High Court Strikes Down $14 Million Prosecutor Misconduct Award


An ideologically divided Supreme Court voided a $14 million award for a wrongfully convicted man who had spent 14 years on death row and successfully sued New Orleans prosecutors for misconduct, reports the Washington Post. Conservative justices prevailed in the 5-to-4 ruling, which shielded the district attorney from liability for not turning over evidence that showed John Thompson's innocence.

Justice Clarence Thomas said Thompson could not show a pattern of “deliberate indifference” on the part of former district attorney Harry Connick Sr. in training his staff to turn over evidence to the defense team. Dissenter Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, “I would uphold the jury's verdict awarding damages to Thompson for the gross, deliberately indifferent and long-continuing violation of his fair trial right.” She said the actions of prosecutors under the control of Connick “dishonored” the 50-year-old obligation to turn over evidence favorable to the accused.

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