Bad Prosecutor Becomes Corrupt Judge

The evidence left little doubt that the man who shot and killed Carl White Jr. was the same man who, four days earlier, shot another man and raped that man's wife. Cedric Willis was arrested for those crimes. When the results of DNA tests finally arrived, however, they proved that Willis wasn't the rapist. The prosecution dismissed the rape charge but inexplicably proceeded with the homicide prosecution. Even worse, Assistant District Attorney Bobby DeLaughter and his boss, District Attorney Ed Peters, convinced a newly-appointed judge that the jury shouldn't hear evidence that the rapist and the murderer were the same person, and that White wasn't the rapist.

Willis' lawyer filed a motion for a new trial but it languished without a ruling for 12 years. Willis spent those years in the brutal Mississippi prison at Parchman, serving nearly half his time in solitary confinement. With the help of the Innocence Project, his request for a new trial was finally heard and granted. A different judge later ruled that the only evidence against Willis, an eyewitness who identified Willis in court at his first trial, was tainted and couldn't be used against him. The homicide charge was finally dropped in 2006. [more ...]

And what of Bobby DeLaughter, the prosecutor who didn't think the jury should hear evidence of Willis' innocence? He went on to become a Hinds County Circuit Court Judge, and a dirty one at that. DeLaughter is scheduled to enter a guilty plea today to a federal charge of lying to the FBI agents who were investigating his corrupt judicial conduct. This might be seen as karma in action, except that DeLaughter probably won't serve 12 years, and he certainly won't serve it under the nightmarish conditions that Willis had to endure.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Is this the same Bobby DeLaughter (none / 0) (#1)
    by NY Spotlight on Thu Jul 30, 2009 at 07:02:10 AM EST
     portrayed by Alec Baldwin in  Ghosts of Mississippi ?

    according to wikipedia, (none / 0) (#2)
    by cpinva on Thu Jul 30, 2009 at 08:46:51 AM EST
    he is. kind of sad really. makes you wonder what the heck he was thinking.

    Is it true... (none / 0) (#3)
    by mcl on Thu Jul 30, 2009 at 10:21:34 AM EST
    That the Innocence Project is now kaput courtesy of Bernie Madoff's swindle?  Someone told me the funding for the Innocence Project was in a  trust handled by Madoff and it evaporated in his Ponzi Scheme.

    Sure hope it's not true...

    Limited to only a 2 year period of Dallas County (none / 0) (#5)
    by ding7777 on Thu Jul 30, 2009 at 11:11:48 AM EST
    inmmate convictions

    one of the Innocence Project's main supporters, the New York-based JEHT Foundation, had invested with Madoff.

    The JEHT Foundation was paying the Innocence Project $400,000 over two years, an amount Blackburn does not consider part of the project's overall budget because that money was dedicated solely to work on behalf of inmates convicted in Dallas County. But his explanation now is inconsequential - most of that $400,000 was lost in the Madoff debacle. The Innocence Project only received $150,000 of that amount.