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Oral Arguments in Connick v. Thompson

Oral Arguments in Connick v. Thompson

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October 8, 2010

Sorry for the silence. I have been travelling.

The oral arguments in the prosecutorial misconduct case Connick v. Thompson , which I referred to here , apparently went well. Louisiana tried to argue that Thompson could not recover damages, —despite his “terrible injuries” (eighteen years in prison and very nearly executed on several occasions)—because the law requires that there must be a pattern of prosecutorial misconduct. But several of the Justices responded that there was a pattern of misconduct, for example, “at least four assistant prosecutors were aware that blood evidence had been withheld” from the defense, in violation of the Court’s 1963 Brady decision.

Incidentally, the personal side of this case involves a heroic story (as told by Law.com): “Wednesday’s arguments represented the culmination of a 22-year pro bono effort by [J. Gordon Cooney Jr.] and fellow Morgan Lewis partner Michael Banks to obtain justice for Thompson. In 1999, when what seemed like a final appeal to the Supreme Court failed, they told Thompson nothing further would stop his execution. That same day, however, an investigator found exculpatory blood evidence that had been hidden by the prosecutor.”