If you want to understand how Kyle Duncan, President Trump’s nominee to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, would serve in that role, consider how he behaved toward my late husband, John Thompson.
J.T., as we called him, spent 18 years in prison, 14 of them on death row, for a murder he did not commit. When it emerged that prosecutors in the office of Harry Connick, who was the former New Orleans district attorney, had destroyed evidence of his innocence to gain that conviction, he was granted a new trial, at which he was acquitted.
After his release, J.T. considered the long list of innocent men sent to prison by prosecutors in that same office who had withheld evidence. It was clear to him, as it is to any impartial observer, that the district attorney’s office for New Orleans has a track record of failing to turn over favorable evidence to defendants.
In 2003, J.T. sued the prosecutors who had hidden the evidence in his case for failing to train their lawyers on the importance of turning over favorable evidence. The jury, considering the blatant destruction of evidence in J.T.’s case, awarded him $1 million for every year he was on death row — $14 million in total.