20 South Court Street, Athens, Ohio 45701

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The Center for Law, Justice & Culture, the Ohio Innocence Project (OIP), and the Office of the Ohio Public Defender will deliver a special presentation on Tuesday, April 4, at 7 p.m. in the Athena Cinema.


“Someone Finally Believed in Me: The Wrongful Convictions of Kenny Phillips and Michael Sutton” features Ohio Innocence Project Policy and Engagement Director Pierce Reed and Director of the Wrongful Conviction Project at the Office of the Ohio Public Defender Joanna Sanchez. This event is sponsored by the Center for Law, Justice, & Culture, Ohio Innocence Project, Office of the Ohio Public Defender, Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity, ACLU of Ohio University, and OIP-u.


Phillips and Sutton were falsely accused of attempted murder, felonious assault, attempted felonious assault, inducing panic, and failure to comply in a highway shooting in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Despite a lack of conclusive scientific evidence, reliable eyewitness accounts, and a motive, both men were convicted and sentenced to 92 years and 46 years and six months in prison respectively.


Phillips and Sutton successfully appealed their cases for retrial in 2021 and were represented by attorneys Justin Herdman and Diane Menashe of The Ohio Innocence Project and the Wrongful Conviction Project. Both men were acquitted as new evidence was brought to light that cast doubt on the credibility of the arresting officers' statements and gunshot residue on Phillip’s hand.

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