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Entries in John Thompson (2)

Thursday
Oct272011

Rescued Zanesville Animals Quarantined at Columbus Zoo

Jay LaPrete/Getty Images(REYNOLDSVILLE, OH) -- There is a possibility that Marian Thompson, the widow of Terry Thompson, will be reclaiming the six animals that survived last week’s tragedy at the couple’s farm in Zanesville, Ohio, but not any time soon.

Three leopards, two Celebes macaques and a grizzly bear have all been in the care of experts at the Columbus Zoo since they were rescued. The 49 other animals that were released by Thompson before his suicide were shot and killed by law enforcement personnel because they posed a serious threat to public safety.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture has issued a quarantine order for the six animals currently at the zoo due to the possibility that the animals could be infected with disease as a result of the conditions in which they were reportedly held.

This order indefinitely prohibits the Zoo from moving or releasing the animals to their owner until they are deemed no longer a potential disease thereat.

Marian Thompson can appeal the quarantine order and may request a hearing within thirty days.

According to a press release, the zoo had no legal rights to the animals and removed them from the farm with permission of Marian Thompson.

The Columbus Zoo has been working with the state government to draft a law that would enact stronger Ohio laws restricting private ownership of such exotic animals.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr012011

Innocent Man Denied $14 Million in Damages After Years on Death Row

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Fourteen might not be John Thompson's lucky number.

He spent 14 years on death row in Louisiana until a stunning revelation came to light: the prosecution had failed to turn over a police crime lab report that would eventually prove his innocence.

As a free man, Thompson went on to win a $14 million award after a jury found that the Louisiana district attorney for Orleans Parish had failed to train his prosecutors about their legal obligation to turn over favorable evidence to the defense.  But on Tuesday, Thompson was stripped of the award by a divided Supreme Court.

Thompson says that since he became a free man, not much can make him angry.

"If I wasn't shaken by the seven execution dates I got, or watching my friends on death row die, I can't be shaken by what the world has to offer out here," he said in a recent interview.

But he says that he is angry that the Supreme Court ruling means no one will be held accountable for his years on death row, or his near execution.

"It's not about $14 million, because that was never my money anyway," he said.  "People should be worried about what it means: there is no accountability.  We just gave prosecutors permission to kill.  That's the reality. "

Thompson's odyssey began in 1985 when he was convicted of murder and, in a separate case, attempted armed robbery.  He was sentenced to death.  However, just weeks before the execution, Thompson's attorneys discovered that during the trial the prosecution had learned the blood type of the perpetrator.  The information was never made available to the defense.

Once Thompson's lawyers discovered the report, they knew he would be found innocent because the blood type of the perpetrator did not match Thompson's.

As a free man, Thompson eventually sued the district attorney's office, run by Harry Connick Sr. (the father of the famous singer).  He won $14 million in a civil rights judgment based on the jury's finding that Mr. Connick had been "deliberately indifferent" to the need to train his prosecutors about their legal obligation to turn over evidence that could be favorable to the defense.  An appeals court affirmed the district court's ruling.

But lawyers for Connick appealed the case to the Supreme Court, arguing that a single incident could not prove that a district attorney failed to train prosecutors on the obligations to turn over evidence.  The Supreme Court agreed, with the majority of the justices finding that Connick's office could not be held liable.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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