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Ohio Man Paid $1.5 Million for 26 Years' Wrongful Imprisonment

In April 2007, an Ohio jury awarded $1.5 million to Plaintiff Gary James, who spent 26 years in prison for a robbery and murder he didn't commit.

James, now 54, and his friend, Timothy Howard, were arrested in 1976 and convicted of bank robbery and murder. Both men were initially sentenced to death, but their sentences were later commuted to life in prison.

The men were freed in 2003 after their convictions were reversed based on exonerating evidence that was not disclosed to their attorneys during trial.

Despite the exonerating evidence, James was forced to file a civil suit to be declared innocent, which was concluded in his favor in March 2006.

Rep. Bill Seitz said Ohio?s wrongful incarceration law was amended in 2003 to cover procedural errors like those in James's case so defendants would not be forced to go through a new trial to get an "actual innocence" verdict.

In his lawsuit James named as defendants Marc Dann, the Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, and the State of Ohio.

James's codefendant, Howard, settled his lawsuit in 2006 for $2.5 million. Sadly, Howard died of a heart attack in March 2007. He was 53.

James was represented by attorneys James D. Owen, Richard S. Ketcham, and Rick L. Brunner, all of Columbus, Ohio. Judge David E. Cain presided.
See: James v. State of Ohio, Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 04-CV-002808.

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Related legal case

James v. State of Ohio