Prosecutors want option to retry 3 men freed after 20 years

AP News
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Posted: Feb 07, 2017 11:38 AM

CLEVELAND (AP) — A Cleveland-area judge is considering whether prosecutors should have the option to retry three men who spent 20 years in prison before their convictions for a 1995 murder were overturned last year.

Lawyers for the three East Cleveland men want a Cuyahoga (ky-uh-HOH'-guh) County judge to dismiss the case with prejudice, meaning they couldn't face new charges in the same killing, Cleveland.com (http://bit.ly/2khsl3K) reported. The attorneys argued that prosecutors withheld evidence that could have exonerated the men, violating their right to a fair trial.

The lawyers uncovered a 1996 letter that then-assistant prosecutor Carmen Marino sent to East Cleveland police instructing them not to provide the police reports containing the defendants' statements to their representatives.

Prosecutors haven't indicated plans for new charges against the men anytime soon, but say they can't rule out that possibility.

Judge Nancy Margaret Russo took the arguments under advisement and made no decision on Monday. She's expected to issue a written ruling later.

Russo ordered a new trial for the men in 2015 after the Ohio Innocence Project found that evidence was suppressed at their initial trial. The Ohio 8th District Court of Appeals upheld Russo's decision to vacate the convictions last year.

Laurese Glover, Eugene Johnson and Derrick Wheatt were convicted as teenagers in the fatal shooting of 19-year-old Clifton Hudson. They denied killing him.

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Information from: cleveland.com, http://www.cleveland.com