Panel Discussion to Address Prosecutorial Error and Misconduct
John Thompson, who was stripped by the U.S. Supreme Court of $14 million in civil damages for the intentional misconduct that caused him to spend 14 years on death row, will headline a symposium on prosecutorial oversight at the University of Texas School of Law in Austin on Thursday where panelists will discuss policy solutions for preventing misconduct and making prosecutors more accountable. Thompson will be joined by Texas exoneree Michael Morton, whose case will be the subject of an upcoming Court of Inquiry into possible prosecutorial misconduct.
Jennifer Laurin, an Assistant Professor at the law school, will moderate the panel that will also include Betty Blackwell, Attorney, former chair of the Texas Commission for Lawyer Discipline; Jim Leitner, First Assistant District Attorney, Harris County; Hon. Bob Perkins (Ret.), former Judge of the 331st District Court in Travis County; Professor Robert Schuwerk, Professor, University of Houston Law Center, author of leading treatise on Texas rules of professional conduct; and Emily West, Research Director at Innocence Project, who will unveil new research illustrating the lack of accountability for prosecutors in Texas.
The forum marks the second stop of a national tour to address prosecutorial misconduct in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Connick v. Thompson, which granted prosecutors almost complete immunity for their misconduct. The tour is being organized by Thompson; the Innocence Project; the Veritas Initiative, Northern California Innocence Project’s prosecutorial accountability program; the Innocence Project of New Orleans; Voices of Innocence; and local partners; the Texas Center for Actual Innocence; and the Actual Innocence Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law.
about Thursday’s event.
Additional information about Thompson and the tour, including a live stream of the first panel discussion is
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