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Three East Cleveland men released after 20 years in prison now suing detectives

In 2015, three East Cleveland men were released from prison after serving 20 years for a murder they did not commit. They are now asking an Ohio jury to find East Cleveland and three detectives in their case guilty of violating their civil rights.

The case involves the 1995 shooting death investigation of Clifton Hudson Jr. The three men, Laurese Glover, Eugene Johnson and Derrick Wheatt were teenagers when they were charged for the murder. It was not until 2013 that the Ohio Innocence Project brought the case to light. The men are now in their early 40s.

Opening statements in the trial began earlier this week. The plaintiff's attorney, Michael Pasternak, argued the defendants "acted in bad faith and performed callous, shoddy and reckless police work."

This includes a report of statements attained from two boys during the original investigation. The detectives in the case never released the statements in a file given to prosecutors. Additionally, East Cleveland did not release the statements in a 1998 request for all related documents to the investigation.

Pasternak argued the detectives purposely hid the report, because it contained favorable information to all three men. Additionally, Pasternak argued that the detectives coerced a young eye-witness into implicating the three plaintiffs in the murder. The then 14-year-old woman recanted her testimony in 2004.

The three defendants also sued the county and former prosecutors earlier this year. The county settled with the three men for $4.5 million dollars.

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