Jerry McMeans
Case Details
June 4, 2001

I assure you right at the start that I AM COMPLETELY INNOCENT of any crime, but the courts refuse to allow me to prove this contention.

I met my present wife in mid 1978 while she was still married to and living with her ex-husband. At that time she had two children, a boy who was 1½ years old and a girl who was 2½ years old. The person that she was married to at the time refused to work and the family lived on welfare most of the time. In fact, on Thanksgiving day of 1978 the only food that she had in the house for the two children and herself was two cans of corn. That was the type of life that she and the two children were accustomed to living.

While she was still married to this sorry excuse for a man, she and I started dating. A few months later she left this man and she and the two children moved in with me and we began living together. She filed for divorce and as soon as her divorce became final we were married.

Almost immediately after we began living together Franklin County Children’s Services in Columbus Ohio, the city in which we lived, began receiving many ‘anonymous’ phone calls reporting child abuse in our home. Each and every call was duly investigated by that agency and absolutely no problems/abuse, etc. was ever discovered. The Children’s Service Investigator in fact stated to me on several occasions that this was a common method used by disgruntled individuals to hassle and annoy other people, and that it was evidently being used now by ex-husband.

Shortly after we started living together too, the ex-husband warned/threatened us that he would "get even with us." I didn't take his threat seriously because I felt that it was just a way for him to vent his anger at myself and his ex-wife. As far as I was concerned, the visits by case workers from Children’s Services after his 'anonymous' phone calls was no more than a nuisance. Because the children often visited with their father on weekends, I’d done all I could to maintain a cordial relationship with him, simply for the sake of the children.

Everything seemed to be going along on a fairly 'even keel' until one day in 1987. My stepchildren had been visiting their father on this particular weekend, and when they returned home something happened that should have alerted me to the potential for trouble.

On that day I was going to the grocery store to pick up a few needed items and my stepdaughter had went along with me. Prior to this day she had been talking about going to live with her father, where she felt that she would have greater freedom to run the streets and do as she wanted. 

On this day while we were in the car on the way to the store she made the remark that,
"I know how I can get to go live with my Dad." 
I asked, "How could you do that Wendy?" 
She replied, "All I have to do is tell Children’s Services that you have been touching me in the wrong places."

After I recovered from the initial shock I asked her, "Where did you ever get an idea like that?"
and her reply was, "My Dad told me."

At this time my stepdaughter was eleven years old, and she had been diagnosed as having a learning disability and being very easily led. I explained to her how serious such an accusation could be and the trouble it could cause, and she kind of laughed and said, "You know that I'd never do anything like that to you Daddy." We talked a little more about it, and I thought that she understood what the ramifications of such an accusation could be. However, later in that same year she did in fact make the allegation that I had not only touched her, but that I had raped her.

She of course got to go and live with her father as per their plan, and I got to go live in this hell for the past twelve long, lonely, terrible years.

In 1989 when I went to trial for these alleged rapes, an attorney was appointed to represent me. Although I was in jail and facing six (6) mandatory 'life' sentences, this Court Appointed attorney afforded me one (1) twenty to thirty minute consultation before my going to trial. His immediate and only advice to me was to urge me to accept a plea bargain of eight to fifteen years in prison for attempted rape.

Being innocent of any crime, I didn't consider that my going to prison could ever be any kind of a "bargain" and I of course rejected this ridiculous offer immediately.

I suggest, folks, that if one were to hire a lawyer to represent them on even something as insignificant as a jay walking ticket, that lawyer would spend more than thirty minutes preparing for trial. I further suggest that this Court Appointed attorney had no intention of defending me, and that the sole reason that he was even there with me was because the United States Supreme Court has held that a felony cannot be tried without the defendant being represented by counsel.

While the jury was being selected for my trial, one potential juror revealed that her daughter had been a victim of rape at one time. Immediately upon this revelation by the juror I requested that my attorney use a peremptory challenge and remove her from the jury. He refused to do so, saying instead, "She'll be ok."

Another potential juror revealed that his daughter had been a murder victim and that he was acquainted with and had worked with the Franklin County Prosecutor. I requested that my lawyer strike this man from the jury also, but got the same response as with the other juror and he was left on the jury. The attorney in fact refused to strike any jurors, and I was left with a jury that had every potential for being partial and biased. I of course was convicted of five (5) counts of rape and sentenced to five (5) 'life' sentences.

Approximately two or three years after being incarcerated I was able to get my hands on all of the papers/documents that my trial attorney had pertaining to my trial. Among these documents was a "Voir Dire" sheet. Under the name of the woman whose daughter had been a rape victim, Jacqueline J. Hunt, the attorney had noted "cant be objective" [See Attorney Notes].

Based on the fact that this attorney had made the professional determination that juror Hunt "cant be objective" yet still refused to remove her from the jury with an available, unused peremptory challenge, I suggest that its extremely clear who the attorney was in fact working for. It clearly wasn't me. 

