Oakland man to be released after wrongful conviction

February 18, 2013 6:44:47 PM PST
An Oakland man was wrongly convicted seven years ago on the testimony of a witness who lied, but it'll be another week before he's a free man. That conviction was overturned with help from the Northern California Innocence Project and a San Francisco law firm. For Ronald Ross, their dedication to his case means he is about to be set free.

"It was like somebody had put something on my shoulders and I couldn't shake it off," said Thelma M. Ross, Ronald's mother.

What she couldn't shake, was the wrongful conviction of her son. Ronald served six years and 10 months in prison for a crime he did not commit.

"Because I know where my son was at. They lied on him," said Thelma.

Ronald was arrested by Oakland police after a man, who was shot in a block of Campbell Street in West Oakland, picked him out of a six-man photo line-up. And there was more bad news to come, two other witnesses also fingered Ronald for the shooting, but Thelma said from the beginning that was a lie.

"Because I know where he was at. He was sitting on my couch, in my house, drinking beer," said Thelma.

Her cries of Ronald's innocence was not enough to sway investigators. In 2006, Ross was convicted of attempted murder and assault with a firearm.

"We look to exonerate people who have been wrongly convicted," said Rhonda Donato with the Northern California Innocence Project.

The Northern California Innocence Project with a team of law students from Santa Clara University and the San Francisco law firm Keker & Van Nest, they were able to uncover evidence proving Ronald's innocence and convince county prosecutors to help overturn is conviction.

"They have conceded and agree that Mr. Ross should be freed," said Donato.

Both parties will argue that fact to a judge in superior court on Friday. Oakland City Councilmember Noel Gallo says in Ronald's case, poor police work was done, but lessons have been learned.

"Through Mr. Ross, we can pay greater attention not only at the judicial system, the investigation, but be able to provide a more fare system for everybody," said Gallo.

Thelma said she doesn't know what her son plans to do after he is released from prison, but it's a safe bet that whatever it is, it will start with six years' worth of hugs from mom.


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