ACW Posted March 30, 2011 Share Posted March 30, 2011 http://www.theagitator.com/2011/03/29/supreme-court-firms-up-state-immunity-from-wrongful-conviction-lawsuits/ By a ideologically right-left, 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today (PDF) that a wrongly convicted Louisiana man—who at one point was just weeks away from execution—isn’t permitted to sue the DA’s office that for 14 years sat on the evidence proving his innocence.Jacob Sullum wrote about Connick v. Thompson in March of last year. As Sullum pointed out, while it’s clear that prosecutors knew about the evidence for years (a bloody piece of cloth), there are competing theories about whether they knew they had to turn the cloth over and willfully withheld it anyway, or if they simply didn’t know they were obligated to turn it over. (As Sullum also noted, it’s hard to decide which scenario is worse.) The latter seems rather unlikely, even though during the civil trial, Orelans Parish District Attorney Harry Connick and his assistants apparently couldn’t articulate the Brady Rule, the law requiring the disclosure of such evidence. Of course, the former—the willful misconduct—is also much harder to prove. In any case, the Court’s ruling today, taken with past rulings, further illustrates how the old mantra that “ignorance of the law is no excuse” seems to apply to everyone except actual members of law enforcement. The ruling also negates a $14 million jury award to John Thompson, the man wrongly convicted. It also means that for his 18 years in prison, 14 of which he spent on death row, Thompson will now at most get $150,000, the maximum compensation for a wrongful conviction allowed under Louisiana law. :bsflag: Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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