A former prosecutor has published a letter of apology to a Louisiana man he sent to prison 30 years ago for murder after the man was released from prison this month.
Reports say that former prosecutor Marty Stroud wrote the apology letter in support of Glenn Ford as he attempts to be compensated by the state of Louisiana for the time he spent behind bars. Back in 1983, Ford was arrested and charged with the murder of Isadore Rozeman, a jeweler in Shreveport, Louisiana, and as lead prosecutor, Stroud sent him to death row for 30 years.
Earlier this month, Ford was released from prison after Louisiana state prosecutors determined they could no longer support the conviction. The jury in the original trial was all white and was carefully selected by the prosecution. Additionally, reports say that Ford was still found guilty of murder even though a primary witness admitted in court that she lied to protect her boyfriend, a suspect in the case.
Now, in his letter, Stroud admits where he was wrong and offers his full support for Ford as he moves forward with picking up the pieces of his life.
“I was at the trial of Glenn Ford from beginning to end. I witnessed the imposition of the death sentence upon him. I believed that justice was done,” Stroud wrote in the letter. "I had done my job. I was one of the prosecutors and I was proud of what I had done."
“Glenn Ford should be completely compensated to every extent possible because of the flaws of a system that effectively destroyed his life,” Stroud also wrote. “The audacity of the state’s effort to deny Mr. Ford any compensation for the horrors he suffered in the name of Louisiana justice is appalling.”
Stroud went on to admit that he didn’t properly do his job.
“My mindset was wrong and blinded me to my purpose of seeking justice, rather than obtaining a conviction of a person who I believed to be guilty,” Stroud admitted. “I did not hide evidence, I simply did not seriously consider that sufficient information may have been out there that could have led to a different conclusion. And that omission is on me."
“In 1984, I was 33 years old,” Stroud went on. “I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning. To borrow a phrase from Al Pacino in the movie ‘And Justice for All,’ ‘Winning became everything.’ After the death verdict in the Ford trial, I went out with others and celebrated with a few rounds of drinks. That's sick. I had been entrusted with the duty to seek the death of a fellow human being, a very solemn task that certainly did not warrant any ‘celebration.’ In my rebuttal argument during the penalty phase of the trial, I mocked Mr. Ford, stating that this man wanted to stay alive so he could be given the opportunity to prove his innocence. I continued by saying this should be an affront to each of you jurors, for he showed no remorse, only contempt for your verdict. How totally wrong was I."
“I speak only for me and no one else,” Stroud continued. “I apologize to Glenn Ford for all the misery I have caused him and his family. I apologize to the family of Mr. Rozeman for giving them the false hope of some closure. I apologize to the members of the jury for not having all of the story that should have been disclosed to them. I apologize to the court in not having been more diligent in my duty to ensure that proper disclosures of any exculpatory evidence had been provided to the defense.”
Stroud ended with a bold statement that spoke to the sincerity behind his apology.
“I end with the hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” he said. “But, I am also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it.”