Below is the unbelievable story of Mr. Glenn Ford, an exonerated former death row prisoner, free for less than a year after 30 years of wrongful imprisonment, subsequently diagnosed with advanced lung cancer:
Excerpted from "What are 30 Years Worth?" by Andrew Cohen,
"You probably don’t remember Glenn Ford or his remarkable story of injustice and redemption. Eleven months ago, he walked out of a Louisiana penitentiary after spending 30 years on death row for a murder he did not commit. He was able to do so only after a new generation of prosecutors finally acknowledged in court what their predecessors knew or should have known all along: that there was “credible evidence” that Ford “was neither present at, nor a participant in, the robbery and murder” of Isadore Rozeman, an elderly jeweler who was shot to death in Shreveport on November 5, 1983.
Ford, a black man, was swiftly convicted by an all-white jury in 1984 for Rozeman’s murder but the case against him was always weak. His trial lawyers were uniquely unqualified to represent him in a capital case. The most important eyewitness for prosecutors later confessed she had lied about Ford’s involvement in the murder. The murder weapon was never found. The forensic evidence pointed away from Ford, who early on identified the two likely killers, and on top of that the coroner delivered flawed testimony. But for 30 years, as Ford’s case toggled back and forth between state and federal courts, no judge deemed any of this prejudicial enough to rescue the condemned man, who maintained his innocence the whole time.
We still don’t know for sure precisely why Louisiana changed its mind about Glenn Ford. But it was clear when Ford left the notorious Angola prison on March 11, 2014 that his reentry into the free world would be difficult. And it has been. He has suffered two terrible blows over the past year. He has been diagnosed with stage-three lung cancer* that has spread to his lymph nodes and now to his bones. And, despite officially exonerating him for Rozeman’s murder, Louisiana now is refusing to compensate him for the decades the state wrongfully incarcerated him. More than one person involved in this case, including Ford himself, believe that state officials may simply be biding their time, and delaying the resolution of this dispute, in the hope that Ford will die of his cancer before the state must pay him."
*since the publication of this article, Ford has passed.