John Thompson photo

John Thompson

Innocence Network Champion of Justice Award Winner


JT, John Thompson (1962-2017), was a survivor of two wrongful convictions and a death sentence. Upon his exoneration in 2003, JT emerged from 18 years in Louisiana’s Angola prison with a determination to serve his community and fix the criminal justice system. In 2005, he successfully campaigned for Louisiana’s first wrongful conviction compensation law. In 2007, he founded Resurrection After Exoneration in New Orleans, the first exoneree run holistic reentry program in the country. He was awarded a Petra Foundation Fellowship for this work providing shelter and support for dozens of exonerees and returning prisoners. JT passionately fought for prosecutorial accountability, and his own case against the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office went all the way to the Supreme Court in the historic Connick v. Thompson decision. He was awarded a prestigious Soros Justice Fellowship to lead a national campaign fighting prosecutorial impunity. JT was a leading voice and board member of Witness to Innocence and fought to end the death penalty in Louisiana and nationally. More than his remarkable list of achievements, JT was a brilliant, kind, passionate human being full of joy and humor. The biography shared at his Home Going Celebration gave the simplest and most profound summary of JT: To truly know him was to know raw love.