Thanks,Prometheus and S.G..I hope to see many more of these reports coming from our readership.I can't post one-tenth of the things which come to my attention that ought to be posted here Ohio is my home state and the number of multiple possible and extremely probable innocent cases which are systematically ignored or surpressed by the State officials is legion. Until recently the plight of the Ohio prisoners was represented by one lone amateur site run,I believe,by a poor and unschooled man who collected innocence claims(nearly fifty of them) from the prisoners.Some of them(including defendants in three first degree cases) seemed to have numerous facts of their innocence;some others were merely near illiterate handwritten scrawls,somebody help me.The web host(whose health no longer permits him to update)asked a one dollar contribution to help his expenses. I spent several months trying to systematically verify these allegations at the rate of about one a week.Most of them were so obscure and/or happened so long ago that it was impossible to now prove from the standard Internet entries that some of these people even existed! Fortunately when I was about two months into this,the Innocence Project sent out a notice that it was launching a major investigation into this long standing situation.The Tolliver case appears to be the first to hit the headlines but the project lists another potential thirty-four to come. On the negative side the Innocence Project only investigates DNA cases.This excludes the ninety odd per cent of possible innocence cases which are not susceptable to DNA verification.
Eighteen Northeastern Ohio inmates who are currently seeking DNA testing.We will no doubt be hearing about than one of them in future Innocence Project reports. This case (just in today)is defnitely among the most interesting.Captain Douglas Prade of the Akron Police Force was convicted ten years ago of his wife's murder.The forensic evidence consisted of a set of lower teeth marks which the State's forensic expert said were those of the defendant.However,the teeth marks had also torn the victim's coat and saliva drippings were found.DNA testing was applied.It absolved the defendant and his expert stated that the defendant was incapable of administering the bite wounds,but there were parallels.The jury convicted despite the evidence of an alibi witness that she had been with the defendant working out at at the gym during the entire period of the killing. There is also a somwhat blurred video tape of the murderer in the parking lot where the crime was committed.This, apparently, shows a much smaller and lighter person(possibly a woman) than Captain Prade. The prosecution successfully argued that appearances can be deceiving. Prade also passed a police polygraph test;but the prosecution relies on a penciled list (allegedly compiled some weeks before the shooting) which details how he could spend his wife's insurance money. During the last eight years Prade has repeatedly appealed to have advanced forensic tests applied to the parking lot tape and the DNA specimens.It is hoped that the current state of DNA science will identify Mrs.Prade's real killer. He lost again yesterday on the grounds that,if acccepted,the DNA evidence as analyzed ten years ago,already proved that he was innocent.The jury didn't buy it then so the court doesn't have to accept it as conclusive now.The teeth marks pointed one way,the DNA another.The jury took the bets and made its choice. If accepted as precedent,this Ohio decision could preclude all further re-litigation of convictions obtained in the full face of favorable ,(even seemingly conclusive)forensic evidence. The court would not appear to have addressed the further issue that the DNA could, at the present time,not only exclude Prade but truly identify a third party. The Innocence Project has nearly fifty cases on its Ohio platter,but sooner or later the country is likely to be hearing more about this one. February 18, 2009 UPDATED: 1:20 pm EST February 18, 2009
AKRON, Ohio -- The 9th District Court of Appeals has denied a convicted killer's renewed application for post-conviction DNA testing.
Douglas Prade was found guilty in 1998 of the aggravated murder of his ex-wife, Dr. Margo Prade. He was sentenced to life in prison.
Prade had appealed twice before to have new DNA testing done, but in a decision issued Wednesday, the court said he was ineligible for post-conviction DNA testing in part because definitive DNA testing had already been conducted.
Court records show Prade had DNA exclusion evidence submitted at the time of the trial, but the jury convicted him despite those results.
Prade's attorneys argued that new methods in DNA testing could identify the perpetrator of Prade's murder.
The court upheld its decision because it said prior testing excluded Prade as the source of DNA evidence retrieved at the time of the crime, but other evidence at his trial supported his conviction.
The court also said Prade received a prior definitive test based on the same biological evidence he plans to resubmit.