El Salvador’s Catholic Church is calling for a renewed investigation of the 1980 assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero following a ruling in which a Salvadoran man now living in California was found liable for the crime.
A federal judge in Fresno, California, ruled September 3 that Alvaro Saravia, a former Salvadoran military captain, should be held responsible for Romero’s murder and ordered that Saravia pay $10 million to a relative of the archbishop.
Romero, an outspoken advocate of human rights, was assassinated in 1980 while saying mass. His death was a tragic milestone in a turbulent era for El Salvador and the church in Latin America.
In the midst of a civil war and insurgency that eventually killed 75,000, Romero became a hero to populist elements of the church with his criticism of the Salvadoran military and right-wing death squads.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).