$82,000 settlement in wrongful imprisonment case

A West Alexandria man who wrongfully spent more than a year behind bars settled with the state of Ohio for $82,000. The Court of Claims of Ohio approved the settlement on Sept. 12, which determined that Scott Chessman was wrongfully imprisoned from May 4, 2009, through July 16, 2010.

Chessman was convicted of rape in 2003 and sentenced to three years in prison. He was also required to register annually for 10 years after his release. In 2008, new legislation required that Chessman had to verify his address and registration information every 90 days for life.

In 2009, Chessman was indicted for failing to notify officials about a new telephone number from a pay-as-you-go cellphone his sister bought him. He was convicted of a first-degree felony in Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas on March 3, 2009, and was sentenced to three years in prison. On July 9, 2010, the Second District Court of Appeals vacated Chessman's sentence stating that because "there is no penalty specified for such a failure, there can be no criminal offense."

Chessman filed a civil complaint in March 2014 for the time he spent behind bars. In the settlement with the state, Chessman will receive $67,420 for wrongful imprisonment, lost wages, and attorney fees. The other $14,580 will go toward child support payments and court costs.

The Court of Claims is given original jurisdiction to hear and determine all civil actions filed against the State of Ohio and its agencies.

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