Document Type

Davis v. State of Ohio, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Case No. CV96-312322


May 1, 2000

Box Number


Item Number



plaintiff's filing, judgment notwithstanding verdict, sufficiency of evidence, juror misconduct, prosecutorial misconduct, character evidence, jury demand, motion for a new trial


Motion filed by the Sheppard Estate in response to the jury verdict in Murray v. State seeking either a judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) or a new trial pursuant to Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure 50(B) and 59(A) respectively.

The Appellant’s principal arguments for JNOV were: (1) the jury’s verdict was a “classic case of jury nullification,” because the jury ignored “overwhelming forensic evidence proving that Dr. Sheppard could not have” murdered his wife Marilyn Sheppard, (2) the jury displayed no meaningful interest in deliberating, and (3) the character assassination of Dr. Sheppard, in violation of Ohio Rules of Evidence 404, was used by the jury to improperly decide the case based on Dr. Sheppard’s character and not the evidence.

Regarding the request for a new trial, the Sheppard Estate argued that in determining whether to order a new trial the court should take into account the deliberative skills of the jury and where the “trial is long and complicated, [the verdict]. . . should be scrutinized more closely.” In supporting this argument, the Appellant refers to the short deliberation time for the jury, asserting that the jury could not have seriously examined two months’ worth of evidence and testimony in 2.5 hours.

The Sheppard Estate urged the trial court to reconsider its determination that a jury trial be allowed in wrongful imprisonment cases, because "the question of innocence is a complex legal decision that cannot be met in the face of vigorous state advocacy in front of a jury composed of voters and citizens in a jurisdiction under scrutiny for denying justice."

The court denied the motion for JNOV on 7/3/2000; see docket