Commentary: Perry's inaction on Cole's posthumous pardon an affront to justice

This editorial appeared in The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The cry for justice for Timothy Cole can be heard from the grave, and yet Gov. Rick Perry turns a deaf ear.

Cole was the Fort Worth man wrongly convicted of rape in 1985 and sentenced to 25 years in prison. He died there in 1999 before DNA testing proved that he did not commit the crime to which another inmate confessed.

In posthumously exonerating Cole, District Judge Charles Baird said: "This is the saddest case I've seen. . . . I find that Timothy Cole's reputation was wrongly injured, that his reputation must be restored and that his good name must be vindicated."

Cole's family believes that only a full pardon can restore that good name. Perry said he was willing to grant one if legislators passed a bill that gave him the authority to do so. While some argue that the governor doesn't need that additional authority, lawmakers in this year's regular session passed such a measure. It, like many others, died during a parliamentary standoff in the session's last days.

Perry could have added the posthumous pardon bill to last week's special session. He refused, despite pleas from Cole's family and others. Perry's inaction was added pain to a hurting family and an affront to justice itself.

To read more editorials, visit The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.