The New York State Bar Association mourns the death of Kenneth P. Thompson, who served as Brooklyn district attorney for nearly three years.
“We are saddened by the passing of Kenneth Thompson, who reminded New Yorkers that the primary duty of the criminal justice system is not to convict, but to do justice,” said Association President Claire P. Gutekunst.
After taking office in 2014, Thompson moved to revitalize the wrongful conviction review unit at the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office. Since then, 21 people have been exonerated.
Thompson gave the keynote address at the State Bar Association’s Presidential Summit on Wrongful Conviction on January 28, 2015.
“There is no perfection in the criminal justice system, but we must do more—we must act to correct the miscarriages of justice,” he said in his speech, adding:
“If we don’t safeguard the integrity of the criminal justice system, then innocent men and women will be convicted wrongfully. And many guilty people will be wrongfully acquitted.
“When that happens, we all lose and when the system fails and people are wrongfully convicted, you have the guilty who remain among us to continue to commit murder, rape, robberies, and continue to terrorize our communities.”
“I stand with this Association to do all we can as the Brooklyn DA and all we can in this country to do what is right—to protect the public and do justice.”
Gutekunst said, “Although, sadly, Ken Thompson’s voice has been stilled, his legacy will inspire our Association’s continued efforts to end wrongful convictions, thus protecting the public and doing justice.“
The 74,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. It was founded in 1876.
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