Saturday, June 10, 2006

Making a difference

This Philadelphia columnist has come to the conclusion which motivates many a pro bono capital defense lawyer:
If you're on the fence about capital punishment, as I have been - vacillating between horror at the growing number of death-row inmates who turn out to be innocent, and rage at the brutal killers responsible for the daily carnage in our streets - this case may settle the issue for you. It did for me.
This case involves the work of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius partners Michael Banks and J. Gordon Cooney, Jr. When they first started representing convicted murderer John Thompson, they weren't thinkng about exonerating an innocent man:
What's deeply chilling about the Thompson case is that there was nothing at first glance to suggest he was innocent - nothing to make it a moral cause celebre. "There were no red flags," Banks said at a Philadelphia Bar Association presentation about the case last week. Thompson was exonerated only because Banks and Cooney, partners at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, wanted to do a pro-bono capital case to ensure that a death-row inmate had received a fair trial.
This story is now a movie starring Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. My guess is that John Thompson would cast Messrs. Banks and Cooney in the starring roles. These guys really made a difference.


Post a Comment

<< Home