Louisiana Record

Saturday, August 17, 2019

LADB dismisses charges against prosecutor in wrongful murder conviction

By Karen Kidd | May 9, 2018

NEW ORLEANS (Louisiana Record) — The Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board (LADB) has dismissed charges against Covington attorney and Jefferson Parish prosecutor Ken John Dohre in the wrongful conviction of an Avondale man who spent 15 in prison before he was exonerated.

The LADB's decision was counter to a hearing committee's recommendation in March 2017 that Dohre be suspended for a year and a day for failing to disclose a witness' conflicting grand jury testimony and for allowing Landry to testify falsely at the trial. "The board declines to adopt the committee's report and recommendation and, finding that clear and convincing proof of misconduct has not been established, dismisses the formal charges," the LADB's 20-page ruling said.

Dohre was the prosecutor in the conviction of Williams, who served more than 15 years in prison after he was convicted of second degree murder in the stabbing death of a 25-year-old Waggaman woman based solely on false testimony. "The only evidence linking Williams to the murder was the testimony of Christopher Landry, who completely recanted his testimony in 2009," the LADB's ruling said.

Dohre was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on April 27, 1990, according to his profile at the Louisiana State Bar Association's website. Dohre had no prior discipline before the state bar, according to the the LADB's recommendation.

Williams, currently on the National Registry of Exonerations, filed a lawsuit in federal court in 2012 against Dohre, as well as the Jefferson Parish district attorney's office, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office, former district attorney John Mamoulides, district attorney Paul Connick Jr. and Sheriff Newell Normand.

The office of disciplinary counsel, following its investigation, had sought to dismiss charges against Dohre "however, on May 20, 2015, a divided Louisiana Supreme Court remanded the matter for further investigation," the LADB's ruling said. "After concluding its investigation, the ODC filed formal charges."

In its own 22-page recommendation, the hearing committee said it was "moved by the severe consequences dealt to Mr. Williams. Civilized people understand that life is too short to waste. Time taken from another is theft of that person's life. It is difficult to imagine the suffering imposed on Mr. Williams every moment of every day that he spent incarcerated, knowing that he was not guilty."

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Organizations in this Story

Innocence Project New Orleans Jefferson Parish District Attorney Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board Louisiana State Bar Association Louisiana Supreme Court