AUSTIN — Gov. Rick Perry is empowered to grant a posthumous pardon to Timothy Cole, of Fort Worth, who died in prison before being cleared of a rape conviction, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said in an opinion that reverses previous legal precedent on posthumous pardons.
"I'm floored," said Cole’s brother, Cory Session, who, along with other members of Cole's family, led the fight to win legal exoneration for the wrongfully convicted inmate. "This clears the final hurdle in a marathon race for justice to get Tim a pardon."
There was no immediate reaction from the governor's office, and Cole said he had not been in contact with Perry's staff after receiving word of the opinion. Session said he was notified Thursday by a staff member for Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston.
Perry has been supportive of the Cole family's efforts to clear the inmate but has said he was powerless to grant a posthumous pardon because of a previous legal precedent.
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