Former Akron Police Captain Doug Prade could get a significant amount of money if an order from Judge Judy Hunter is not overturned. Hunter exonerated Prade for the 1997 murder of Dr. Margo Prade and ordered that he be released from prison.
"When a common pleas court determines an individual to be wrongfully imprisoned, the case comes to the court of claims and they're entitled to damages," said Ohio Court of Claims Clerk Mark Reed.
Damages start with $40,300 for each year that the person was in prison. That could add up to more than $575,000 for Prade, who was sentenced in September 1998. The payout, according to Reed, is detailed by statute.
"The party may be entitled to economic loss for lost wages for the period of time they were in prison, so that part has to be determined as well by the court of claims," said Reed.
Reed says determining an amount for lost wages is determined by presenting evidence in a bench trial that is limited to the financial factor and not used for a judge to decide whether the petitioner was actually guilty of the crime.
At this point, it's all speculative as to whether Prade will receive any money. He could eventually be sent back to prison. Prosecutors are preparing an appeal of Hunter's entire decision, which includes her favorable ruling for Prade to receive a new trial if the other part of her order is overturned. Prosecutors say it will take months for the appeal to be filed, staged and decided. No matter which side wins the appeal, it is likely that the opposing parties will ask the Ohio Supreme Court to hear the case.