Apr 012015
 

Hats off to A. M. „Marty“ Stroud, III. There are not many like him in Louisiana, who admit their failures and have grown to go against the tide.

Stroud does know the system from both sides. Directly after graduating law school with honors in 1976, he started his career as law clerk at the U.S. Court of the Western District of Louisiana. He served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Western District of Louisiana and a First Assistant District Attorney in Caddo Parish. Since 1989, Stroud has been in private practice (civil and criminal law).

In 1984, the 33-year old lead assistant district attorney prosecuted Glenn Ford, whose murder conviction was overturned in 2014. Stroud, who had sought the death penalty and celebrated the victory with some rounds of drinks, now describes himself in a letter to the Shreveport Times:

 I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.

Marty Stroud does what he can to correct what was done to the innocent, now terminally ill man. He contacted Ford to apologize, he speaks up against capital punishment, apologizes to the victim’s family, the jury and the court. Stroud shows remorse in a video and urges the state to compensate Ford. Unfortunately, the local district court ruled differently on March 27, 2015.

Read how Stroud is connected to Vincent Simmons’ case in the book “Louisiana v. Vincent Simmons: Frame-up in Avoyelles Parish.” 

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Jul 102013
 

Judge Benjamin C. Bennett, Jr.

District Judge Benjamin C. Bennett, Jr. (1987-1990)

Judge Benjamin Clyde Bennett, Jr. passed away at his residence in Marksville on Tuesday, July 9, 2013 at the age of 88. He was the judge who presided at the Avoyelles Parish District Court and denied Vincent Simmons’ Application for a Writ of Mandamus in 1988, in which the prisoner had requested a copy of his arrest report.

His son, Judge William Joseph Bennett, is alleged to have been the sentencing judge in Simmons’ case, according to defense lawyer Laurie White’s review of the pre-parole report. The true trial judge was Judge Earl Edwards, who died in 1998 at the age of 90.

Judge Benjamin C. Bennett’s second son, John Taylor Bennett, also is a lawyer. He partnered with retired District Attorney Charles A. Riddle, Jr. (the father of current District Attorney Charles A. Riddle, III) who had previously practiced with “Eddie” Knoll (Simmons’ prosecutor).

Go to the obituary here.

 

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Oct 082012
 

The 40-year old “War on Drugs” neither has been effective, nor is it really a war on the root of the problem. It is a war on the people. The chapter “Politics, Drugs, Dollars, Pleas and Snitches” in the book Louisiana v. Vincent Simmons – Frame-up in Avoyelles Parish very briefly explains why this policy has greatly failed and continues to fail. However, the new documentary The House I Live In goes into deep detail. It is a comprehensive review of the criminalization of drugs,  the federal and state criminal justice systems, the mandatory minimum sentencing scheme and America’s prison industrial complex. This film won the Grand Jury Prize of 2012 for documentary at the Sundance Film Festival and has been in the theaters since October 5, 2012.

One of the alleged rape victims in Vincent Simmons’ criminal case and her 18-year old cousin admitted to police that marijuana was an issue that certain night in question back in 1977. It was one of the many facts the prosecutors withheld from the defense, the judge and the jury.

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Nov 232011
 

book cover Louisiana v. Vincent Simmons

Book Cover

 Alexander Cameron of Virginia (USA) writes concerning the book “Louisiana v. Vincent Simmons: Frame-up in Avoyelles Parish”:

“… exculpatory evidence can sometimes become the victim of ‘willful blindness’ and the modus operandi for this style of blindness is money and I’m more than certain you are in full possession of the following knowledge:
Once it has been estabilshed in a court of law that the State (i.e. the Prosecutor) or one of its expert(s) witnesses have engaged in unlawful conduct to procure a conviction, that conviction and any other conviction that particular public official was involved in must be overturned or retried which will cost the State millions not-to-mention the civil suits that are sure to follow, therefore, it’s a no brainer from the perspective of the State: ‘It’s cheaper to keep’em’ i.e. let (him) die in prison before we take responsibility.”

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