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Cincinnati's Ohio Innocence Project receives the OSBF Outstanding Organization Award

Columbus, OH (Nov. 19, 2015)— The Ohio State Bar Foundation bestowed its Outstanding Organization Award to the University of Cincinnati College of Law Ohio Innocence Project at its November 13th Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner. 

In 2003, the Ohio Innocence Project was founded to exonerate the wrongfully convicted in Ohio, to reform the laws that hamper a fair and impartial judicial system and to educate the public about the issues of justice being delayed or denied.  By giving Ohio’s prison population access to post-conviction DNA testing and evidence that can conclusively prove a person’s innocence, OIP has already overturned 23 wrongful convictions. Funded entirely through private donations the project has as many as 20 law students working full time during the summer to screen requests and to select approximately six cases for further investigation.  During the school year, students continue to work on the cases part-time for class credit providing a free service to clients who are most often poor, forgotten, and adrift,  having used up all other legal avenues.  Mark Godsey, director of OIP, states that OIP does more than just free people from prison. “OIP’s focuses on the human error of the justice system, tries to correct those errors, and holds the system to be open and accountable to necessary changes.”

Clarence Elkins in 2005 may have been OIP’s first exoneration after being falsely convicted for a brutal rape and murder of his mother-in-law and the rape of his six-year-old niece, but he will be far from the last one receiving his freedom because of OIP’s good work.  The Ohio Innocence Project’s caseload is growing substantially as it relies on the idealism, energy, and intellect of dedicated students and faculty to right the wrongs even if the process is slow and arduous.  Its methodology and record of success has become the model for other innocence projects both here in the United States and in countries abroad.

About the Award 

The OSBF’s Outstanding Organization Award is bestowed annually on an organization that is effecting a change in the Ohio justice system.

About the Ohio State Bar Foundation

The Ohio State Bar Foundation is a 501(c) (3) public charity that works to advance the law and build a better justice system. Through our grants and programs, we educate and perform outreach to the public to make the law fair for all Ohioans. For more information about the Ohio State Bar Foundation, please visit www.osbf.net.

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