Court: Ohio man with dismissed charges can't get state funds

AP News
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Posted: Aug 26, 2015 4:04 PM

CLEVELAND (AP) — A man whose murder conviction was overturned and whose criminal record was expunged is not eligible to receive money from a state fund for the wrongfully imprisoned because prosecutors could retry his case someday, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

In a 5-1 ruling, the justices noted there's no statute of limitations for murder.

The ruling identifies the man only as C.K. because of an order that sealed records in the case. A Cuyahoga County judge sentenced him in 2010 to 18 years in prison for shooting Andre Coleman. C.K. shot Coleman multiple times after Coleman broke into C.K.'s Cleveland home in September 2009 and began beating a woman after what witnesses said was an all-night crack cocaine binge.

A jury convicted C.K. despite his attorney's arguments that C.K. had the right to shoot Coleman under Ohio's Castle Doctrine of self-defense, which says a person has a right to defend himself or someone else from harm in his own home or car.

The 8th District Court of Appeals agreed, saying the jury had lost its way when it convicted C.K. and ordered a new trial. The Ohio Supreme Court refused to consider an appeal of that ruling by Cuyahoga County prosecutors, who dismissed C.K.'s charges in early 2012 but left open the possibility he could be tried again.

The same judge who presided over C.K.'s trial granted his motion to seal court records about the case. But a request by C.K. that he be compensated by the state for his wrongful imprisonment was rejected. The 8th District overturned that decision, saying there was no indication that he would be retried. That led to another appeal by prosecutors and Wednesday's Supreme Court ruling.

It's unclear how long C.K. spent in prison. Those state records also have been sealed.

William Eadie, one of C.K.'s attorneys, said Wednesday that he was disappointed with the Supreme Court ruling.

"It would have been an important vindication for him," Eadie said.

A spokesman for the Cuyahoga County prosecutor's office said he could not comment on the ruling because of the expungement.