Today, the Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of former death row inmate John Thompson, who was convicted of armed robbery in 1985 after prosecutors failed to turn over blood evidence that could have exonerated him. Thompson was eventually freed and alleged in a civil case that he was wrongfully convicted as a result of prosecutorial misconduct when prosecutors failed to turn over a lab report that pointed toward his innocence.
Connick v. Thompson
, representatives of the New Orleans District Attorney’s office argued that the court should overturn damages awarded to Thompson by a jury. He received $14 million—$1 million for each year spent on death row.
Mother Jones magazine reports that a quarter of the men sentenced to death during Connick’s tenure have had their convictions overturned because evidence casting doubt on their guilt was hidden from the defense by prosecutors. Connick retired in 2003. The Associated Press reported today that the justices seemed skeptical about Thompson’s claims that prosecutors should be held liable for not training prosecutors on their legal obligation to turn over evidence pointing to innocence.