March 12, 2014 11:56 am -

Glenn Ford was in the Angola prison in Louisiana for 30 years, facing the possibility of death.

Ford was released on the order of a judge in Shreveport after Louisiana state prosecutors indicated they could no longer stand by his conviction. In late 2013 the state notified Ford’s lawyers that a confidential informant had come forward with new information implicating another man who had been among four co-defendants originally charged in the case.

He was sentenced to death in 1984 for the murder the previous November of Isadore Rozeman, an older white man who ran a Shreveport jewellery and watch repair shop. The defendant had worked as an odd jobs man for Rozeman. In interviews with police Ford said that he had been asked to pawn a .38 revolver and some jewellery similar to that taken from Rozeman’s shop at the time of the murder by another man who was among the initial suspects.

This case shows the difference in how the justice system treats whites and blacks.

Among the many all too typical problems with his prosecution was the composition of the jury. An African American, Ford was sentenced to death by a jury that had been carefully selected by prosecutors to be exclusively white.

His legal representation at trial was woefully inexperienced. The lead defence counsel was a specialist in the law relating to oil and gas exploration and had never tried a case in front of a jury; the second attorney was two years out of law school and working at the time of the trial on small automobile accident insurance cases.

D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.