Columbus Will Pay Ohio Innocence Project For Witholding Public Records

Wrongful Convictions Blog

Click to read the original article and listen to the WOSU interview

The city of Columbus and a group that works to free wrongly convicted people ended a years-long fight this week.

The city will pay $19,000 dollars for legal expenses incurred by the Ohio Innocence Project, which is based out of the University of Cincinnati school of law. Columbus will also pay the Ohio Innocence Project $1,000 in damages for illegally withholding public records.

Attorney Donald Caster, a clinical professor of law at the University of Cincinnati who works for the Project, explained in an interview with WOSU how the case unfolded and what it means for transparency in the state.

The below is an automated transcript. Please excuse minor typos and errors.

Sam Hendren: When did the Ohio Innocence Project first encounter resistance from the city of Columbus to public records requests?

Donald Caster: We’ve been encountering resistance from Columbus…

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Extraordinary new investigation into fate of D.B.Cooper

45 years after legendary outlaw skyjacker D.B. Cooper disappeared from a plane, believed to have survived and headed off into the sunset with a pretty haul of cash, the iconic mystery involving his fate is back in the spotlight. Could the case — what happened to Cooper? What happened to the money? — be solvable? A powerhouse investigative team that includes FBI experts set about cracking this sizzling cold case. This mystery has always intrigued me as it has so many so I will be reading “The Master Outlaw” by (okay, I’m biased, my pal) reporter Tom Szollosi and Thomas J. Colbert and hanging on every word. Better still, the book is a companion piece to a new History Channel documentary, airing Sunday July 10 and Monday July 11. “The Last Master Outlaw” has been called “spellbinding” and “jaw-dropping” by veteran L.A. news anchor Sylvia Lopez. It’s available for order, Friday July 8. http://tinyurl.com/jz449m7

 

Countdown: Enter Goodreads Giveaway for Chance to Win Copy of “Lethal Intent”

Time is running out on this Goodreads Giveaway! Goodreads  members (and membership is free) — enter by 11.59 p.m. March 9 for the chance to win LETHAL INTENT, the definitive biography of executed serial killer Aileen Wuornos. Had she lived, this Leap Year baby would have turned 60 on February 29. Instead, after a decade on Florida’s Death Row, she was executed in 2002.

She was both victim and victimizer. She killed 6 men; all strangers and a seventh victim. She confessed to killing him but in a drunken state and could not recall where she left him. His remains have never been found.

Best-selling author John Douglas, a former FBI Special Agent and one of the first criminal profilers, calls the book: “Shocking, sad, revealing, and deeply researched, this true account of the life and crimes of serial killer Aileen Wuornos will fascinate true-crime fans.”   https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/173286-lethal-intent

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The Michigan house where Aileen spent her early childhood years.

Leap Year Baby Aileen Wuornos Would Have Turned 60 This Month. Enter Goodreads Giveaway for Chance to Win Autographed Copy of “Lethal Intent”.

AWonBikeHard to believe that had she lived, executed female serial killer Aileen Wuornos — a Leap Year baby — would have turned turn 60 on February 29, 2016.

This truly rare murderer spent a decade on Florida’s Death Row before her 2002 execution. She killed 6 men; all strangers. Another victim’s remains were, by her own account, still out in the woods. She could not recall the location. To this day, they have not been discovered.

Best-selling author John Douglas, a former FBI Special Agent and original criminal profiler, calls Lethal Intent “Shocking, sad, revealing, and deeply researched, this true account of the life and crimes of serial killer Aileen Wuornos will fascinate true-crime fans.” Listed on Business Insider’s “11 True Crime Books you should read if you’re obsessed with Serial,” It takes readers deep inside Wuornos’s life and crimes.

Was Wuornos a cold-blooded killer? A victim? A robber who killed to avoid capture? If you haven’t yet read the book, you decide. (2013 updated edition.) Visit Goodreads (Lethal Intent link at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18759543-lethal-intent) to enter or Sue’s Lethal Intent webpage. Goodreads is free to join.
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http://www.suerussellwrites.com/lethal.html

In which I’m pleasantly surprised that we’re again noticing incarceration is still violence.

Rebel With A Bar Card picks up on a theme dear to my heart — the way we treat incarcerated youth will revisit us down the road, so we’d better be paying attention. The idea should be to give us a safer future, not a more perilous one, and to redeem youngsters whenever and wherever possible during “formative years.”
In which I’m pleasantly surprised that we’re again noticing incarceration is still violence.
August 5, 2014Prison Industrial ComplexCarcerality, Crime and punishment, Criminal justice, Dehumanization, Empathy, Injustice, Prison Industrial Complex, Violence

[[Content Note: Carcerality, violence, both in this post and at the link.]]

