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District Attorney of Caddo Parish Louisiana and Wrongful Death Penalty


Recently, I posted a piece about the wrongful death penalty given to Rodericus Crawford, who was convicted of smothering his son when he discovered the infant to be dead on awakening in the morning.  The infant actually died of pneumonia and sepsis during the night, but the district attorney ran with an erroneous autopsy report that ignored the evidence of pneumonia and cerebral edema in reaching its conclusion of “homicide by smothering” and “chronic child abuse” in February 2012.

Yesterday, I saw the name of the district attorney again in a news report about a man who had been released, exonerated, after over twenty-nine years on death row.  The man had died of lung cancer only sixteen months after his release.  He was sixty-five years old, and his name was Glenn Ford.  The news article described how Mr. Ford was released due to “newly discovered and credible exculpatory evidence” provided by a confidential informant to Dale G. Cox.  Mr. Cox was first assistant district attorney in 2013, when he received the confidential informant’s story, at Caddo Parish, Shreveport, Louisiana.  Mr. Cox was the prosecuting attorney responsible for railroading Rodericus Crawford, who was convicted in November 2013 and sentenced to death.

By coincidence, the information came to Mr. Cox while he was investigating a murder and interviewing a confidential informant; he said that he was unable to reveal the identity of his source but that it was credible and he now believed that the murder was committed by two other men.  Mr. Ford’s involvement was limited to receiving stolen goods from the victim’s pawn shop and selling them; he had no prior knowledge of the murder, nor any direct knowledge about the two who had committed the murder and robbery.

The original trial in which Mr. Ford was convicted featured testimony from the girlfriend of one of the other two men, who admitted that she had lied before, and testimony that the murder was committed by a left-handed man, which was suspicious because Mr. Ford was left-handed.

The story, in the New York Times, included this quote from the lead prosecutor in the case in which Mr. Ford was convicted:

“In March [2015], A. M. Stroud III, lead prosecutor at trial, wrote a remorseful article in The Shreveport Times, declaring, “Glenn Ford was an innocent man,” taking responsibility for a rush to judgment and arguing for the abolition of the death penalty.”

The murder for which Mr. Ford was convicted occurred in November 1983.  Ironically, according to the New Yorker article about the new case, Mr. Cox had been opposed to the death penalty when he was young.  He was Catholic and attended a Jesuit school.  He had worked in the district attorney’s office for six years in 1983 when he resigned, saying that he didn’t feel comfortable pursuing death penalty cases.  (According to Catholic doctrine, the death penalty is wrong.)  However, by the time he returned to the district attorney’s office full time in 2011, he had changed his mind.  He now says that he believes the death penalty should be applied more, not less, as revenge, because it does not work as a deterrent.

Dale G. Cox is a sick man.  He is responsible for the wrongful application of the death penalty in more than one case.  His action in allowing Mr. Ford to be released was an aberration, and it is not clear to me why he did so.  It may have been forced upon him by other members of the district attorney’s team, such as Mr. Stroud, because he stated that he believed Mr. Ford was at least partly responsible for the robbery and murder which resulted in his being sent to death row.  He thought that Mr. Ford’s actions in fencing the stolen goods were certainly culpable.

On the other hand, exonerating Mr. Ford of the crime of murdering Isadore Rozeman, 58, the owner of a small jewelry shop, allows him to prosecute two other men, who clearly committed the crime and are already in jail for other violent crimes.  Perhaps he thinks he can get the death penalty on them both.

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