Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

The Willingham Files

September 29, 2011

Thompson honored for Willingham work

Navarro County DA recognized by state association

Join the discussion on this story by using the Facebook app to the right.

 

Lowell Thompson, Navarro County District Attorney, was honored by his peers at the Texas District and County Attorneys Association conference last week in Corpus Christi with the Lone Star Award for his work on the Willingham case.

In fall 2010, the Innocence Project sought a hearing that would declare Cameron Todd Willingham innocent six years after his execution. By opposing it, Thompson was able to make the judge involved and the New York advocacy group, abide by state law.

“The Lone Star Award recognizes prosecutors who have best demonstrated excellence in the direct representation of the people of Texas during the preceding 12 months. The award identifies and commends Texas prosecutors who have distinguished themselves and the profession through exemplary work in cases of public interest,” stated Sarah Wolf with the Texas District and County Attorneys Association.

“Lowell Thompson was honored by the community of prosecutors for his willingness to stand up for the rule of law. When a district court judge in Austin convened what was widely viewed in the legal community as an illegal ‘court of inquiry’ related to the much-publicized Willingham case, Mr. Thompson decided to appear at the Austin proceedings to represent the State and ask that the law relevant to courts of inquiry be observed. Even after the district judge refused to allow Mr. Thompson to be heard as the attorney for the State, Mr. Thompson pressed the Third Court of Appeals to compel the district judge to follow the law. The Court of Appeals quickly agreed with Mr. Thompson and ordered the judge to follow the law,” Wolf explained in a press release.

Cameron Todd Willingham was a Corsicana man who convicted in 1992 for setting his house on fire and killing his three daughters. He was executed in 2004 for his crimes. The Innocence Project opposes the death penalty and has taken Willingham as an example of an execution that shouldn’t have taken place.

No one was expected to appear for the September 2010 hearing before Judge Charlie Baird in Austin, but Thompson did show up with a motion asking the judge to recuse himself for conflict of interest. When the judge tried to steamroll the case forward anyway, Thompson took it to the Third Court of Appeals and had the illegal proceedings stopped.

“My colleagues are under the impression that had I not gone down there it would have just gone unchecked, something that wasn’t a valid court hearing in Texas,” Thompson said. “It would have been extremely misleading to public in general about what could, or did happen.

“I was proud I got the award. They don’t give those out lightly,” Thompson said. “I was surprised and honored.”

—————

Janet Jacobs may be reached via e-mail at jacobs@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “sound off” to this article? E-mail: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com

1
Text Only
The Willingham Files
  • Science panel suggests review of arson convictions

    A Texas commission no longer allowed to investigate a case where death penalty opponents say a man may have been executed based on a faulty arson investigation recommended Friday that all cases involving people locked up on arson convictions be reviewed.

    October 29, 2011

  • 9-30 DA Award.jpg Thompson honored for Willingham work

    Lowell Thompson, Navarro County District Attorney, was honored by his peers at the Texas District and County Attorneys Association conference last week in Corpus Christi with the Lone Star Award for his work on the Willingham case.

    September 29, 2011 1 Photo

  • Willingham not on science panel agenda DALLAS (AP) — A state science panel looking into a possible wrongful conviction in a Texas death penalty case is meeting for the first time since Gov. Rick Perry removed several members, but the execution case is not on the agenda.

    January 21, 2010

  • (12-14-09) Tarrant County medical examiner appointed to forensic commission Gov. Rick Perry has appointed Tarrant County's medical examiner to the Texas Forensic Science Commission, a group shaken up this fall when Perry replaced several members.

    December 14, 2009

  • images_sizedimage_336091456 (12-02-09) Jurors defend verdict that led to Texas execution David Martin is sickened by the suggestion that Texas executed an innocent man when Cameron Todd Willingham was put to death for setting a fire that killed his three children.

    December 2, 2009 1 Photo

  • (11-10-09) Forensic panel chair offers plans The Texas Forensic Science Commission is not going to debate the death penalty or decide the guilt or innocence of individual cases, said John Bradley

    November 10, 2009

  • (11-08-09) GUEST COMMENTARY: A work in progress I am John Bradley, the elected District Attorney in Williamson County and the new presiding officer of the nine-member Texas Forensic Science Commission. I am writing to introduce myself, explain the purpose of the Commission and inform you about the work the Commission now faces.

    November 9, 2009

  • (10-27-09) Texas Forensic Science Commission questioned The City of Corsicana is questioning the Texas Forensic Science Commission’s ability to look at the case of Cameron Todd Willingham, since it happened 14 years before the commission was created.

    November 2, 2009

  • (10-26-09) Report: Willingham's former wife, 'He confessed' In a story on the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's online newspaper today, Stacey Kykendall, the former wife of executed Cameron Todd Willingham, says he confessed to her before his execution.

    October 27, 2009

  • Death penalty opponents rally at Texas Capitol AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Death penalty opponents, convinced an innocent man was executed in 2004, staged a rally Saturday at the Texas Capitol to call for a moratorium on capital punishment and to highlight the controversial case of Cameron Todd Willingham.

    October 24, 2009

AP Video
Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge US Supports Ukraine's Efforts to Calm Tensions Suspect in Kansas Shootings Faces Murder Charges Ukraine: Military Recaptures Eastern Airport Raw: Storm Topples RVs Near Miss. Gulf Coast NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse Pistorius Cries During Final Cross-Examination The Boston Marathon Bombing: One Year Later Michael Phelps Set to Come Out of Retirement First Women Move to Army Platoon Artillery Jobs Sex Offenders Charged in Serial Killings Police: Woman Stored Dead Babies in Garage OC Serial Murder Suspects May Have More Victims Family: 2 Shot in Head at Kan. Jewish Center Raw: Horse Jumping Inspires 'Bunny Hop' After Attack, Officials Kill 5 Bears in Florida Popular Science Honors Year's Top Inventions ND Oil Boom Attracting Drug Traffickers
Seasonal Content
House Ads
Twitter Updates
Front page
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide