Gov. Perry Dedicates Statue Honoring Tim Cole
Gov. Rick Perry today helped dedicate a statue in honor of the late Tim Cole, who was wrongfully convicted of rape and died in prison in 1999. Cole was granted a pardon for innocence by Gov. Perry in 2010.
“Today we honor the memory of a man who suffered a great injustice and a family that suffered a great loss,” Gov. Perry said. “The story of Tim Cole is a story of redemption, and what makes it inspirational is the way he ultimately brought so many Texans together. This statue will serve as a reminder that justice must be tempered with wisdom and that we all must stand vigilant against injustice, wherever it may be found.”
An official opinion from Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott was required to establish the gubernatorial power to grant posthumous pardons, allowing Gov. Perry to pardon Cole for innocence. The Legislature created the Tim Cole Advisory Panel on Wrongful Convictions, which made recommendations to the Legislature on issues such as eye-witness identification and open discovery procedures in criminal cases that have been passed into law.
Tim Cole’s case was originally brought forth by the Texas Innocence Project, which fought for the DNA testing in 2008 that ultimately proved his innocence. Gov. Perry was joined at today’s ceremony by Texas Innocence Project Founder and Chief Counsel Jeff Blackburn, who represented the family of Tim Cole.
“Gov. Perry deserves to be at this event more than any other Texas lawmaker,” Blackburn said. “He has done more than anyone for Mr. Cole’s case, his legacy and his family, and he has done more for criminal justice reform in Texas than any governor we have ever had. Texas is leading the way nationally in improving forensic science, eyewitness identification and the fairness of the legal system. By honoring Mr. Cole and his family at this unveiling, Gov. Perry has proven his deep and true commitment to justice for all in this state once again. We are honored to be with him.”
Gov. Perry also recognized Cole’s mother, Ruby Cole Session, who passed away in October. Mrs. Session was instrumental in passing the legislation that created the Tim Cole Advisory Panel on Wrongful Convictions and ensuring the families of deceased exonerees receive funds from the state for their wrongful conviction. She worked closely with Gov. Perry in securing a pardon for her son. For her work as an educator and advocate for criminal justice reform, Mrs. Session was honored by a Texas House Resolution in 2013.