CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A Cleveland man tells Cleveland 19 that he served four months in jail for a crime he didn't commit.
Michael Artis was arrested on Sept. 11, 2015 on a charge of aggravated robbery. He was accused of robbing a victim on Aug. 24 in the 1600 block of Lincoln Avenue in Lakewood.
According to court documents, the victim was walking just after midnight on Aug. 24, when a man grabbed him from behind and another "put
a knife against his torso and said, 'give me what's in your pockets.'"
The two men allegedly gave the victim back his empty wallet and debit card. The items returned to the alleged victim were later checked for DNA.
Documents stated the victim picked Artis out of a photo lineup as one of the men who attacked him, and Lakewood Police arrested him, charged him and put him in jail.
"It was just awful jail was not the place to be," said Artis.
He was arrested at his work, and told Cleveland 19 he initially thought the whole thing was a joke. When he said he realized it wasn't a joke, he said, he cooperated with the police and freely gave his DNA to investigators.
"I knew I was innocent," said Artis.
He called a friend and mentor, who in turn called in attorney Susan Moran.
"He had always maintained that he was on the bus at the time that this occurred," said Moran.
Artis has an extensive juvenile criminal record, but court records asking for the dismissal of charges against Artis in this case stated that the 24-year-old's DNA wasn't found on the victim's belongings.
The petition also said that crucial RTA video from the night of the crime, that Moran said would have proved Artis was on a bus at the time of the crime, was deleted.
The petition for dismissal was gr anted, meaning the charges were dismissed 123 days after Artis was arrested.
"I never really believed that this case was going to get dismissed and I prepared everybody this case is going to trial, put your head in the game, don't
expect miracles, and we got one," said Moran. "You need to hear about when people are wrongly accused because I think human nature is you want to think that the system works and you want to think that if a person is indicted he is guilty and you want to see a person brought to trial who they have solid evidence against and it's nice to see the prosecutor's office taking a step back and evaluate and say you know what we may have gotten it wrong."
The prosecutor's office said they can confirm that the charges were dismissed, but would not say why. A representative also said that no one else has been charged with the crime.
When Cleveland 19 asked Moran and Artis about a possible civil suit, Moran said they haven't had a conversation about that.
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