It’s been two years since Anthony Lemons was released from an Ohio prison after a judge in a Cuyahoga Common Pleas Court set him free. He had spent the last 18 years in prison for the murder of a man back in April 1994.
While Lemons thought his troubles were finally over, another judge still believes that he is guilty. He is waiting for the Ohio attorney general’s office to respond to his appeal, as is the Ohio 8th District Court of Appeals. His criminal history still shows a conviction for murder and since the case is not closed, he cannot collect the compensation the state owes him for the 18 years he spent in prison. “It’s an injustice. I’ve been exonerated already, how am I not innocent? It doesn’t make any sense to me, ” Lemons said.
Ohio law allows those who have been vindicated to get a certificate that finds them innocent. Once he has that certificate, he will be able to collect the half-million dollars he believes the state owes him. If he can’t get it, he’ll collect nothing.
There were only bullet casings for evidence at the 1994 murder scene on the East Side of Cleveland. Nine months passed without any new leads. A phone call led police to a witness, who picked Lemons out of two difference lineups. She said that the shoes he was wearing were the same ones that the man who shot the victim had on.
Lemons was released in 2012 on parole and asked for a new trial. He was able to prove that the shoes he was wearing in the photo lineup weren’t even made when the crime was committed. The witness had passed away in 1996. The prosecutor dropped the charges; however, he must present his case again to a different judge. This civil proceeding requires Lemons to prove he is innocent, unlike his criminal trial, which forced prosecutors to prove his guilt.
When Lemons appealed the decision because he believed the judge had made errors, he learned that the attorney general’s office has until Oct. 11 to respond to it.
It’s important for anyone facing a criminal charge to remember that it is possible to be found not guilty. Your defense strategy is important, so your criminal defense attorney should begin working with you as soon as possible.
Source: cleveland.com, “Not guilty, not innocent: now out of prison, Anthony Lemons still fights his murder conviction,” John Harper, Oct. 05, 2016