Wrongfully convicted and freed after 30 years in Angolan prison
from various sources – May 2017
submitted by – Danielle Roberts
News updates listed at the foot of this item
Glenn Ford, aged 65, was freed from the notorious Angola prison in Louisiana in March 2014 having lived under the shadow of the death sentence for 30 years. He became one of the longest-serving death row inmates in US history to be exonerated. Glenn died on 29 June 2015 surrounded by his close family and friends. His death was announced by the Innocence Project New Orleans, a legal advocacy organization. The cause was lung cancer, which was diagnosed shortly after he was released from prison.
Glenn was sentenced to death in 1984 for the murder of Isadore Rozeman, an older white man who ran a Shreveport jewellery and watch repair shop where he had worked as an odd jobs man.
He 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.
Glenn had spent most of his life in California, where he had a history of drug problems but no record of violent crime. In his early 30s, he moved back to hometown Shreveport, where he supported himself by doing odd jobs, including yard work for murder victim Mr Rozeman.
Glenn went on trial before an all-white jury in Shreveport in November 1984. His two court-appointed attorneys did not specialize in criminal law and had never tried a case before a jury.
The evidence that was presented in court and that ultimately decided Glenn’s conviction was from a key witness and circumstantial evidence based upon a coroner’s claim. The key witness in the trial (the girlfriend of one of the other 3 suspected men). The circumstantial evidence from the coroner’s report was based on a claim that stated that the fatal gunshot was fired with the left hand. Glenn Ford just happened to be left handed.
In interviews with police Glenn had 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.
The main reason as to why Glenn was a suspect was because he had handled the 38 revolver as well as jewellery that matched the description of the goods stolen from Isadore’s store. There were actually four other men who were accused but only Glenn ever stood trial for the killing.
Following sentencing he was sent to the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, a prison widely known for its brutal conditions. He was put in solitary confinement in an 8-by-10-foot cell.
Various appeals were turned down until 2000, when the Louisiana Supreme Court ordered that hearings be held on whether evidence had been suppressed and whether Mr. Ford had received ineffective counsel during his trial.
Marty Stroud III, The lead prosecutor for the case issued a statement upon the release of Glenn. He stated that “In 1984, I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning,”
On release from prison Glenn was given a debit card (which didn’t exist when he entered prison) for $20. He also got to keep the money in his prison bank account: 4 cents. When asked if he had any resentment, Glenn said, “Yeah, ’cause I’ve been locked up almost 30 years for something I didn’t do.”
According to Louisiana law, people wrongfully imprisoned are eligible for a maximum compensation of $250,000, plus up to $80,000 for “loss of life opportunities.”
After his release the effect of having been locked up on death row for three decades was apparent. According to the lawyers who represented him and travelled home with him, he did not realise that he had to even open the car door himself. “He was just sitting there and waiting for someone to come and tell him he could get out”
For the last 7 years of his sentence Glenn did not even go outside due to his solitary confinement. The outside world was completely foreign to him. An innocent man went to jail for 30 years for a crime that he did not commit and when he was released he had such little time to live.
Glenn was never married, but his survivors include several children and grandchildren. At his death he had two federal lawsuits pending against police and prosecutors and was seeking punitive damages for his years in prison. In a separate lawsuit, he sought redress for poor medical treatment.
Glenn Ford, exonerated death row inmate, dies
29 June 2015
The tragedy of Glenn Ford
3 July 2015