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Perry Pardons Innocent Man!


The bad news is that the pardoned man is dead.   Dead despite the fact that the guilty man tried repeatedly to confess:

Perry made those remarks during an extraordinary ceremony in which he handed down the first posthumous pardon in Texas history. Timothy Cole, imprisoned while a 26-year-old student at Texas Tech University, had been failed by the justice system at every turn. But what makes his story particularly gut-wrenching is that he perished in prison even as the real rapist, Jerry Johnson, tried repeatedly to confess to the crime. By the time Johnson’s story was heard, Cole had been dead nearly a decade.

The tale of Tim Cole and Jerry Johnson, which I investigated for more than a year, reveals a system in which an innocent man, once convicted, has virtually no chance of redemption—even with the guilty man fighting for it. For the thousands of Americans spending years of their lives in prison for crimes they did not commit, the odds couldn’t be much bleaker.

Definitely read the whole thing.

Perhaps in a decade or two a Texas governor will pardon Cameron Todd Willingham…


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  • Incontinentia Buttocks

    I think you mean that the guilty man tried repeatedly to confess.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Edited so it makes sense.

      • You can edit Texas justice to make sense? Use this power wisely.

        • Bill Murray

          I would say he should use this power often

        • The man is NOT God, N__B….

  • No pardon for Willingham! Even David Martin, the man’s defense attorney, thought he was guilty as sin. And Martin proved it, too, by going out in his back yard and burning some carpet. He ain’t one of those “latter-day supposed experts,” he’s a hard-workin’, fact-findin’, cattle-ranchin’ attorney — Rick Perry’s kind of guy.

    • rea

      I trust you’re not the rightwingnut that used to troll lefty sites under that name a few years ago. Based on recent comments at Crooked Timber, you’re not, and you’re just being sarcastic here. Hell, it might turn out that you’re really Bob Dylan . . .

      • Could be I’m just some guy you might meet out on highway 66. Care for any red white and blue shoestrings?

        • Matt T.

          It’s “Highway 61”. I’m calling fake Bob.

          • Damn! No wonder I couldn’t find all those stupid phones that don’t ring.

  • sleepyirv

    I suppose in Willingham-pardoned universe, the death penalty is gone and reviled. For the state to admit their perfect machine of legal procedures and controls murdered a man would be highly extraordinary.

    I expect a tepid apology (with pardon) in 70 years more likely.

  • Mrs Tilton

    I like to think that maybe, some day, a future Texas governor will need to think about whether to pardon Rick Perry.

    My own preference is that any such pardon be posthumous.

  • c u n d gulag

    Texas justice – kill ’em, and let God sort ’em out!

    Look, he pardoned the guy.

    What else do you want, for him to bring him back to life?

    That would create a completely different dynamic, well outside the realm of politics.

    Besides, God is WAAAAAAAAAAY too busy – he’s tied up right now focusing on the Denver Bronco’s.

    Maybe, after winning the Super Bowl, God’s OTHER son, Tim Tebow can raise the dead FOR Gov. Perry.

    Since he’s in single-digits in the polls as we speak, that’s got to be the reason that Perry’s staying in the race, right?

  • DrDick

    More of that compassionate conservatism we have come to know and love so much. Also Texas justice at its finest.

  • Gee, Gov, thanks…I guess that means if he becomes a zombie, he won’t have to be executed again….

    • Spud

      Creating zombies gives conservatives the chance to make the leap from voodoo economics to outright voodoo.

  • Halloween Jack

    Rick Perry: perfectly willing to exonerate an innocent man, well after it could mean anything to the wrongfully-convicted man personally.

    • Warren Terra

      Well, the only good accused criminal is a dead accused criminal. Contrarywise, the only good dead accused criminal is a dead innocent accused criminal.

  • This is somewhat reminiscient of the Timothy John Evans/John Christie case in England in the 1950’s. Christie murdered Evans’ wife and daughter, testified against Evans at trial. Evans was convicted and hanged. It was discovered later that Christie had been storing the bodies of his victims in a false wall. He later confessed to several murders including those of Evans’ wife and daughter. He was also hanged.

    Evans was pardoned and his body reburied in consecrated ground. Bet that made him feel better.

    • herr doktor bimler

      … And such cases eventually convinced U.K. politicians that capital punishment was a really bad idea.

      • Warren Terra

        Thereby providing further proof that we are two societies separated by a common language. Heaven knows evidence of unjust prosecution and execution has had little enough effect on what we do …

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