Texas Governor Pardons 35 Tulia Convicts

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by RMJL, Aug 30, 2003.

  1. Texas Governor Pardons 35 Tulia Convicts
    Mon, Aug 25, 2003

    In a remarkable conclusion to a four year struggle, Texas Governor Rick Perry has pardoned thirty-five people who were convicted in the infamous 1999 Tulia, Texas drug bust.

    Governor Perry told reporters that his decision was influenced by doubt over the testimony of the sole undercover agent who conducted the arrests and was later indicted with perjury. “Questions surrounding testimony from the key witness in these cases weighed heavily on my final decision,” Perry told the New York Times.

    The 35 pardoned were among 46 Tulia residents who were arrested in the city-wide drug bust in 1999. Of the 46 arrested, 39 were African-American, making up roughly 10 percent Tulia's black population. The arrests did not produce any drugs or money, causing many prosecutors and civil rights groups to denounce the bust as a form of racial profiling.

    Although the pardons were joyfully received by the 35 residents, they represent only part of the legal puzzle. Unless a higher court overturns the prosecutions, the residents still have to contend with criminal records for the rest of their lives.

    Of the remaining 11 arrested residents, conflicting evidence led to seven cases being overturned before convictions could be made, two were on probation before the arrest making them ineligible for pardon, one conviction is yet to be finalized and another defendant died.

    Although what happened in Tulia is particularly shocking, unfortunately, it is just one of the countless injustices in a war on drugs that disproportionately targets people of color.


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