Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Court of Claims: Exonerated Murder Suspect Granted $1 Million for Wrongful Imprisonment

Ricky Jackson v. State of Ohio, Case. No. 2015-00127

A Cleveland man falsely imprisoned for 39 years will initially receive just more than $1 million from the state for his time behind bars, the Ohio Court of Claims ruled Thursday.

The court granted partial judgment to Ricky Jackson, 59, for the 14,178 days he spent in prison for a murder he did not commit. The Court of Claims filed a request with the State Controlling Board to transfer $1,008,055.80 to pay Jackson.

Jackson had his death sentence overturned and was released from an Ohio state prison in November 2014 after the key witness in the case against him recanted his story. Jackson was convicted of the 1975 murder of Harold Franks and maintained his innocence throughout his incarceration. Eddie Vernon, who was 12 at the time of the murder, revealed to a Cleveland newspaper in 2012 that he had lied about Jackson and two other men’s involvement in the murder because he wanted to help the police. His remarks led to Jackson receiving a new trial.

On February 12, a Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court ruled that Jackson established he was wrongfully imprisoned, and Cuyahoga County Prosecuting Attorney Timothy McGinty did not appeal the ruling.

Jackson then presented the appropriate certification to the Court of Claims on Feb. 20. Court of Claims Judge Patrick M. McGrath ruled that pursuant to R.C. 2743.49 the state auditor’s office calculated the current annual rate of compensation for a wrongfully imprisoned person is $51,902. During a status conference Wednesday, Judge McGrath said the state and Jackson’s attorney Michele L. Berry, verified the number of days wrongfully incarcerated at 14,178.

Judge McGrath then issued a preliminary judgment that calls for the payment of 50 percent of the calculated damages, which amounted to just more than $1 million, and directed the money be sent to Berry to establish an annuity account to pay Jackson for “damages for physical injury caused by wrongful imprisonment.”

According to the National Registry of Exonerations, at the time of his release Jackson was considered the longest-serving person in the nation’s history to be exonerated for his crime.

The Court of Claims is given original jurisdiction to hear and determine all civil actions filed against the state of Ohio and its agencies.

To access information on other cases visit the Court of Claims website.

Please note: Opinion summaries are prepared by the Office of Public Information for the general public and news media. Opinion summaries are not prepared for every opinion, but only for noteworthy cases. Opinion summaries are not to be considered as official headnotes or syllabi of court opinions. The full text of this and other court opinions are available online.