Saturday, December 07, 2013

AC360 covers troubling Thompson case in New Orleans as another wrongful conviction and prosecutorial misconduct

Because of coverage of Mandela’s death. CNN postponed its film “An Unreal Dream” about the wrongful conviction in Texas of Michael Morton in Texas for a 1986 death of his wife, leading to 25 years in prison before release in 2011.   But Anderson Cooper covered another case in the first hour of his AC360 program Friday night, that of John Thompson, convicted on very questionable eyewitness testimony of a hotel manager in New Orleans in 1986, with testimony that also incorrectly linked him to a carjacking.
Eventually, blood type evidence showed he could not have committed the crime and on a retrial a jury acquitted him in 35 minutes. 
AC360’s link for the report (indeed a good companion to CNN’s new film) is here
Randi Kaye presented the story, and defense attorney Mark Geragos and former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin debated whether prosecutors should have civil and criminal liability for withholding evidence or malfeasance, apart from disbarment.  Police officers have such liability but apparently prosecutors do not.
Thompson, often on death row and scheduled for execution eight times, claimed that the prosecutor “tried to kill me”.  Thompson ultimately won a $25 million award based on withholding of evidnce, which the Supreme Court reversed.
CBN has a detailed story here (Sept 2012).  The Mother Jones story gives the details about the Supreme Court case, and the majority’s unwillingness to find a pattern of deliberate negligence. 

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