When Dateline interviewed OIP director Mark Godsey, College of Law professor, he stated, “It was bizarre the charges were brought in the first place, once you started looking at how the stories of the children changed constantly.”
In fact, a grown William Oliver, one of the named victims, admitted, “I don’t remember anything happening to me.”
But in January 2011, the Ohio Supreme Court reinstated the original conviction, ruling that Judge Burge lacked the authority to hold a new sentencing entry and issue an acquittal. That decision revolved around a technicality that the court had to address because the error could affect the outcome in other trials, Godsey explains.
After the reversal last year, Judge Burge told Loraine County’s Chronicle Telegram newspaper, “I never thought I would witness anything quite so tragic in the criminal justice system, much less be any part of it.”
On April 6, 2012, the OIP filed a petition with Gov. John Kasich asking him for clemency because the Supreme Court had not overturned the finding that she was not guilty. No action has been taken on the clemency request, and Smith and Allen remain free at present.
The Dateline episode ran two days later. Besides filming professor Godsey, the Dateline crew shot footage of the law school, the OIP offices and two law students, Lauren Staley and Katie Barrett, working on the case and discussing it with Godsey.
In a few weeks, Smith and Godsey will fly to New York City where Smith will appear on Anderson Cooper's new daytime show with a studio audience. UC Magazine will post the date when it is announced.
Godsey is also the Daniel and Judith Carmichael Professor of Law, and the Ohio Innocence Project is part of the college’s Rosenthal Institute for Justice.
(Note: The OIP is featured in parts 4 and 6 of these videos.)