An attorney was appointed to perfect an appeal on my behalf, and shortly thereafter my conviction was affirmed by the Tenth District Court of Appeals for Franklin County Ohio. In a pro se capacity I then filed a "Memorandum In Support Of Jurisdiction" in the Ohio State Supreme Court, but that court relied on their standard response and held that I had not presented a "Substantial Constitutional Question" and dismissed my appeal without opinion.

In October 1991, acting in a pro se capacity I filed a 28 U.S.C. §2254 Petition For A Writ Of Habeas Corpus in U.S. District Court, Southern Division at Cincinnati Ohio. In February 1992, while my petition for habeas relief was pending in U.S. District Court, the Ohio State Supreme Court established a remedy to be utilized by an appellant who wished to claim "Ineffective Assistance of Appellate Counsel" in the State Courts. (See State v. Murnahan, (1992) 63 Ohio St. 3d 60)'.

Based on the holding in Murnahan I filed a "Motion To Withdraw" my habeas petition from the Federal Court so I could return to State Court and ensure that all issues that I presented for federal review were properly exhausted in the State Courts. The U.S. District Court granted my "Motion To Withdraw" while agreeing that I should return to State Court to properly exhaust all issues.

In September 1992, still acting in a pro se capacity I filed a Murnahan brief claiming that appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to raise three particular issues on direct appeal:

(1) "Ineffective Trial Counsel." Trial counsel had refused my request that he strike a lady from the jury who admitted on voir dire that her daughter had been a rape victim, and who counsel had determined 
"can’t be objective." Trial counsel also permitted a man to remain on the jury who admitted that he knew the prosecutor and whose daughter had been a murder victim.

(2) Brady claim. The prosecution was aware that my stepdaughter had made rape accusations against several other adult males prior to my trial, but withheld this valuable and crucial impeachment evidence until it was completely useless to the defense.

(3) A confrontation violation. The trial court refused to permit any cross-examination whatsoever concerning these other rape reports made by my step daughter against others, and thus, the jury went to deliberate my fate never knowing that my accuser had an unnatural proclivity to make rape accusations at will for the sole purpose of manipulating people around her and getting her own way.

The above issues were all presented in full compliance with State Court Rules and were supported almost exclusively with federal and/or U.S. Supreme Court case law. However, when I presented them for federal review via another §2254 habeas petition, the federal court somehow found that they were not "Fairly Presented" to the State Courts and were therefore procedurally defaulted for federal review, (See McMeans v. Brigano, (2000) 228 F. 3d 674).

I have absolutely no idea whatsoever how they reached the "Not Fairly Presented" conclusion, but the holdings in my case seem to be full of puzzles from beginning to end.

In 1995 I was able to obtain an affidavit from juror Jacqueline J. Hunt. Immediately after obtaining this affidavit I filed a pro se "Motion For A New Trial" based on newly discovered evidence (See affidavit).

The State Court found my claim of juror bias to be res judicata because I knew at trial that juror Hunt "might be biased" against me and the issue therefore should have been raised on direct appeal. The state claims that my trail attorney waived the recording of the voir dire portion of my trial, so I, of course had no way to substantiate a claim of juror bias on direct appeal. Not until I obtained the affidavit from juror Hunt could I support such a claim.

Although Ms. Hunt admitted on voir dire that her daughter had been a rape victim, without the voir dire transcript I could not support a juror bias claim and the court would have ruled that any such claim was speculative/conclusory.

Based on their ruling of res judicata on my "New Trial" motion, the State Courts have never considered Juror Hunt s affidavit.

I raised the 'biased juror' issue again in my federal habeas petition in 1997 but the federal courts also totally ignored juror Hunt's affidavit. This important affidavit has never been considered by any court, despite its being made a part of the record. I claimed in federal court that I was entitled to an evidentiary hearing to prove juror bias but that court disagreed. (See Remmer v. United States 347 U.S. 227; and Smith v. Phillips, 455 U.S. 209)

When a question of juror partiality is raised, a determination on that question "may properly be made" Phillips 455 U.S. at 217, at a post trial hearing "with all interested parties permitted to participate" Remmer, Such a hearing gives a defendant "the opportunity to prove bias" Phillips 455 U.S. 209.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati found that the only way that I would be entitled to an evidentiary hearing was if I could prove that there was a potential for bias, and that since my trial attorney had waived the recording of the voir dire, I could not prove potentaial bias, (See McMeans v. Brigano supra at 686).

This again completely ignores the affidavit of juror Hunt that was used in support of my juror bias issue. After being denied relief by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit I filed a "Motion For En Banc Hearing" but that was denied without comment. I then petitioned the United States Supreme Court for relief, which was also denied.

I have all of the trial transcripts from my trial and I have copies of all briefs filed in my case from its inception, including the briefs filed by the state in opposition. These documents can be readily made available to you if you find that my case if worthy of review.

I again assure you that I am absolutely not guilty of any crime and there is absolutely no evidence, other than the unsubstantiated word of my step daughter, who is known to have a proclivity for making false rape accusations. There is no forensic evidence for testing because no crime was ever committed.

I am now sixty six years old, have been incarcerated for twelve years for crimes that were never committed by anybody, and I will probably die in jail even though I'm innocent. 

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