The story of Glenn Ford will break your heart. It may also make you angry. Because after spending 30 years on death row in Louisiana, Ford, now 65 years old, was recently diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. And what will Ford receive as compensation from the state of Louisiana for wrongful imprisonment? Nothing. Not a dime.
Last Friday, Caddo Parish District Judge Katherine Dorroh ruled that Ford is not entitled to any compensation for the years he spent in prison because, the judge said Ford was:
“(P)roven to be guilty of lesser crimes and was not an innocent man.”
Ford’s attorney, Gary Clements, said that the court’s denial of restitution for their error amounts to:
“Jaywalking in front of the house where a crime happened. Truth is, if you pawned jewelry, you would never spend 30 years on death row.”
The story of how Glenn Ford got to where he is today began in 1984 when he was charged with the robbery and murder of Isadore Rozeman, a jeweler and watchmaker who lived in Shreveport. But in 2014, when “credible evidence” came to light which proved Ford played no part in the death of Rozeman, he was released from prison.
Now, with the diagnosis of cancer, doctors estimate that Glenn Ford has less than a year to live. And what little money he has is going to pay for hospice care.
Under Louisiana law, a person is entitled to $25,000 for each year of wrongful incarceration with a lifetime cap of $250,000. But thanks to the ruling of Judge Dorroh, Ford will not even get that small sum of money. Ford and his attorneys are appealing the judge’s ruling.
In yet another twist to the case, even the former prosecutor, A.M. Stroud III, has apologized to Ford for the injustice which was done to him. As Stroud remarked:
“(Ford) deserves every penny owed to him under the compensation statute. Mr. Ford was in a 12-by-12 cell for 30 years. You do the math and it’s not much.”
I’ve done the math, and it amounts to approximately $8,300 a year for those 30 years Ford spent incarcerated by Louisiana for a crime he didn’t commit. Does that sound like an equitable sum for a man’s life?
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org.