Gambit Weekly 22/2/2010 "$10 and a bus ticket" by David Winkler-Schmit
For most exonerees, no one is there to greet them when they get out. After what is often decades of imprisonment, Angola gives them $10, a bus ticket and whatever personal belongings they can carry. What they do have are numerous obstacles to overcome — no job, no money, no shelter, no clothes and no transportation — and the trauma associated with living in prison: mental illness and few life skills for surviving on the outside.Read more.
El Pais Semanal 18/02/2010 "A step away from death" by Alvaro Corcuera Ortiz de Guinea, translated by Anthony Ross Price
“I was only one hour from being executed, only one hour away from death, one hour from being murdered; because that is what they wanted to do. Do you understand what I am saying to you? I was only one hour away from being killed,” he says with a fixed gaze.Read more.
Shreveport Times 24/1/2010 "Death row exonerations point to flaws in system" by Alison Bath
Eight men have been found innocent of the crimes that put them on Louisiana's death row. All were exonerated before they were put to death and ultimately freed from prison. Most often, those exonerations came after it was revealed that prosecutors withheld evidence that was favorable to the defendant, relied on the testimony of a jailhouse snitch or used faulty eyewitness identification to gain a conviction. Those men aren't alone.Read more.
Jackson Free Press 12/08/2009 "Willis to be Compensated for 'Egregious' Prosecution" by Adam Lynch
Jackson resident Cedric Willis says he is happy that the state of Mississippi agreed to pay him compensation for wrongfully convicting him for the shooting death of Carl White in 1994, even though $500,000 doesn’t quite seem to cover it.Read more.
BBC World News 11/15/2009 "Adjusting to life after death row" by Dave Lee
John's time on death row was a constant battle against the law and his own state of mind. "You need to find out what they're trying to kill you for, what the rules and regulations is. They actually bring a warrant to your cell and tell you to sign it, for them to have permission to kill you. I never did."Read more.
The Guardian 10/21/2009 "Life after death row" by Erwin James
In the last 30 years, 135 people have been exonerated from death row in 25 states – since 1990, 26 were from Louisiana alone. Has Thompson got over what happened to him yet? "No sir," he says quietly, "not completely. I might get over it. But to tell you the truth, I don't want to get over it. I want it to stay with me, to keep driving me to resolve this thing."Read more.
The Times Picayune 09/13/2009 "Free after 14 years on death row, man seeks to help other falsely accused ex-prisoners" by Lolis Eric Elie
When John Thompson's lawyers arrived at Angola State Penitentiary for a somber meeting more than a decade ago, he didn't ask for much detail about his case. He only asked them for a date -- the day the state would put him to death. May 20, 1999, they told him -- one day before his youngest son was to graduate from high school in New Orleans.Read more.
The Times Picayune 08/10/2009 "A divided appeals court affirms jury's $14 million award to a former death-row inmate" by Gwen Filosa
In a tied vote that means a mandatory affirmation of the lower court's ruling, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals today upheld the $14 million jury verdict against the Orleans Parish District Attorney's Office for misconduct in the 1985 murder trial of John Thompson. "Today's judgment raises issues that will continue to plague honest prosecutors' offices," Chief Judge Edith Jones wrote in her dissent.Read more.
The Tribune-Review 07/07/2009 "Murrysville artist Bolick's exhibit gives 'visual voice' to wrongly convicted men" by Chris Foreman
Bolick's acrylic-and-latex paintings feature the faces of 10 men whose isolation from the outside world, he said, was exacerbated by authorities' reluctance to give them what they have wanted most — an apology. "All the men are damaged in some way, and they would be the first to tell you," said Bolick of Murrysville. "You'd like to think they live happily ever after, but they don't."Read more.
The Times Picayune 05/26/2009 "Costly blunders haunt Orleans DA's office" by James Gill
According to his own testimony, Harry Connick "stopped reading law books" when he became New Orleans DA in 1974. Connick's example appears to have inspired his assistants to avoid distractions too. You wouldn't catch them sitting around reading, say, Brady vs. Maryland. Ignoring that Supreme Court ruling, which requires prosecutors to hand over evidence helpful to the defense, proved expensive, although not until after Connick had left office.Read more.