News and information useful to Cleveland-Marshall College of Law students, faculty and staff.

Archive for June 4th, 2018


The Dr. Sam Sheppard Case Collection

In 2012, William Mason, then Cuyahoga County Prosecutor, designated the Cleveland–Marshall College of Law Library at Cleveland State University as the repository for records and other materials relating to the Dr. Sam Sheppard case. The material in the Sam Sheppard collection consists of over 50 boxes of photographs, recordings and trial exhibits.

Since July 1, 2014, tens of thousands of documents have been downloaded. People from all 50 states and over 100 countries have accessed the website. Kudos to C|M|Law Library’s Technical Services Department for their continuing hard work in making this collection accessible.

Background on the Sheppard cases:

Dr. Sam Sheppard was convicted in 1954 of the murder of his pregnant wife, Marilyn Reese Sheppard, at their Bay Village, Ohio home. He spent almost a decade in prison before a retrial was ordered, where he was acquitted in 1966. He maintained his innocence in the murder until his death in 1970.

The murder of Marilyn Sheppard and the controversial trial of Sam Sheppard in 1954 drew widespread national attention from the media, creating what the U.S. Supreme Court later described as a “carnival atmosphere” that denied Sheppard his right to due process.

In 2000, Sheppard’s son, Sam Reese Sheppard, who was seven at the time of his mother’s murder, sued the state of Ohio for his father’s alleged wrongful imprisonment. After a ten-week trial, a civil jury returned a unanimous verdict that Sam Reese Sheppard had failed to prove his father had been wrongfully imprisoned.

An article from Cleveland.com (2015) highlights the law library’s Sam Sheppard collection. The law library’s Director, Lauren Collins, is quoted throughout the article.