For each of our exoneree interviews, we’re taking your questions that you want us to ask, and the answers will be able to be viewed in the online archive, which will contain the interviews in their entirety. However, we thought you might like to see the answers sooner than that, so we’re publishing them here on our blog after each one.

Submit your questions for each of our exonerees on our Facebook, via Twitter by using the hashtag #oneforten or by emailing them to info@oneforten. Next up is Randy Steidl, so get your questions in for him before Saturday.

Damon Thibodeaux was interrogated for 9 hours before falsely confessing to the killing of his 14-year-old step-cousin.

Damon Thibodeaux was interrogated for 9 hours before falsely confessing to the killing of his 14-year-old step-cousin.

Here are Damon’s answers to your questions:

From Petra De Jong:  Has he met (m)any of the other death row exonerees? Is there someone among them whom he admires and if so, why?

I have. Over the weekend, I was at the Innocence Network Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. I got to meet quite a few exonerees. A whole lot of them I admire. Because they’re not hiding away in a hole somewhere after going through something like this, they’re not out living stupidly. They don’t have an attitude like, now that I have my freedom back and my compensation money, I’m going to just forget the rest of the world and just do what I want to do. It’s not just any one exoneree who I admire, it’s the whole lot of them because it’s not easy trying to put your life back together after going through something like this and spending, 10, 15, 20 years in prison for something you didn’t do. It’s not easy, but we get out and we fight to put our life back together, take back what they took from us. It’s not easy most times, but it can be done and that’s what I admire.

From Geraldine Warren: Damon, after being sentenced to death, did you fight against your false confession? What legal channels are available for doing so? 

It just depends on the case. The Innocence Project, the organization that took my case, they pretty much only handle DNA cases. I guess it just depends on the cases themselves. You have some cases that have more clear cut evidence, some cases have little to no evidence that can be tested. You just never know until you read in to the case and apply whatever law is applicable to the case.

From Katie Julie Deadman:  Personally speaking, I’d be interested in knowing what role faith/spirituality (and forgiveness) plays in keeping sane in solitary confinement.

You have to have something to believe in I guess. Whether you believe in nothing, you still believe in something. There are Muslims on death row as well, Christians, it plays a big part. You have to first come to terms with your own mortality, they’re going to possibly come get me, carry me away and kill me some day. You come to terms with what’s next after I die, what’s next. Faith and spirituality on death row and in prison in general.

 

From Katie Julie Deadman:  Also, with the advances in DNA retrieval, do these men who have been persecuted yet ‘rescued’ via DNA evidence think we should move to a Big Brother style en masse DNA database, where we are legally required to submit our DNA for monitoring purposes? 

There are a lot of cases out there that don’t have DNA in them, so lets say that we had a system like that. It wouldn’t alleviate that problem. As far as having a database for DNA, that just depends on the corruption that would follow. Every time that something’s created, someone uses it for the wrong reasons. We’ve seen it all through history. Is it a good idea? Yeah, sure. It would make it so much easier to solve a lot of DNA crimes. Are we responsible enough to have something like that? No, we’re not, especially in a system like this that’s manipulated for political purposes. It would be a good idea, but I would not support it in a system like this because it’s too corruptible.