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Eighteen Years Behind Bars for a Prosecutor's Misconduct

Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2010

Case to be discussed Sept. 8 led the Supreme Court to agree to a rare hearing on the boundaries of immunity for prosecutorial misconduct.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. Aug. 25, 2010 — A breakfast lecture Sept. 8 will feature John Hollway, author of a book detailing the true story of a man who spent 18 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit.

The breakfast, to which media and others interested in social justice are invited, will take place at the offices of the Northern California Innocence Project (NCIP) at Santa Clara University. The address is 900 Lafayette Street, Suite 105, Santa Clara, CA 95050 (corner of Homestead and Lafayette). Continental breakfast will be provided at 7:30 a.m., with Hollway’s presentation from 8 to 9 a.m.

The subject of Hollway’s book, John Thompson, spent 18 years on death row in Louisiana for crimes he didn’t commit. After a long legal battle, he was proved to be innocent based on the discovery of blood evidence and newly discovered witnesses that prosecutors had failed to turn over. Thompson was awarded $14 million by a jury as compensation for prosecutorial misconduct in 2007, but that award has been challenged by the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s office, which has argued to the Supreme Court that governments, like individual prosecutors, should have absolute immunity from lawsuits over mistakes in prosecution. That landmark case will be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court Oct. 6.

Prof. Kathleen “Cookie” Ridolfi, executive director of the NCIP at Santa Clara University, has for the past five years been researching instances of prosecutorial misconduct in California. Prof. Ridolfi will also be at the breakfast and can discuss her work, including an upcoming, detailed study of nearly 700 cases of prosecutorial misconduct in the state.

Students or others seeking to attend this free event can register online at

About John  Hollway
John Hollway is an attorney and writer.  He has practiced law in a variety of settings, including working both in a federal prosecutor’s office and as a defense attorney in state and federal courts. “Killing Time:  An 18-Year Odyssey from Death Row to Freedom,” published in May, 2010 by Skyhorse Publishing, is his first book.

About NCIP
The Northern California Innocence Project (NCIP) at Santa Clara University School of Law, a part of the International Innocence Network, operates as a law school clinical program where students, clinical fellows, attorneys, pro bono counsel, and volunteers work to identify and provide legal representation to wrongfully convicted prisoners. NCIP is also dedicated to raising public awareness about the prevalence and causes of wrongful conviction, as well as promoting substantive legal reforms to present future wrongful convictions.

Media contact: 
Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Relations | (408) 554-5121 |


Tags: law, law school, NCIP, prosecutorial misconduct

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