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John Thompson vs. American Justice

When police showed up to question John Thompson, he was worried that he had sold drugs to an undercover cop. Winner of the TC/RHDF 2018 Best Documentary: Bronze Award.

2018 Third Coast / Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Competition

2018 / Andrew Marantz / Sarah Lustbader / Katherine Wells / New Yorker Radio Hour, USA

When police showed up to question John Thompson, he was worried that he had sold drugs to an undercover cop. Winner of the TC/RHDF 2018 Best Documentary: Bronze Award.

When he realized they were investigating a murder, he could only laugh: “Shit, for real? Murder?” Thompson insisted on his innocence, but New Orleans prosecutors wanted a conviction, and he quickly landed on death row. Eighteen years later, and just weeks before his execution date, Thompson’s lawyers discovered that a prosecutor had hidden exculpatory evidence from the defense.

John Thompson vs. American Justice was produced by Andrew Marantz, Sarah Lustbader, and Katherine Wells and edited by David Krasnow for The New Yorker Radio Hour a coproduction of WNYC Studios and The New Yorker. With editorial guidance from Jad Abumrad, Suzie Lechtenberg, and Ave Carrillo, and technical direction by Louis Mitchell.


produced by

Andrew Marantz

Andrew Marantz is a staff writer at The New Yorker, where he covers many topics, including technology, online culture, and comedy.

Sarah Lustbader

Sarah Lustbader is Senior Legal Counsel at the Fair Punishment Project.

Katherine Wells

Katherine Wells is the executive producer of podcasts at The Atlantic.


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