Guy Wrongly Sent to Death Row Loses $14M Award
DA not liable for mistakes of prosecutors, rules Supreme Court
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 30, 2011 8:37 AM CDT
Former death row inmate John Thompson speaks at a news conference in New Orleans, Tuesday, March 29, 2011, after the Supreme Court overturned a $14 million judgement.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

(Newser) – John Thompson spent 14 years on death row after New Orleans prosecutors hid evidence that would have cleared him—but yesterday, a divided Supreme Court tossed out the $14 million in damages Thompson won in a civil suit against the DA. Clarence Thomas read the 5-4 decision, which found that then-DA Harry Connick Sr. should not be held liable for the prosecutors’ mistakes. Ruth Bader Ginsburg voiced her dissent, saying the court was protecting New Orleans and its prosecutors, who committed "flagrant" misconduct, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Thompson’s murder conviction was overturned in 1999—just weeks before his scheduled execution—when a hidden blood test was uncovered by a private investigator. In his retrial, his lawyers also discovered eyewitness reports that didn't match Thompson's description; he was acquitted and subsequently won the $14 million in damages. His lawyers showed that at least four prosecutors knew about the blood test, and that evidence had been hidden in other cases as well. But Justice Thomas said Thompson’s case was a “single incident” and that no pattern of misconduct was proved.

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
John Thompson, Wrongly Sent to Death Row for 14 Years, Doesnt Get His $14M in Damages is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 29 comments
Mar 31, 2011 5:42 PM CDT
because the repug thugs have stacked courts , lower appeals as well as this bench of 5 crooks , they will be setting aside precedent , overturning convictions and reversing monetary awards , this will be standard operating procedure , until we flush the toilet
Mar 31, 2011 11:38 AM CDT
I hope the innocence project can help this man get some sort of justice. I understand if he just wants to give up and try his best to block out some of the horror. But if he decides to persue it further I wish him the best of luck! The American justice system has become a farce of procedure over sustenance. Form over fact. Anyone who believes it helps even close to the amount of people it hurts watches too much CNN. It's wrong too often to be the right way to go anymore.
Mar 30, 2011 5:40 PM CDT
If I were the dude, I'd ask them to keep me in jail. Why, because I'd be so angry that I would actually go out and kill someone. I know, I know, "Two wrongs don't make it right" But it sure as hell makes it even