As we reported in this week's issue, "Blood Money: A $15 million judgment against the DA's office has new District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro on the financial ropes, and that may be only the beginning," DA Cannizzaro continues to appeal the Thompson case, but the possibility of reversing the $15 million judgment (for wrongful conviction because of prosecutorial misconduct) is slim. And while the appeals process is going on, interest on the $15 million is accumulating.
Michael Banks, an attorney representing Thompson, says the interest rate is tied to a federal rate, and has been accruing since the initial jury verdict against the Orleans district attorney's office in February 2007.
"It's almost two years of interest, and even at just 3 percent compounded, it's at least $900,000," Banks says.
In December, Cannizzaro contacted the state treasurer John N. Kennedy, requesting permission to file for bankruptcy because of the case. This past Friday, after a two-hour meeting in the Governor's office, Cannizzaro withdrew his request, and has vowed to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary. Banks says he has sent a letter to a number of state officials, including the governor and the attorney general, stating they don't think it's appropriate for the DA to file for bankruptcy.
Banks adds that he and Thompson are dismayed that after five years (since the original wrongful conviction case was filed) the DA's office still refuses to speak with Banks about a possible settlement.
"How can a dialogue hurt the taxpayers of the state?" Banks asks.