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Anthony Lemons

Other Ohio Cases with Perjury or False Accusations
On April 14, 1994, the body of 39-year-old Eric Sims, a reputed drug dealer, was found in his apartment in Cleveland, Ohio. He had been shot multiple times and police believed he had been dead for several days.

In the spring of 1995, two anonymous telephone callers reported to police that a woman named Jude Adamcik had said that she was in the apartment at the time of the murder and that the gunman killed Sims in a drug deal dispute, then shot at her as well and fled.

Police questioned Adamcik and she was unable to identify the gunman. Police then showed her a photographic lineup with pictures of men who had been convicted of drug and gun crimes. Adamcik did not identify anyone in the lineup. Among the photographs in the lineup was a picture of 20-year-old Anthony Lemons. Despite Adamcik’s failure to identify him as the gunman, police focused their investigation on Lemons.

Lemons voluntarily came to the police station and stood in an in-person lineup. This time Adamcik did identify him as the gunman.

Lemons was charged with first-degree murder for killing Sims and attempted murder for shooting at Adamcik.

Lemons went to trial in Cuyahoga County Court of Common pleas in October 1995. Adamcik identified Lemons at trial and said she recalled that he was wearing a particular brand of shoe at the time of the crime.

On October 11, 1995, a jury convicted Lemons of murder and attempted murder. He was sentenced to 21 years to life in prison.

Lemons appealed his convictions, but lost. He was denied parole repeatedly because he refused to admit he was guilty. In 2009, attorneys David Malik and Kevin Spellacy filed a motion for a new trial, claiming that the prosecution had failed to disclose critical evidence of Lemons’ innocence.

The evidence included police reports showing that the shoes that Adamcik said Lemons was wearing at the time of the crime were not manufactured or sold until months after the murder. Moreover, the police had failed to disclose that Adamcik had not identified Lemons when she looked at the photographic lineup that contained Lemons’ photograph.

The motion also revealed the prosecution had failed to disclose to Lemons’ defense attorney that a 12-year-old girl who lived in the building where Sims was shot had told police that she heard gunshots and then saw two men leaving Sims’s apartment. The girl described both men, and neither description matched the description of Lemons.

In December 2012, Lemons was released on parole. A year later, in December 2013, Court of Common Pleas Judge Janet Burnside granted Lemons’ motion for a new trial because of the prosecution’s failure to disclose exculpatory evidence 19 years earlier.

Burnside ordered the case be retried in October 2014. Prior to trial, the prosecution filed a motion for permission to present Adamcik’s testimony from Lemons’ 1995 trial in evidence at the retrial because in the intervening years Adamcik had died. Judge Burnside denied that motion, and the trial was postponed because the prosecution said it would appeal Burnside’s ruling.

In December 2014, the prosecution dismissed its appeal and informed Judge Burnside that it would dismiss the charges against Lemon, but wished to reserve the right to refile the charges if new evidence was discovered.

Judge Burnside refused to grant the prosecution motion and scheduled the case for trial for December 23, 2014. A few days later, Lemons filed a lawsuit against the city of Cleveland and the Cleveland police department seeking damages for his wrongful conviction.

On December 23, 2014, Judge Burnside called the case for trial and when the prosecution presented no evidence, the judge acquitted Lemons.

A trial court judge ruled against Lemons in his compensation lawsuit, but in July 2017, an appeals court ruled Lemons was wrongfully convicted. In October 2019, Court of Common Pleas Judge Daniel Gaul declared Lemons wrongly convicted. In 2021, Lemons was awarded $491,000 in compensation for his wrongful imprisonment. In November 2021, Lemons was awarded an additional $1.8 million based on a 2018 amendment to the compensation statute which broadened the definition of wrongful conviction to apply to anyone convicted amid improperly withheld evidence.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 12/30/2014
Last Updated: 11/22/2021
Most Serious Crime:Murder
Additional Convictions:Attempted Murder
Reported Crime Date:1994
Sentence:21 to life
Age at the date of reported crime:19
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No