5th Cir. Affirms $14 Million Award to Former Death Row Inmate
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed an award of $14 million to former death row inmate John Thompson for prosecutorial misconduct. The court was evenly divided, which means the lower court's verdict is affirmed.
Judge Edward Prado, who wrote the court's order to uphold the $14 million verdict, said that the appellate court must give deference to the jury's verdict. He added that the Thompson verdict will not subject other cities to "widespread liability" because it is such an extraordinary case.
"The dissent is merely quibbling with the jury's factual findings," wrote Prado. "This oversteps our bounds as an appellate court. The dissent presents nothing more than a skewed version of the facts in favor of the District Attorney's Office...these factual disputes were for the jury to resolve."
Here's what caused the verdict. [More...]
Before Thompson's first trial in 1985, the Orleans Parish district attorney's office, led by Harry Connick Sr., prosecuted Thompson in an unrelated armed-robbery attempt, winning a conviction that caused him to avoid testifying on his own behalf during his murder trial. If he had chosen to testify, prosecutors would have been allowed to tell the jury about his attempted armed robbery conviction.
But it turned out that prosecutors in the robbery trial had hid a lab report showing that someone with a different blood type may have committed the crime.
The misconduct came to light when another DA in Connick's office made a deathbed confession. Thompson was re-tried and acquitted.
Judge Prado rocks. You may remember the Draft Prado movement when many (including TalkLeft) were seeking to have former President Bush nominate him to the Supreme Court. (More here.) He would have been so much better than Alito or Roberts.
|< Pentagon Creates "Kill or Capture" List for Afghan Drug Traffickers | WA Backing Off From Three-Strikes Laws >|