"… a tenacious courtroom fighter with an instinct for the jugular and a keen eye for incongruity."

Philadelphia Magazine

Louis Mickens Thomas - Pennsylvania, 1964

Louis Mickens Thomas is now one giant step closer to gaining his freedom than when we last visited his case a year ago. Thomas has served more than 30 years of a life sentence for a 1964 murder and rape of a 12-year-old girl which he did not commit. In 1993, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office refused to reconsider Mickens’ conviction despite a presentation of significant, new exculpatory information by his attorney, Dennis Cogan, the committee’s co-chair.

Based on CM’s investigations, Cogan presented a report to the D.A. by a nationally prominent criminalist which completely discredits crucial fiber matches supposedly found by the state’s forensic trial expert, Bog Shaler. This same prosecution expert has long since admitted to being a complete fraud. Cogan also disclosed the previously unknown fact that several witnesses and the police had initially identified another suspect as the true culprit based on his commission of another similar rape near the same time and area of the attack for which Thomas was wrongfully convicted.

After the disappointing setback, Cogan petitioned Pennsylvania Governor Robert Casey for commutation of Thomas’ sentence. The first obstacle to this end was obtaining a favorable recommendation from the five-member state board of pardons and commutation. Although in the past the board has recommended commutation only on the basis of good behavior in prison, not for claims of innocence, Cogan’s presentation to the board included a detailed recitation of the powerful and extensive evidence pointing to Thomas’ innocence. On July 21, 1994, the board voted unanimously to recommend Louis Thomas for commutation. At least one board member specifically stated for the record that he cast his vote on the basis of innocence. Governor Casey’s final decision is expected soon.

… a tenacious courtroom fighter with an instinct for the jugular and a keen eye for incongruity.

—Philadelphia Magazine

Unique and talented, calm
yet powerful, Dennis is the lawyer who's always thinking outside the box.

—Felicia Sarner, attorney

There are some who are good at law, others who are good at trial.
Dennis is simply the best that I've ever seen in my 35 years in court.

—Tom Bello, attorney