Ex-inmate stoic after Supreme Court defeat

April 1, 2011 at 4:48 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 1 (UPI) -- A former death row inmate says he isn't angry at the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling stripping him of $14 million he had been awarded after being proven innocent.

John Thompson told ABC News the money was a secondary reason for his legal action against the state of Louisiana for withholding evidence that could have acquitted him at his trial for a 1985 homicide.

"It's not about $14 million, because that was never my money anyway," Thompson said. "People should be worried about what it means: There is no accountability."

The Supreme Court this week overturned the award. The court said while Thompson indeed had been wrongly convicted, he had not proven that the district attorney in New Orleans at the time, Harry Connick, deliberately failed to train his prosecutors about their obligation to turn over exculpatory evidence.

"The only issue before us is whether Connick, as the policymaker for the district attorney's office, was deliberately indifferent to the need to train the attorney under his authority," said the opinion by Justice Clarence Thomas.

Thompson told ABC he took the ruling in stride. "If I wasn't shaken by the seven execution dates I got, or watching my friends on death row die, I can't be shaken by what the world has to offer out here," he said.

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