Glenn Ford walked out of a Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola yesterday at 5:40 pm. This was the first time experiencing freedom after spending 30 years on Death Row for a crime he never committed. Glenn now has the unsettling distinction of being the nation’s longest serving Death Row inmate to be exonerated.
This story follows a very common script: black man gets convicted by an all white jury and spends the better part of his life behind bars before being released due to new evidence and new attitudes in the criminal justice community. These stores invoke mixed feelings. On the one hand we can all be relieved to know that justice eventually prevails but outraged at the same time that this happens in the first place. I’m very grateful for the great work of the Innocence Project and similar organizations. The Innocence Project of Texas has been very active in recent years advocating for unfairly treated prisoners in Texas. The organizations do what they can to reverse the mistakes of the past and set us on a better course for the future.
In Glenn Ford’s case, he was exonerated thanks to the Capital Post Convictions Project of Louisiana. With their help, Glenn was able to disclose new evidence in the case last fall. This finally led to a court order vacating Glenn’s conviction on March 11. Glenn’s attorneys argued that this new evidence supported what Glenn had claimed all along: he was not present nor involved in the murder of Shreveport businessman, Isadore Rozeman, in any way.
Glenn’s attorney’s have stated that his trial was “profoundly compromised by inexperienced counsel and by the unconstitutional suppression of evidence at his trial, including information from an informant, a suppressed police report related to the time of the crime and evidence of the murder weapon, which implicated the true perpetrator.”
Glenn’s immediate future is unknown, but I think it’s safe to assume he will be enjoying the company of his friends and family for a few days. I’m sure he will get himself some good meals while he’s at it. I would recommend following NACDL (National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers) on social media if you would like to stay up to date on stories like Glenn’s. Hopefully a day can come when we don’t have to hear about this sort of thing, but we are not there yet. Rest assured that there are criminal attorneys across the country working to make that a reality.