CSU law students help former inmates get new start


MAPLE HEIGHTS, Ohio (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-Team found some local law students helping two men who spent decades in prison before getting cleared of crimes.

But, this had nothing to do with old cases and everything to do with new starts.

Saturday, Cleveland State University law students joined volunteers including some from Lorain County Community College.

They braved some nasty weather to dig up, rake up, and bag up weeds, dead bushes and more outside a home in Maple Heights, a place for former inmates beginning a new life with help from the Ohio Innocence Project.

They call it the Exoneree Home.

Charles Jackson did nearly 3 decades in prison for murder. He kept fighting to prove he didn’t do it. He won a new trial, and then he saw charges against him dropped.

He reacted to the volunteers by saying, “It’s great. It makes the house so pretty. Like a home. We appreciate them coming by.”

Kelly McLaughlin of X-Freedom Housing Group said, “Every person here is just giving of their time and energy to try to bring awareness of wrongful convictions and try to be good to their fellow man.”

Also staying at that house is Isaiah Andrews. He did more than 4 decades in prison convicted of killing his wife. But, he was granted a new trial, too. And, weeks ago, a jury found him not guilty.

Charles Jackson told us the secret of moving forward without being bitter after doing so much hard time in cases like these.

Jackson said looking back is “wasted energy.” He said it “makes you old fast.”

And visits, from volunteers like the group this weekend, show getting a new start comes with getting a little extra help from strangers.

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