death penalty news—-TEXAS

Jan. 8


Rick Perry's eagerness to pardon Tim Cole is disingenuous

Today's news that Rick Perry has a green light to pardon Tim Cole was
greeted by the governer with nothing short of eagerness:

Perry said the opinion "finally gives his family the opportunity to
officially clear his name.

"I hope the Board of Pardons and Paroles will act swiftly in sending a
recommendation to my desk so that justice can finally be served," the
governor said.

Funny, the governor seems so eager now, but this follows 11 months of

Remember, Cole was exonerated in court on Feb. 6. No word from the
governor's office when Cole's family that day asked for a pardon.

April 8, Cole's family meets with the governor. No word. But Perry did
offer support for a bill that would increase compensation for others who
had been wrongfully convicted.

June 6, a disappointed governor's office says it can't pardon Cole because
a constitutional amendment that would have clearly allowed a posthumous
did not pass. No effort was made by the governor to get it passed, mind

Despite the governor's disappointment, he calls a special session and,
despite lobbying from Houston's Rodney Ellis, he refuses to put the Tim
Cole constitutional amendment issue on the agenda.

July 14, a rightfully impatient Rodney Ellis gives up on the governor and
he asks the attorney general for an opinion. And this week, he got it.

And now Rick Perry's office calls to congratulate Tim Cole's family and
the governor himself says he wants swift action to "finally" clear Tim
Cole's name. Note: The governor never publicly urged lawmakers to pass the
constitutional amendment that would have allowed this. He refused to
include it in the call for the special session. He never once asked for
the attorney general to issue an opinion on this issue.

Why not? The answer is pretty obvious. If the governor can be expected to
issue posthumous pardons for someone proven innocent after death, he might
be pushed to pardon someone who, say, was falsely accused of an arson that
killed his children. You know, just for example. This governor prefers to
throw up road block after road block rather than deal directly with the
known flaws in our justice system. He prefers the appearance of being
tough on crime to being smart on crime.

So forgive me if I doubt that he is looking forward to pardoning Tim Cole.
If that were even remotely true, he would have seized upon any one of the
numerous opportunities he had to "finally" clear Tim Cole's name last

(source: Michael Landauer, Editor, Dallas Morning News)