Cuyahoga County

Prosecutor moves to dismiss conviction because of police misconduct

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty and Assistant County Prosecutor Jose Torres, chief of the office’s Conviction Integrity Unit, in Judge Clancy’s courtroom today.

Cleveland – The 2013 drug trafficking conviction of Kenneth Blackshaw was overturned today on the recommendation of Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty because of misconduct by the East Cleveland Police officers who arrested the defendant.

Appearing before Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Maureen Clancy, Prosecutor McGinty and Assistant County Prosecutor Jose Torres moved to vacate the sentence and then to dismiss the case against Blackshaw.

“We have a duty to end the case,” Prosecutor McGinty said in court. “We have no case. Our officers, our witnesses were in the wrong. Our evidence is unusable, and we seek justice — which is the release of this individual.”

Judge Clancy ordered the defendant, who had been returned to Cuyahoga County yesterday from the Lake Erie Correctional Institution, to be released.

Assistant County Prosecutor Torres leads the Conviction Integrity Unit in the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office. The unit reviewed Blackshaw’s conviction after federal authorities last fall charged three East Cleveland officers with conspiracy, theft and making false statements.

The review determined that the actions of two of those charged by the Justice Department, Detectives Antonio Malone and Eric Jones, violated the defendant’s rights and undermined the credibility of the case. Among other things, they stole evidence, conducted an illegal search and altered official reports to conceal their wrongdoing.

“There was no integrity in this conviction,” said Assistant County Prosecutor Torres.

Prosecutor McGinty agreed and asked for the dismissal.

Blackshaw had entered a plea of guilty in 2013 to first-degree Drug Trafficking and been sentenced to five years in prison.

Prosecutor McGinty also has directed that charges be dismissed against two other defendants in cases involving the officers charged by the Justice Department.

Motions have been filed to overturn the convictions of Hosea Lock (Case No. 13-577760) and John Wallace (Case No. 12-566944). Both defendants have completed their community control sanctions, but these actions by the Prosecutor’s Office will erase the convictions from their records.

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