Louisiana to free innocent man who spent 30 years on death row

It took 30 years, but the state of Louisiana has finally figured out that it convicted — and sentenced to death — an innocent man. Fortunately for Glenn Ford, the state never got around to carrying out the execution. Though it has cost him 30 years of his life.

And yes, the state's action is yet another example of why the death penalty should be banned.

The specific reason the state moved to free Ford is still murky, but it apparently stems from new information that proved Ford was not present at, or involved with, the robbery-murder of a 56-year-old jeweler and watchmaker named Isadore Rozeman on Nov. 5, 1983, in Caddo Parish in the state's northwest corner. According to the court filing, posted by the Shreveport Times:

In late 2013, credible evidence came to the attention of the undersigned to supporting a finding that Glenn Ford was neither present at, nor a participant in, the robbery and murder of Isadore Rozeman.

Defense counsel has been informed of the new information. Due to the new reliable information, the State now believes that whatever the involvement of Glenn Ford in the robbery or murder of Isadore Rozeman, the new information if known at the time of the trial, would reasonably have resulted in a different outcome ....

Indeed, if the information had been within the knowledge of the State, Glenn Ford might not even have been arrested or indicted for this offense.

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.

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