New Orleans Times-Picayune columnist James Varney writes, "Glenn Ford didn't commit murder, so after 30 years he's leaving Death Row at Angola."
The fact some innocent men languish on death rows is not the sole reason to get rid of the macabre death penalty once and for all. But it is a reason.
The truth of that was highlighted in Louisiana this week when Caddo Parish prosecutors dropped murder charges against one Glenn Ford. The same district attorney's office that sent Ford to Angola's Death Row in 1984 now acknowledges it did so for a crime he did not commit.
That's the only just course for them to take, of course, and good for Caddo Parish for righting a wrong. After thirty years, Ford will once again be a free man, albeit one who can never recover the three decades of his life stolen from him.
How do death penalty proponents square this case with their belief the state should be in the killing business?
The record shows Ford was ill-served at nearly every point in his laborious and terrifying trip through the Louisiana criminal justice system.
"Louisiana to free innocent man who spent 30 years on death row," is the Los Angeles Times Opinion LA post by Scott Martelle.
Ford was convicted based on testimony by what turned out to be incompetent scientific witnesses, evidence that went unchallenged by his two court-appointed lawyers, an oil-and-gas specialist and an insurance defense lawyer two years out of law school. Neither had ever tried a case before a jury before. And, it turns out, the prosecutor had hidden exculpatory evidence, including information from two informants that Ford was innocent, from those lawyers.
It's hard to have faith in a system that can fail so badly.
Earlier coverage of Glenn Ford's exoneration begins with the preceding post.