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Man who spent decades on LA. death row is freed

Louisiana Death Row Inmate Released After 30 Years
Mar. 12, 2014 5:57 AM EDT

ANGOLA, La. (AP) - A man who spent nearly 26 years on death row in Louisiana walked free of prison Tuesday, hours after a judge approved the state's motion to vacate the man's murder conviction in the 1983 killing of a jeweler.

Glenn Ford, 64, had been on death row since August 1988 in connection with the death of 56-year-old Isadore Rozeman, a Shreveport jeweler and watchmaker for whom Ford had done occasional yard work. Ford had always denied killing Rozeman.

Ford walked out the maximum security prison at Angola on Tuesday afternoon, said Pam Laborde, a spokeswoman for Louisiana's Department of Public Safety and Corrections.

Asked as he walked away from the prison gates about his release, Ford told WAFB-TV, "It feels good; my mind is going in all kind of directions. It feels good."

Ford told the broadcast outlet he does harbor some resentment at being wrongly jailed: "Yeah, cause, I've been locked up almot 30 years for something I didn't do."

"I can't go back and do anything I should have been doing when I was 35, 38, 40 stuff like that," he added.

State District Judge Ramona Emanuel on Monday took the step of voiding Ford's conviction and sentence based on new information that corroborated his claim that he was not present or involved in Rozeman's death, Ford's attorneys said. Ford was tried and convicted of first-degree murder in 1984 and sentenced to death.

"We are very pleased to see Glenn Ford finally exonerated, and we are particularly grateful that the prosecution and the court moved ahead so decisively to set Mr. Ford free," said a statement from Gary Clements and Aaron Novod, the attorneys for Ford from the Capital Post Conviction Project of Louisiana.

They said Ford's trial had been "profoundly compromised by inexperienced counsel and by the unconstitutional suppression of evidence, including information from an informant." They also cited what they said was a suppressed police report related to the time of the crime and evidence involving the murder weapon.

Currently, there are 83 men and two women serving death sentences in Louisiana, according to Laborde.

A Louisiana law entitles those who have served time but are later exonerated to receive compensation. It calls for payments of $25,000 per year of wrongful incarceration up to a maximum of $250,000, plus up to $80,000 for loss of "life opportunities."

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kdarmon58 March 12 2014 at 10:23 AM

God bless Mr Ford and I pray you have a long and happy life.

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Dr. Read March 12 2014 at 10:59 AM

When their is suppression of evidence as there was in this case prosecutors need to go to jail. Im talking about you Harry Connick.

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2 replies
pucpaul Dr. Read March 12 2014 at 11:07 AM

I agree. Some of these prosecutors are worse then the folks they're trying to convict. It's all a game to them.

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icutfishbait Dr. Read March 12 2014 at 11:12 AM

would you say the same thing this guy was white???,i think not

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ldeer9 March 12 2014 at 3:22 PM

There are some in prison who shouldn't be there and there are some who should be in prison and aren't. System is not perfect. Never like to hear of an innocent person in jail.

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1 reply
sjguu ldeer9 March 12 2014 at 3:40 PM

Agreed, and one of the best arguments against the death penalty—however insufficient, some attempt at reimbursement/compensation can be made to the individual per self. Payments to an estate of someone wrongfully executed just don’t do it.
Not that $320,000 gives back 26 years of Mr. Ford’s life, but it will help him do better moving forward. I hope that those who withheld evidence are (a) no longer in a position to be able to do so and (b) prosecuted for so doing.

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Ed March 12 2014 at 10:59 AM

After almost 30 years incarcerated and 26 on death row, plus the admission that the state withheld evidence, etc...the state maximum $ isn't half enough...I'd take some of the $ and sue the prosecutors office for malicious prosecution and, if the individuals are alive, take them for all they are worth...but this is Louisiana...and he has three strikes against him already...he is black, even though he was exonerated, he will still be looked on as a convicted murderer, and he's probably a democrat...or should be.

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laarsdev March 12 2014 at 10:58 AM

Justice delayed is justice denied.

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lady4dogs March 12 2014 at 3:39 PM

Only $250,000.00. It should be three times that amount plus $80,000. Maybe the lawyers who prosecuted him and those that defended him should have to contribute to this fund and the jury too. Louisiana goes by Napoleonic Law........... you are guily until proven innocent. Glad I don't live in Louisiana.

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sjguu March 12 2014 at 3:41 PM

Cases like this make it crystal clear why the death penalty is being abandoned by more and more governments. There is simply no way to even attempt to correct a mistake. Best wishes to Mr. Ford.

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Brenda March 12 2014 at 10:57 AM

What happened to Mr. Ford is horrible, simply horrible. Twenty-six years in prison makes it extremely difficult to reclaim his life, but I pray to God that he does. It takes more than money -- he has been released into a totally different world (with its own set of vultures) that has a steep and profound learning curve; he will need to detox from the prison environment and acclimate to a new social stratum and needs to be with people whom he can trust and who have his best interests in mind. Something that I don't see when people are exonerated on evidence that has been suppressed, falsified, manipulated etc. is the acknowledgement that there was (and continues to be) more emphasis placed on incarcerating someone that didn't do the crime than there is on getting the person that actually did commit the crime. That person may have gone on to kill others! These situations highlight incompetence, narrow-mindedness, hatred, even self-deception. The "law" is -- too often -- no more than a staging of ceremonial and ritualistic nonsense for the sake of a "win." Nobody wins in such a scenario -- wrong people are sent to prison (sometimes executed), lives are ruined and we reinforce the continuation of incompetent, subjective behaviors. At the very least, those who contribute to wrongful convictions need to do some soul searching, review their involvement and try to determine where they may have stepped wrongly (if it wasn't intentional) and make a sincere apology -- at the very least!

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alspoolhall March 12 2014 at 10:57 AM

Is there a name for the type of mentality that some police, investigators and prosecutors exhibit when they railroad someone into prison or even worse . . . on to death row? It happens so often!
I will never understand how people don't know what is right, know but don't care or refuse to have any self-awareness. Every time this happens, I want those who did wrong to have it happen to them and see how they like it. It's 2014 people and we've only come this far? Disgusting. People don't confront reality because they don't even know what that is.

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sportswhse March 12 2014 at 5:30 PM

Terrible injustice.....I only hope the best for him is still to come....

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