To Kill a Mockingbird and Posthumous Pardons -
Friday, July 10, 2009
Earlier this week, I was talking with Kristin about To Kill a Mockingbird. (It recently played at the Paramount Theatre's Summer Film Series.) I remarked to her that every time I read the book or watch the movie, I find myself truly hoping and thinking that maybe this time Atticus Finch will win the trial and Tom Robinson will go free, even though I already know the ending.
I then pondered out loud whether Finch and Robinson would prevail in this day and age in our home state. Have we made that much progress? Somehow our conversation wandered into a discussion about Timothy Cole, who died in prison after being wrongly convicted of raping a Texas Tech student, and was later exonerated by Judge Charlie Baird after DNA testing proved that he was not the assailant.
Today I read in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that the Texas Legislative Council issued a report showing that the Governor has the power to issue poshumous pardons and should do so for Mr. Cole.
Governor Perry has previously stated that an old AG's ruling dictates that in order to issue a posthumous pardon, he must first get authority from Texans through a constitutional amendment. This report now gives him the authority to do so without waiting for the passage of an amendment. As pointed out in an entry on Grits for Breakfast, the worst that could happen is that the courts could later say "no." No one with any standing to sue has threatened to do so, and I cannot dream up any reason for anyone to do so.
While unfortunately this will never bring Mr. Cole back to his family, it is Texas's chance to symbolically change the ending to To Kill a Mockingbird. Sign the pardon, Governor Perry!
Labels: atticus finch, charlie baird, governor perry, grits for breakfast, posthumous pardons, timothy cole, to kill a mockingbird
posted by Kristi Couvillon