A US Attorney in Manhattan has released the results of an inquiry into civil rights violations against teenagers at Riker’s Island. The report concludes that the guards at Rikers engaged in regular, routine and violent abuse of teenage inmates.

Rebel With a Bar Card

[[Content Note: Carcerality, violence, both in this post and at the link.]]

A US Attorney in Manhattan has released the results of an inquiry into civil rights violations against teenagers at Riker’s Island. The report concludes that the guards at Rikers engaged in regular, routine and violent abuse of teenage inmates.

I was struck by this quote in particular:

“For adolescent inmates, Rikers Island is broken,” Mr. Bharara said at a news conference announcing the findings. “It is a place where brute force is the first impulse rather than the last resort, a place where verbal insults are repaid with physical injuries, where beatings are routine, while accountability is rare.”

I imagine that accountability will be the byword for addressing the horrendous actions cataloged in the report, but accountability is only half the story.  I find it incredibly frustrating that the other half will be almost entirely ignored.

Accountability is…

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Get To Know Acclaimed Court Artist Bill Robles Whose Work Is A Standout in “The Illustrated Courtroom: 50 Years of Court Art”, My Book with Artist/Co-author Elizabeth Williams

manson guilty nixon declaresWitness to History When No Cameras Allowed: Artist Bill Robles has built a career on drawing courtroom dramas and bringing them to life. As KCRW writes, “Bill Robles has the mellifluous baritone of a broadcaster, but he’s made a living for over 40 years with his eyes — and his hands.” See some of his spectacular work in this article and related interview here: http://blogs.kcrw.com/whichwayla/2015/02/no-cameras-allowed-artist-bill-robles-makes-a-career-drawing-courtroom-dramas. And please see the eBook and print book versions available via http://www.amazon.com/The-Illustrated-Courtroom-Years-Court-ebook/dp/B00JMV2ZVU  Thanks for your support of these great artists.

12 Years Today Since Aileen Wuornos Was Executed in Florida

Twelve years after her execution, Aileen Wuornos — who confessed to killing seven men in Florida, where she was convicted of six murders — is still a hot topic with followers of crime stories, true crime television shows and books (like my own, LETHAL INTENT.) Aileen wanted to “be like Bonnie and Clyde” and looking back I’d have to say she has surpassed that and achieved her very own lasting notoriety.

There were only 106 volunteers for execution in the United States between 1973 and 2003 and in 2002, Aileen was one of them. For the December 2013 edition of LETHAL INTENT (paperback, eBook, Audible), I interviewed forensic psychiatrists and criminal justice experts about what might have spurred her to make that rare and final decision. Their thoughts are fascinating. (Check the book’s new section!)

Aileen’s last mystifying words were that she would be back, “like ‘Independence Day,’ with Jesus – June sixth – like the movie – big mother ship and all. I’ll be back.” Did she really think that? Who knows? Her pre-execution mental state concerned many, but suggestions that she was “crazy” irritated her no end. Ultimately, those who tried to halt her execution against her wishes were forced to stand aside while she was put to death.

October 9, 2002, was a solemn day and felt strange and disturbing.

Aileen was a victim but also a victimizer. Today she receives more empathy and compassion than any other serial killer I can bring to mind. Can you think of another? Male or female?

I’d like to discuss Aileen with folk interested in proof and evidence. If I’m honest, I’ve grown a little weary of those who don’t accept that Hollywood movies are fiction, either inspired by, or loosely based on, fact. The evidence at the first murder for which Aileen was convicted did NOT show what folk say so often — that she killed to save her own life during a brutal rape. Her victim was first shot while fully dressed, sitting behind the wheel of his car. They can’t both be true.

Aileen also carried Windex with her to remove fingerprints on what she called her “killing days.” Her stories changed many times but the physical evidence (and Aileen’s original confessions) are in accord. She was a robber who killed to avoid leaving witnesses and who carefully concealed her crimes.

I believe that she robbed and killed while desperately trying to keep her girlfriend Tyria from abandoning her. As someone with Borderline Personality Disorder, abandonment was Aileen’s greatest fear.

She had a tragic life full of isolation, rejection and abuse. But we can’t talk about her honestly or realistically unless we also accept that she took seven lives. Funny thing is, I sometimes think that Aileen was better able to accept what she did — she wept with guilt over it many times — than are many of her fans. I felt and feel empathy for Aileen but can’t forget she took seven lives.

R.I.P. Aileen.Lethal Intent 2013