The Law Office of Joshua S. Guillory, LLC - Limited Liability Company
It's your life. Call someone you can count on.
Email Joshua Guillory

Facing a dark past: The link between racism and wrongful conviction

The civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, this summer has reminded the nation that racism is definitely not a settled issue, particularly when it comes to interactions between law enforcement agencies and minorities. Here in Louisiana and other states in the Deep South, it is not difficult to see that race continues to play a significant role in the criminal justice system. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the rate of African Americans incarcerated for drug crimes alone is ten times higher than that of whites.

Many states are also being forced to admit the extent to which racism has led to wrongful convictions in the past. One of the most notable cases involves a man whose name is now associated with wrongful conviction: Tim Cole.

In 1985, Cole was a student at Texas Tech University. When one of his white classmates was raped, he became a suspect and then became the primary suspect. He was convicted by an all-white jury. He was so adamant about his innocence that he would not plead guilty in exchange for probation or, later, for parole. He died of a medical condition in 1999, still in prison.

Cole remained in prison for four years after another inmate confessed to the crime. In 2008, DNA evidence finally proved Cole’s innocence and he later became first person to be posthumously exonerated in the state of Texas. A wrongful-conviction compensation law passed in 2009 also bears his name.

Earlier this week, Gov. Rick Perry and others dedicated a statue to Cole that was placed a park named for him near Texas Tech.

These memorials may be a fitting gesture of apology to Tim Cole’s family, but they cannot atone for the injustices Cole suffered, including dying in prison and never knowing if his name would be cleared. The best tribute that can be paid to Cole and other wrongfully convicted Americans is to make sure that these types of mistakes are no longer allowed to happen.

Source: Courthouse News Service, “Texan Exonerated After Prison Death Saluted,” Tim Williams, Sept. 18, 2014

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Meet Attorney Guillory

Attorney Joshua S. Guillory was born in Alexandria, Louisiana. Upon graduating high school from Alexandria Senior High, he enrolled in classes at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree. Josh was a member of Mu Kappa Tau, a national honor society for marketing majors, while attending... Read More

Joshua S. Guillory

Email us

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy