Death Penalty

Innocent Man Spent 30 Years in Prison, Died a Year After His Release. Now the State Might Finally Pay

Louisiana denied modest financial compensation to Glenn Ford because he couldn't prove his "factual innocence."


In 2014, Glenn Ford walked out of prison

RIP, Glenn Ford

after spending 30 years on death row for a murder he didn't commit, only to die of cancer a little more than a year later

Louisiana law allows for exonerated ex-prisoners to receive compensation of up to $330,000 (which wouldn't even be all that much if it were a life insurance policy), but Ford was denied the right to collect what little money the state legally owed to him, because he could not prove he was "factually innocent."

That's right, you're innocent until proven guilty before a trial, but if falsely convicted AND exonerated in Louisiana, you must prove your innocence after the fact.

The man who put Ford on death row, former Caddo Parish prosecutor A.M. "Marty" Stroud III, wrote in an a letter to the Shreveport Times last year that during the trial, "I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning."

Stroud says he relied on "junk science" in prosecuting Ford, and that after learning of the results of a 2013 investigation into the murder in question, he believed Ford likely shouldn't have even been arrested at all. Stroud pleaded for Ford's forgiveness, begged the state to do the right thing by compensating him in full, and even repudiated the death penalty itself. 

Ford is gone now, but there's new hope that his family may yet enjoy some justice. The News Star reports:

State Rep. Cedric Glover has filed a bill that would provide compensation to the family of the late Glenn Ford, who was released from prison after serving 30 years on death row after being wrongly convicted of a Shreveport murder.

Glover, who is on his second stint as a state legislator after serving as mayor of Shreveport, told Gannett Louisiana:

I couldn't in good conscience return to this body and not try to address what I believe is a grave injustice and a misinterpretation of the law.

Most reasonable folks find it an injustice that he and his family wouldn't qualify for this compensation…It's something highly regrettable, and it's incumbent on me to step forward and offer a legislative remedy.

It's absolutely tragic and preposterous that all a person whose life was stolen from them is entitled to is $330,000. But if Glover's bill passes, at least Ford's family can take heart that the state paid, however pathetically, for the crime it committed against their departed loved one.