What: On Oct. 11, two men who spent a cumulative 35 years behind bars for crimes they did not commit â€“one coming within days of execution â€“ will be among the featured speakers at the final stop of a nationwide â€œProsecutorial Oversight Tour.â€ The six-city tour was conceived to address the need for policy reforms to prevent prosecutorial misconduct, and has generated productive dialogue across the nation among lawyers, judges and state bar members.
The tour is making its final stop at Santa Clara University School of Law, where Louisianaâ€™s John Thompson and Northern California Innocence Project (NCIP) client Obie Anthony will speak about their cases.Â In 2011 the US Supreme Court stripped Thompson of $14 million in damages awarded him by a civil jury for prosecutorial misconduct.Â The Supreme Court in Connick v. Thompson, granted prosecutors absolute immunity for their misconduct. Thompson has since been advocating for accountability for prosecutors. Anthony was exonerated after his wrongful conviction which was based largely on prosecutorial misconduct. He spent 17 years behind bars for a crime he didnâ€™t commit, and since his release he has been educating the public about wrongful conviction and the importance of prosecutorial accountability.
In addition, Professor Cookie Ridolfi will present the 2011 update of â€œPreventable Error: A Report on Prosecutorial Misconduct in California, the most extensive statewide study ever conducted on the issue.
When: Oct. 11 from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Where: Santa Clara Universityâ€™s Recital Hall, 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, Calif., 95053
Who: The tour has brought together participants from all facets of the criminal justice system to address systemic and legal approaches for reducing prosecutorial error and misconduct, with the goal of reducing the number of wrongful convictions. The Northern California Innocence Project event at Santa Clara University is the only stop of the tour in California.
Other featured panelists will include:
- Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff RosenÂ and Santa Clara County Special Assistant District Attorney David Angel, Head of the Conviction Integrity Unit
- Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge James Emerson (Ret.)
- Tom Nolan, well-known defense attorney
- Robin Brune, Senior Trial Counsel, CalBar
- Kathleen â€œCookieâ€ Ridolfi, executive director of NCIP andÂ a leading scholar on the issue of prosecutorial misconduct, authored the groundbreaking report, Preventable Error: A Report on Prosecutorial Misconduct in California 1997-2009
- KQEDs Rachael Myrow, host of â€œThe California Reportâ€ will moderate
The tour is sponsored by the Prosecutorial Oversight Coalition which includes Santa Clara Lawâ€™s Northern California Innocence Project and the Veritas Initiative, its policy center; the Innocence Project; the Innocence Project of New Orleans; and Voices of Innocence. At the tourâ€™s conclusion, the coalition will prepare a report with recommendations for reform.