New York

New York prosecutor was trailblazer on reviewing convictions

  • FILE - In this Oct. 15, 2014 file photo, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson speaks during a press conference in New York where he said he would  ask a judge to throw out the convictions of David McCallum and the late Willie Stuckey, saying their murder convictions hinged on made-up confessions peppered with details seemingly supplied by police. As Brooklyn's top prosecutor, Thompson became known perhaps as much for the convictions he disavowed as the ones he got. Thompson, who died of cancer Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016, during his first term, agreed to overturn 21 often decades-old convictions while reviewing more than 100 in one of the most ambitious efforts of its kind nationwide.  (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

    FILE - In this Oct. 15, 2014 file photo, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson speaks during a press conference in New York where he said he would ask a judge to throw out the convictions of David McCallum and the late Willie Stuckey, saying their murder convictions hinged on made-up confessions peppered with details seemingly supplied by police. As Brooklyn's top prosecutor, Thompson became known perhaps as much for the convictions he disavowed as the ones he got. Thompson, who died of cancer Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016, during his first term, agreed to overturn 21 often decades-old convictions while reviewing more than 100 in one of the most ambitious efforts of its kind nationwide. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Oct. 15, 2014 file photo, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson speaks during a press conference in New York where he said he would  ask a judge to throw out the convictions of David McCallum and the late Willie Stuckey, saying their murder convictions hinged on made-up confessions peppered with details seemingly supplied by police. As Brooklyn's top prosecutor, Thompson became known perhaps as much for the convictions he disavowed as the ones he got. Thompson, who died of cancer Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016, during his first term, agreed to overturn 21 often decades-old convictions while reviewing more than 100 in one of the most ambitious efforts of its kind nationwide.  (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

    FILE - In this Oct. 15, 2014 file photo, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson speaks during a press conference in New York where he said he would ask a judge to throw out the convictions of David McCallum and the late Willie Stuckey, saying their murder convictions hinged on made-up confessions peppered with details seemingly supplied by police. As Brooklyn's top prosecutor, Thompson became known perhaps as much for the convictions he disavowed as the ones he got. Thompson, who died of cancer Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016, during his first term, agreed to overturn 21 often decades-old convictions while reviewing more than 100 in one of the most ambitious efforts of its kind nationwide. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Feb. 23, 2016 file photo, Vanessa Gathers talks with Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson after a hearing to vacate her wrongful conviction at Brooklyn Supreme Court in New York. Thompson, the first African-American to hold the office and whose career included internationally high-profile cases in private practice as well as a stint as federal prosecutor, died Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016, after a battle with cancer, just days after announcing he would be undergoing treatment. He was 50. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File )

    FILE - In this Feb. 23, 2016 file photo, Vanessa Gathers talks with Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson after a hearing to vacate her wrongful conviction at Brooklyn Supreme Court in New York. Thompson, the first African-American to hold the office and whose career included internationally high-profile cases in private practice as well as a stint as federal prosecutor, died Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016, after a battle with cancer, just days after announcing he would be undergoing treatment. He was 50. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File )  (The Associated Press)

In his short time as Brooklyn's top prosecutor, Kenneth Thompson became known perhaps as much for the convictions he disavowed as the ones he got.

Thompson died of cancer Sunday during his first term as Brooklyn's district attorney. He had agreed to overturn 21 convictions and re-examine more than 100 in one of the most ambitious efforts of its kind.

It made him a leading voice in a national conversation about what part prosecutors can play in addressing claims of wrongful conviction.

The 50-year-old Democrat became Brooklyn's first African-American district attorney in 2014.

Chief Assistant District Attorney Eric Gonzalez is leading the office for now.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo (KWOH'-moh) may appoint someone to serve out Thompson's term. Cuomo's office said Monday it's reviewing options.