Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law

OSJCL Amici Board of Advisors

OSJCL Amici: Views from the Field

Innocent inmate wants out, but forced to wait a few days

After serving 25 years for a crime that he did not commit, Joseph R. Fears, Jr. is getting a second chance at life outside the prison. Two tickets to the Arnold Sports Festival were waiting for Fears yesterday, but he will have to wait a few more days to enjoy his weekends and, more important, his freedom. Fears, 61, was convicted in 1984 of two Columbus rapes but was proved innocent by DNA testing and was expected to be released from the Ross Correctional Institution yesterday. However, Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Charles Schneider said that he is unable to release Fears without a personal appearance in court, and Tuesday morning is the earliest he could schedule hearing. Attorneys involved in the case also were concerned about Fears' well-being if he were released without a short-term plan for life on the outside, and plans are being made accordingly.



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