A Texas man who was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison, where he eventually died, has been honored with a statue.
Time Cole spent 13 years in prison after being accused of rape.
But the new bronze statue of Tim Cole — 13 feet high and peering across 19th Street toward Texas Tech University campus — is a tribute not just to a man wrongly accused of a crime who stood by his principles but to an imperfect criminal justice system.
On Wednesday, state officials, including Gov. Rick Perry, gathered on the busy corner of 19th Street and University Avenue for the statue’s unveiling. Cole was a Texas Tech student in 1985 when he was wrongly accused of raping another student […] After lawyers had his case overturned, Perry awarded Cole the state’s first ever posthumous pardon.
“This statue will serve as a reminder that justice must be tempered with wisdom,” Perry said before a crowd that included members of Cole’s family and other exonerees. “And we must all stand vigilante against injustice, wherever it may be found.”
Cole’s case is responsible from a string of criminal justice reforms, including the Time Cole Act. Under the legislation, exonerated inmates are awarded $80,000 each year they were behind bars, among other annuities.
Since 1989, the state of Texas has exonerated 147 inmates, the third largest number in the country.
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