14th Victory for OIP
OIP staff attorney Carrie Wood and UC third-year students Ryan McGraw, Zach El-Sawaf, Lindsey Fleissner and Megan Collard walked long-time OIP client David Ayers out of prison on Monday, September 12 in Cleveland, OH free and clear of all charges. Ayers served 11 years for a murder DNA evidence proved he didn't commit. Recent OIP exonerees Raymond Towler and Robert McClendon were on hand to welcome Ayers and provide him with emotional support and advice.
Many years ago the OIP filed for DNA testing in Ayers' case. The trial court denied the request; however former staff attorney David Laing was successful in getting the Eighth District Court of Appeals to reverse that ruling and order testing. Meanwhile, as the case was going to testing, the Cleveland Public Defenders were able to get Ayers' conviction overturned on constitutional grounds in federal court. The prosecutors then said they were going to re-try Ayers; however, so Ayers remained in jail awaiting his retrial. In the meantime, OIP’s DNA results came back and demonstrated Ayers' innocence.
Ayers is the 14th person released on grounds of innocence as a result of the OIP's efforts since its founding in 2003. Two additional clients, Bryant Gaines and Glen Tinney, have had their convictions overturned in 2011 but are still in prison as a result of prosecutors' appeals of OIP’s lower court victories.
Congratulations to Carrie Wood on a job very well done. UC Law students who worked on the case through the years include Andrew Brenner (who wrote the DNA brief years ago), Jimmy Harrison, Levi Daly, Ryan McGraw, Julie Kathman, Aisha Monem, Jonathan Norman, Elizabeth Zilberberg and Joshua Ward, among others.
Video footage of Ayers’ emotional release: Ayers' Video