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Anthony Lewis

Other Hamilton County, Ohio, Exonerations
On June 2, 1986, Albert Weston returned to his apartment in Cincinnati, Ohio after spending time at a neighborhood bar. He fell asleep on his sofa while watching television, and was awakened by two men who pulled his shirt up over his face.

Weston said the men beat him with a soft-drink bottle, repeatedly kicked him, and tied his hands with a telephone cord. One of the men threatened to kill Weston if there was no money in the apartment. Weston lost consciousness and when he awoke, he was still tied up. He finally freed himself about noon the following day.

He told police that he recognized the voice of the man who threatened him as that of 33-year-old Anthony Lewis, with whom he was casually acquainted.

Lewis was arrested and charged with aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary.

He went to trial in August 1986 in Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas and chose to have a judge decide the case without a jury. Weston testified that he recognized Lewis by his voice.

Lewis’s defense attorney attempted to establish an alibi. Lewis had been recently paroled from prison, and a condition of his parole required him to live at the Talbert House, a facility operated by the state to help parolees integrate into society. Although residents of Talbert House were not physically confined, they were expected to get permission to leave and to sign in and out when they left and returned.

Records were presented that showed Lewis was in the Talbert House from 10:15 p.m. on June 2 and did not leave again until 8:45 a.m. on June 3. The records showed that Lewis returned at 11:25 a.m. on June 3.

Lewis testified that he had a job interview that morning. He said that Ike Jackson, a Talbert House staff member, drove him to the location of the business and gave him some bus tokens to return after the interview.

On August 26, 1986, Judge Richard A. Niehaus convicted Lewis of aggravated robbery and aggravated battery. Lewis was sentenced to 10 to 25 years in prison.

Lewis subsequently filed a motion for a new trial based on a sworn affidavit from Jackson saying that he drove Lewis to the job interview on the morning of June 3, 1986. The motion was denied. In April 1988, the Ohio Court of Appeals upheld his convictions and sentence.

In 1992, Lewis filed a federal petition for a writ of habeas corpus claiming his trial defense attorney provided an inadequate legal defense by failing to call as witnesses both Jackson and the man who interviewed Lewis for a job at a roofing company.

In November 1994, following a hearing during which Jackson and the man who interviewed Lewis testified, U.S. District Judge Herman J. Weber granted the writ based on the failure of the defense to call the witnesses. Judge Weber ordered the prosecution to retry Lewis within 90 days or release him.

The prosecution filed a notice of appeal. On March 3, 1995, Lewis was released from custody. On May 4, 1995, the prosecution withdrew its appeal and dismissed Lewis’s case.

Lewis filed a lawsuit seeking compensation. In 1996, he received a judicial declaration of innocence and was awarded $280,000.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 10/25/2018
Most Serious Crime:Robbery
Additional Convictions:Burglary/Unlawful Entry
Reported Crime Date:1986
Sentence:10 to 25 years
Age at the date of reported crime:33
Contributing Factors:Inadequate Legal Defense
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No