Prosecutor Apologizes to Innocent Man He Put Away for 31 Years

Abena Agyeman-Fisher April 22, 2015

Marty Sroud, Glenn Ford

In the United States, being punished for an alleged crime is often — if not always — dependent upon one’s race. While laws customarily state that one should be judged by a jury of their peers, Black men have historically been judged by all-White juries who often put them away for the maximum penalty and time — irrespective of whether they are guilty or not. Such is the unfortunate case of Louisiana native Glenn Ford (pictured), who, after 31 years in prison, was still denied his exoneration money after it was determined he was innocent. What’s more, according to doctors, the now-fragile Ford has only about eight months to live, after being diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. Ford’s case was recently brought to the fore, after the prosecutor, Marty Stroud (pictured), who put him in jail wrote a letter of apology for having him incarcerated
even though he knew Ford was innocent.

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In 1983, Isidor Rosemond was found shot in the head at his home repair shop. At the time, Ford, who used to do Rosemond’s yard work, was immediately upbraided for the murder. Even though no eyewitness to the murder were found nor a murder weapon, Ford was quickly convicted of the crime in a seven-day trial.

Looking back on the conviction, Lead Prosecutor Stroud admitted to selecting an all-White jury to nail Ford to the crime. He also admits celebrating with friends after Ford was sentenced to death row, adding, “The deck was stacked [against him] going in.”

Stroud was recently moved to apologize to Ford, after Ford, who had served more than three decades behind bars, was denied his exoneration money even though he is innocent of the crime.


Writing a letter to Louisiana’s Shreveport Times, Stroud wrote, “I wasn’t as interested in justice as I was in winning. I apologize to Glenn Ford for all the misery I have caused him and his family.”

In addition, he commented on the paltry sum that Ford was denied, “My personal belief is he should be compensated. The cap on damages of a cap of $330,000 compensation is a joke,” Stroud said.

The letter prompted a meeting between the two, with Ford breaking down in tears after Stroud delivered his apology.

To Ford, Stroud said, “I want you to know that I’m very sorry, and it’s a stain on
me that will go with me to my grave.”

However, Ford ultimately decided not to forgive Stroud, responding, “It still cost me 31 years of my life and nothing at the end but death, because they give me six to eight months to live.

Watch Ford’s unfortunate story here:

It should be noted that cases in the United States, such as Ford’s, are the rule rather than the exception for many Blacks: Even though African Americans make up only 13 percent of the population, 41.75 percent of those who are on death row are Black, according to

These statistics are especially disconcerting when one considers that the White population, according to the U.S. Census, is 77.7 percent; yet, African Americans on death row are nearly the same as Whites who are on death row at 43 percent.

And if you take a closer look at the stats regarding Black American men, one in three Black men can expect to go to prison in their lifetime.

American Progress reports:

Individuals of color have a disproportionate number of encounters with law enforcement, indicating that racial profiling continues to be a problem. A report by the Department of Justice found that blacks and Hispanics were approximately three times more likely to be searched during a traffic stop than white motorists. African Americans were twice as likely to be arrested and almost four times as likely to experience the use of force during encounters with the police.

In addition, students of color face harsher punishments than White peers, which translates to more youth of color being incarcerated. And those youth of color who are incarcerated in juvenile prisons are more likely to be sentenced to adult prison.

Today, in an effort to bring justice to the masses of people who are guilty until proven innocent, many are pushing for DNA to be considered in criminal cases so that innocent people aren’t wrongfully put away for crimes they didn’t do.

According to the Innocence Project, which exonerates innocent victims in the U.S. criminal justice system using DNA, 63 percent of the people who are cleared of crimes using DNA are Black.

What does this mean?

It means that many more Glenn Fords are currently locked away in America’s prisons.

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Last Edited by:Abena Agyeman-Fisher Updated: September 15, 2018


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