Today death row exoneree John Thompson joined the Innocence Project, Veritas Initiative, Innocence Project New Orleans and Voices of Innocence in announcing a nationwide tour seeking greater accountability for prosecutors.
“Prosecutorial Oversight: A National Dialogue in the Wake of Connick v. Thompson,” will serve as a platform to explore policy reforms to prevent prosecutorial misconduct.
The tour, which will include stops in Arizona, California, Louisiana, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas, will bring together participants from all aspects of the criminal justice system including legal ethics professors, members of bar disciplinary committees, prosecutors and judges. At the end of the tour, the groups will prepare a report with recommendations for reform.
Thompson, who was nearly executed due to intentional misconduct of the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office, will headline events around the country in the campaign designed to spark a national conversation on prosecutorial misconduct and accountability. In Connick v. Thompson, the U.S. Suprene Court stripped Thompson of his $14 million civil award and gave prosecutors nearly complete immunity for civil liability.
Few prosecutors’ offices have internal systems that ensure prosecutorial accountability. While state bar associations are charged with disciplining unethical conduct, recent research has shown that prosecutors are rarely disciplined, even in the most egregious cases of intentional misconduct that have caused a wrongful conviction.
See the Veritas Initiative’s reports:
Preventable Error: A Report on Prosecutorial Misconduct in California 1997-2009
Preventable Error: First Annual Report 2010.