state] could ever make it right. But compensation is a good start immediately to get my life going and to take care of my family and to move on and put this behind me.”

Jackson was exonerated after his attorneys and officials from the Ohio Attorney General’s office filed a joint motion agreeing that he had been wrongfully imprisoned.

“I don’t think any judge would ever want to imprison an innocent person,” said Judge Sutula during her decision. “Because [the judge who presided over Jackson’s 1991 conviction] isn’t here to apologize, I’ll do it for him.”

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The Ohio Innocence Project took up Jackson’s case. According to News 5 Cleveland, the legal organization stated that Jackson was ultimately convicted based on statements given by two witnesses in connection with his case. His attorneys also contended that several police reports were exculpatory because investigators lied and fabricated evidence while the case was being investigated. Potential witnesses were said to have wrongly identified Jackson as the perpetrator because they relied heavily on the photo arrays shown to them.

The city of Cleveland, as well as the detectives who investigated the case, were named as defendants in a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by Jackson and his attorneys.

“Cleveland murder detectives hid evidence, fabricated evidence, and hid witness statements that were completely exculpatory,” according to one of Jackson’s lawyers.

“Everyone suffers when police and prosecutors fail to do justice, fail to pursue justice, intentionally withhold evidence, and imprison the wrong people.” The repercussions of this will last for decades.”

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