Standing outside in a denim shirt and dark-rimmed glasses, 64-year-old Glenn Ford said he feels resentment when remembering the nearly 30 years he served on Louisiana’s death row for a crime he didn’t commit. In fact, prosecutors now say he wasn’t even at the scene of the murder and did not participate in it.
But now, he’s a free man.
A judge ordered Ford’s release from the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, where he had been held since March 1985.
He was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to die by electrocution by an all-white jury that found him guilty in the robbery and murder of Isadore Rozeman, a Shreveport watchmaker who was killed in his repair shop on Nov. 5, 1983, according to Reuters. It was a verdict Ford always disputed, saying he wasn’t even there. But, until recently, the courts wouldn’t listen.
How many people have served time on death row, years, decades even, and then been exonerated? That's not even the most chilling question; that would be: how many people have been executed for crimes they did not commit?
If even one innocent person has ever been executed for a crime, that is one person too many. Given that our nation has the ability to incarcerate those convicted of crimes in such a way that public safety is preserved, the death penalty should be abolished. Justice may have taken 30 years in the case of Mr. Ford, but better justice late than the final injustice of the execution of the innocent.