John Thompson's Case
In 1984, John Thompson, a 22-year-old father of two, was wrongfully convicted of two separate crimes, a robbery and murder. He was prosecuted first for the robbery, which helped prosecutors secure the death penalty in his murder case. While facing his seventh execution date in Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, a private investigator hired by his appellate attorneys discovered scientific evidence of Thompson’s innocence in the robbery case that had been concealed for 15 years by the New Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office.
Thompson was eventually exonerated of both crimes in 2003 after 18 years in prison -- 14 of them isolated on death row. The state of Louisiana gave him $10 and a bus ticket upon his release. He sued the District Attorney’s Office. A jury awarded him $14 million, one million for each year on death row. When Louisiana appealed, the case went to the U.S. Supreme Court. In the spring of 2011, Justice Clarence Thomas issued the majority 5-4 decision in Connick v. Thompson that the prosecutor’s office could not be held liable.
Since Thompson was denied appropriate recourse in his case, he is committed to helping ensure that others don't suffer the same fate. With the Prosecutorial Oversight Campaign, Thompson and partner organizations are seeking to initiate a national dialogue on how to prevent prosecutorial misconduct and ensure accountability in the criminal justice system. Thompson is also the founder and director of Resurrection after Exoneration, an organization that provides transitional housing to exonerees in the New Orleans area.
Read John’s New York Times op-ed – “The Prosecution Rests, But I Can’t”
Read more about John’s case in the Innocence Project in Print