CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - On Tuesday, Charles Jackson walked out of prison a free man after 27 years behind bars for a crime he says he did not commit. A judge ruled there’s enough questionable evidence that the case will need to go back to trial. Prosecutors have not said whether they will opt to do that.
Jackson received help on his case from the Innocence Project, which works to free people from prison who have been wrongly convicted. We did some digging, and we found several cases of wrongful conviction in Cuyahoga County alone.
In 2010, new evidence showed Raymond Towler had spent 29 years in prison for rape and kidnapping, despite being innocent of the crime.
In 2011, David Ayers was released after serving 11 years behind bars. A DNA test proved he was not at the crime scene.
In 2014, Rickey Jackson gout out of prison after serving nearly 40 years, including a stint on death row. New evidence showed the conviction was wrongful, and he was later awarded compensation. His long sentence made him, at the time, the longest-serving, wrongfully-convicted person in America.
Earlier this year, Ru-El Sailor was released after serving 15 years in prison. New evidence proved him innocent, too.
The Innocence Project showed that’s why they’re here, to make sure that this miscarriage of justice does not continue. Mallorie Thomas, who worked to free Charles Jackson, told Cleveland 19 News a lot of people in prison are guilty - but there are exceptions.
“It’s less common that you come across someone who is truly innocent,” said Thomas. “It is exhausting and it’s frustrating, but if we weren’t here for them, they wouldn’t have a voice. All the frustration and everything, it makes it worth it, you know, just for them to have their day in court.”