Texas Governor Can’t Pardon Dead Man

The family of a wrongfully convicted man who died in prison are urging Texas Gov. Rick Perry to issue a pardon, even though Perry says his hands are tied.

Timothy Cole was convicted of rape in 1985 and sentenced to 25 years in prison. He died in 1999, and his conviction was reversed a decade later when another man confessed to the crime. Cole has since been cleared by DNA evidence.

Gov. Perry, however, has yet to issue a pardon, saying that the governor is not able to offer a posthumous pardon, and a bill to extend that power died in legislature, according to ABC affiliate KVUE.

Cole’s family, however, is arguing that, through consulting with criminal defense attorneys, they’ve learned that Perry could easily extend his power to clear Cole’s name.

Really he can still pardon my brother without that [bill], said Reginald Kennard, Cole’s brother. This was a tragedy. This was a true, American tragedy… We don’t want to have to wait until another session to start all over again, do this again. We’d rather have this done sooner rather than later.

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