Dr. Sam Sheppard was at the center of the highest profile crime in Ohio history. As the Ohio Supreme Court put it, the case contained "[m]urder and mystery, society, sex and suspense." Sheppard's conviction was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in a landmark 1966 ruling, but the controversy over the case continues to the present. The final legal chapter in the story may have been written with an unsuccessful wrongful-imprisonment lawsuit brought by the Sheppard estate in April 2000.

This paper uses the long debate over the Sheppard case as a vehicle for exploring the concept of wrongful imprisonment. The main focus is on the Ohio wrongful-imprisonment statute, which has been described as among the most beneficent in the United States but which in operation has proven to be quite restrictive. The paper concludes by offering an alternative perspective on the idea of wrongful imprisonment, suggesting that the state has a moral if not a legal obligation toward those persons who have been erroneously convicted.


Wrongful Imprisonment, Appellate Procedure, Sam Sheppard

Publication Date


Document Type


Place of Original Publication

Akron Law Review

Publication Information

38 Akron Law Review 139 (2005)

Included in

Criminal Law Commons


COinS Jonathan L. Entin Faculty Bio