by Fred Luckett
|In 1979, I was wrongly convicted
of two (2) counts of rape, in which I received a sentence of 16-65 years;
and was forced to enter a plea of "no contest" to a third charge of rape
in exchange for no additional jail time; and to which I have maintained
my innocence to all counts.
During the trial of my case, the prosecutor emphatically argued that the same person committed each of the offenses. This argument extended to the third count in which I was forced to enter a plea of "no contest".
Twenty years later, DNA testing excluded me as a possible contributor of the sperm taken from one of the victims within hours of the rape, which was used as evidence at the trial.
Indeed, as a result of the DNA test, with the representation of the Ohio Public Defender's Office, a motion for a new trial and to withdraw my no contest plea was promptly filed in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas before Judge Burt W. Griffin, who is the same judge that presided over the trial of this case; and who was not only aware of the State's premise that the same person committed all of the charged offenses, but also gave like instructions to the jury.
Yet, while a trial judge is supposed to be a fair and impartial tribunal, this is a case in which "Lady Justice" was allowed to peek beneath her blindfold to first check the credentials of the litigant before a judicial determination was made.
Indeed, although the judge granted my motion for a new trial, and despite his awareness of the fact that the same perpetrator committed all of the charged offenses, this so-called fair and impartial tribunal deferred ruling on my request to withdraw my plea of no contest, having full knowledge that his failure to rule on that particular issue would deprive me of the opportunity to be released on bond, and that I would be promptly returned to prison.
Further, and despite the fact that DNA evidence has exonerated people across the country, the Cuyahoga County Assistant Prosecutor, Richard Bombik, has elected to prolong my tenure of incarceration by filing a frivolous appeal in the Eight District, of the trial court's decision to grant a new trial.
Having full knowledge that the contents of his brief is not only meritless and ludicrous, it is purely a vindictive and retaliatory motivation that is based upon my refusal to accept the "deal" offered by him, or any deal that fails to completely exonerate me of the charges that I have been wrongfully convicted of, and that will deprive me of the compensation that I am entitled to, for the twenty-two years that I have been wrongfully imprisoned.
As to my claim of discriminatory practices and the rich man/poor man dichotomy, a very distinct case reflective of such practices in Ohio is the "Icona" case. Indeed, this woman was convicted by a jury of killing her newborn baby; yet, the court had no reservation about providing her with an appeal bond that was within her family's financial means to post. To top it off, even after the Court of Appeals affirmed her conviction, she has yet to see the inside of a prison, or even to be given a prison number.; but has rather been allowed to remain in the county jail pending her appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court, which is certainly not a privilege afforded to Black and/or poor defendants, which clearly reflects two standards of justice.
Secondly, on January 17, 2001, USA Today printed an article headlined "DNA test frees Texas man in rape and murder case." Unlike my case, this case involves a situation in which the defendant made a detailed confession before being convicted ten years ago. Yet, the Texas Prosecutor's Office had the ethics and integrity to recognize the fact that the DNA test revealed that the defendant was wrongfully convicted, in which it immediately joined in the motion to release him.
Indeed, while my case is similar inasmuch as DNA testing has excluded me as the perpetrator of those offenses, my case is distinctly different in that I have maintained my innocence of the charged offenses, to which neither fact has been recognized by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office.
Not only has the State refused to accept the very same DNA test that it relies upon to secure convictions, but the assistant prosecutor has unethically attempted to change, before the Eight District Court of Appeals, the very nature of the argument and evidence that was used in my trial to secure my wrongful conviction.
Enough is enough. This is why I am
bringing these facts to the attention of the public, with sincere hopes
that it will generate enough public pressure to compel the Cuyahoga County
Prosecutor to cease and desist in their efforts to prevent justice from
prevailing in this manner.
views and opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily
those of the IIAO, however, wrongful conviction and
imprisonment are quite obvious.
©2001 IIAO Inc.