It is said that if it weren’t for two men, Louisiana wouldn’t have capital punishment:  Dale Cox and Hugo Holland, both fervent supporters of the death penalty and both controversial.  Of the 12 death sentences handed down in Louisiana in the last 5 years, 8 came from Caddo Parish (67%).  Caddo Parish is one of the 2% of U.S. counties that are responsible for more than 50% of all death sentences.  With a population of just over a quarter of a million people, Caddo Parish has sentenced 16 people to death row, the second highest in Louisiana.

RELATED: THE 2% DEATH PENALTY: How a Minority of Counties Produce Most Death Cases at Enormous Costs to All Report

Cox and Holland, two prosecutors, one of whom is under investigation for prosecutorial misconduct, the other not a big fan of exonerations, are responsible for 6 of those.

Hugo Holland, who handled two cases that resulted in death sentences in the last 5 years, is being investigated by the Disciplinary Board of Louisiana’s Bar Association for failing to turn over evidence favorable to a defendant (David Brown) accused of killing a prison guard.  That defendant’s death sentence was overturned in 2014.

Prosecutor Dale Cox, who obtained 4 of the death sentences, has said he believes death row inmates spend too long awaiting execution, but waited almost a year to sign off on the release of an exonerated inmate.  Glenn Ford was convicted in Caddo Parish and sentenced to death.  He spent 30 years on death row before evidence was uncovered that he was innocent. Cox is a chief assistant district attorney and recently said how much of a shame it is that people aren’t executed more often.

The comment came after a letter to the editor was printed in the Shreveport Times from Marty Stroud, who 30 years ago, occupied the same position in the DA’s Office as Cox does.  In that capacity, Stroud wrongfully convicted Glenn Ford, the man Cox wasn’t too eager to help.

Stroud has expressed deep remorse for his actions.  Fortunately for Ford and Stroud, Louisiana doesn’t execute inmates very fast.  That’s in spite of pushing by people like Cox.

Ford was released last year.  In his letter, Stroud lamented the death penalty as “barbaric” and apologized for what he did to Ford.  Stroud said he believed Ford deserved to be compensated for going through hell.  He also called for the abolishment of the death penalty. Several days later, a state judge denied Ford’s bid for compensation.  Ford is dying of lung cancer, so the day he will see any compensation will probably never come.

Cox said that 10 months wasn’t long to wait for your release, “It concerned me the most that we handled it timely. Don’t sit on this another year or two. You can outthink yourself on this stuff.”

Cox makes no apologies for his view, he admits that capital punishment is “state-assisted revenge”, but believes that society is entitled to it.

“I think we need to kill more people,” Cox said, “we’re going the wrong way with the death penalty; we need it more than ever…”

He and Holland have certainly done their best to keep the death penalty alive, so to speak.

Holland no longer works with the DA’s Office.  He and Lea Hall, another prosecutor who worked 4 of the successful death penalty cases, were fired for obtaining automatic rifles from the Federal Property Assistance Agency for murky reasons. While the two no longer work as prosecutors in the parish, they still hang around the prosecution circles.  Hall last year pulled a gun on a prosecutor in the Claiborne Parish DA’s Office.

Cox, meanwhile, is full force capital punishment motivated.  Where Stroud and others see the danger of executing an innocent person, wasteful spending of millions of dollars, and other issues, Cox sees more reason to execute faster.

What’s next for Cox? When the Louisiana Supreme Court hears Lamondre Tucker’s appeal next month, they will hear all about how Cox tainted the sentencing phase by making up an earlier shooting.


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