WB graduate participates in Ohio Innocence Project

The Ohio Innocence Project (OIP) works to identify and assist prison inmates who claim to be actually innocent of the crimes for which they were convicted.
Local Western Brown 2011 graduate Jonathan Walker was recently part of a team from OIP to work on a case.
It involved Evin King who was released at the Cuyahoga County Courthouse  after 23 years in prison, thanks to the OIP.
“It was an awesome experience to work on Mr. King’s case for over a year then watch him as he walked out of that courthouse as a free man,” Walker said in an interview.”
In 1995 King was convicted of murdering his girlfriend despite no direct evidence of guilt, such as an eyewitness account or forensic evidence. Even his DNA was not found at the scene of the crime.
“Our group of 20 law students started on King’s case in May of last year,” Walker said. “OIP first got this case in 2009, and other groups have been working on it all these years. It was exciting for me personally to dig into all the aspects of the case, but when your dealing with the state, who got it wrong in the first place, they’re in no hurry to resolve a case.”
Walker attributes a lot of his passion for the law to his high school government teacher and baseball coach Jeff Herrmann.
Herrmann said he will always remember what a hard worker Jonathan was, and that he is proud of what he is doing with his life.
“I don’t want to say that Jonathan liked to argue,” Herrmann said with a chuckle, “But that boy loved to debate. And not just teenage issues, but serious issues like the death penalty and abortion.
“Plus, he never debated just to debate. He did his homework, and learned everything he could about an issue, then he could back up everything he said. He always went way beyond what he had to do to win.”
Mr. Herrmann said that Jonathan was like that in everything he did. When he played baseball, he always worked harder than he needed to. When he ran for Western as a long distance runner he always practiced harder than necessary.
“Jonathan was extremely competitive and was never satisfied being average,” Mr. Herrmann said. “This young man is very bright, and driven and it was a joy to coach him and have him in my government class.”
Walker received a full baseball scholarship to the University of Findley where he received degrees in political science and pre-law. He said he actually believed he’d be a professional baseball player someday but thought pre-law was a good choice for a back-up.
“I am just ending my second year at the University of Cincinnati Law School,” Walker said. “I will be entering my third year in the fall, then I will be taking my bar exam.
“Over the summer I will be working for the Hamilton County public defenders office, doing a lot of the same things I’ve been doing with the Ohio Innocence Project.”
Walker said he hasn’t really made any definite plans on what he’ll do or where he’ll settle after passing the bar.
“It would be nice to stay in this area,” he said. “But I’ll go where I’m offered a job. I do know that I want to be a public defender, where ever I end up.
“I have a strong belief that every person, good, bad, guilty or innocent, deserves fair representation.  They may have made a poor decision but they are still people and deserve to be represented.”