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Carl Doss

Other Ohio Exonerations
At 2:25 a.m. on September 17, 1993, Carl Doss was stopped for speeding on Interstate 90 in the village of Bratenahl, an affluent suburb on the east side of Cleveland. Doss had also been stopped for speeding by village police officers eight days earlier.

The police officers testified that during the first stop, Doss, then 33, had flashed a gold badge that said “Chief” and “O.I.P.B.” He told the officers that he was chief of police for a security business called Ohio Investigation Protection Bureau. He also told the officers that he was licensed to carry firearms, including the 9 mm he had in a shoulder holster. After the officers patted Doss down, they gave him a ticket and told him not to refer to himself as a chief or an officer.

During the second stop, one of the officers recognized Doss from the previous stop. Doss showed the badge on a chain around his neck. He said he was a detective and apologized for speeding. He told the officers he was on his way home. Doss was arrested and initially charged with obstruction of official business and carrying a concealed weapon. His car was impounded, and his security equipment was seized.
The initial stop and then the arrest came as the police were trying to catch a man who was impersonating an officer and robbing motorists on the interstate. Doss was initially a suspect, but he was later ruled out after his alibis excluded him.

Doss was indicted in February 1994, and his trial began a year later. Doss testified that when he was pulled over the second time, he had just come back from checking a report of vandalism at a Pizza Hut for one of his clients. He testified that he was licensed to operate a security business, and to carry appropriate weapons. He also said that he never identified himself as a police officer, merely as a detective.

A Cuyahoga County jury found Doss guilty on March 3, 1995 of carrying a concealed weapon and impersonating a police officer, but acquitted him on the charge of possession of criminal tools. He was sentenced to between four and ten years in prison on the first count, and five to ten years, suspended, on the second count.

Doss filed an appeal in 1995, and Ohio’s Eighth District Court of Appeals overturned the conviction on May 2, 1996, dismissing the charges and ordering Doss to be released from prison. The court said that Doss had not committed any crime. He was properly licensed to carry the gun. And when Doss told the Bratenahl officers he was a detective, that was the truth; he had never claimed to be a peace officer. In addition, the arresting officers testified that there was no confusion during the traffic stop. They knew Doss wasn’t a sworn officer. Instead, they surmised he flashed his badge in an attempt to avoid getting a second speeding ticket.

The court wrote that the “jury had clearly lost its way and created … a manifest miscarriage of justice.”

Doss was released from prison on May 28, 1996. After his release, Doss filed a lawsuit claiming he was falsely arrested. Ultimately, that case was settled for $20,000. Doss also filed a motion with the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court to be declared a wrongfully imprisoned person. That was granted on October 20, 1997, and it allowed Doss to seek compensation from the Ohio Court of Claims, which in 1999 paid Doss $75,501 for the 15 months he spent in prison.

“The guy’s life was taken away from him. I don't know if $75,000 is enough to get it back,” said Doss’s attorney, Paul Mancino Jr. “He should have never been in prison to begin with.”
- Ken Otterbourg

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Posting Date: 10/18/2018
Last Updated: 2/25/2019
Most Serious Crime:Other Nonviolent Felony
Additional Convictions:Gun Possession or Sale
Reported Crime Date:1993
Sentence:4 to 10 years
Age at the date of reported crime:33
Contributing Factors:
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No