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$111,000 Settlement for Wrongfully Incarcerated Ohio Prisoner

On June 12, 2017, the Ohio Controlling Board voted to settle a wrongful incarceration suit brought by a man whom prosecutors had called a “major supplier” of cocaine, after a judge ignored the reversal of his conviction by an appellate court and kept him in prison.

Frank C. Davis was convicted of possession and trafficking of cocaine in 2000, after police found over three pounds of coke in his home. During the arrest, police seized $87,793 in cash, automobiles that included a Lincoln Continental and Jaguar, and other property.

Davis was sentenced to eleven years in prison with ten being mandatory. The sentence included a fine of $20,000, forfeiture of his residential property and suspension of his driver’s license. In 2006, his sixth appeal was granted based on a faulty search warrant.

“The search warrant was defective because the police searched the entire premises, including the garage, and they did not have probable cause to go into the garage or various other parts of the residence,” said Independence, Ohio attorney Mark Potter, who represented Davis. “The state’s agents didn’t follow the law, and they have to follow the law, otherwise no one is safe.”

Despite the appellate decision, Clark County Judge David Rastatter refused to order his release.

The Court of Appeals then issued a writ of mandamus to Judge Rastatter and Davis was freed two weeks later. See: State ex rel. Davis v. Rastatter, 2006-Ohio-5305 (Ohio Ct. App. 2006). He had spent 192 days in prison after his conviction was reversed.

Davis filed a state civil action to be declared a wrongfully imprisoned person based on the time he served after the initial appellate ruling. His case was dismissed. He appealed and in 2015 the Court of Appeals reversed a grant of summary judgment to the defendants and ordered the trial court to enter summary judgment in favor of Davis on remand. See: Davis v. Clark Cnty. Bd. of Comm’rs, 2015-Ohio-3794 (Ohio Ct. App. 2015).

The state then settled the case for $111,846, which included $73,369 for Davis, $36,630 in attorney fees and the rest in court costs.

See: Davis v. State of Ohio, Court of Claims of Ohio, Case No. 2016-0025-WI. 

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Related legal case

Davis v. State of Ohio