Thursday, March 25, 2010

Louisiana Losers

The Rove Republican Racket created an atmosphere that verdicts and prosecutions were infallible. Those that were simply accused of wrongdoing by the Republicans had their reputations run over like a runaway Toyota.

Now comes an interesting news story out of Louisiana. Demonstrating absolute intolerance to the fact they lost in the lower and appeals court, the District Attorney of the New Orleans Parish has gone all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to defend his "infallible" prosecutors.

Reason Magazine reports:
[The U.S.] Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge to a $14 million award that a wrongly convicted Louisiana man won after serving 18 years in prison, 14 of them in solitary confinement on death row. New Orleans prosecutors who tried John Thompson for armed robbery in 1985 failed to turn over blood evidence that would have exonerated him. Then they used the robbery conviction to prevent Thompson from taking the stand in his murder trial and to obtain a death sentence (by noting that he had already been sentenced to 50 years without parole for the armed robbery). After an investigator working for Thompson’s attorneys discovered the blood evidence in 1999, Thompson received a new trial on the murder charge and was acquitted. A federal jury concluded that the district attorney's office was liable because it failed to properly train its prosecutors, who should have known they were constitutionally obligated to share exculpatory evidence with the defense. A 5th Circuit panel unanimously upheld (PDF) the verdict on appeal, and the full court split evenly on the question, allowing the jury's decision to stand. Asking the Supreme Court to review the case, New Orleans Parish District Attorney Harry Connick Sr. argued that his office should not be held responsible for depriving Thompson of his right to due process because Thompson had not shown a pattern of misconduct or demonstrated a direct connection between a lack of training and the error that led to his conviction.