published Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Bill to pardon Scottsboro Boys clears 1st hurdle

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    The alleged headstone of Leroy Wright, the youngest of the "Scottsboro Boys," leans heavily toward a semi-sunken grave at Pleasant Garden Cemetery in Chattanooga. The historically black cemetery has been seemingly neglected for decades, despite the occasional surge of community interest. David Young, a resident of the Ridgeside community whose home backs onto the cemetery property, has been fighting the underbrush and rampant foliage growth for three decades.
    Photo by Jake Daniels.
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Legislation to allow posthumous pardons for the Scottsboro Boys has cleared its first hurdle.

The Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee voted 9-0 Wednesday for a bill that would allow the state parole board to grant posthumous pardons to eight Scottsboro Boys who didn’t get pardons before they died. Only one of the nine was pardoned before his death. The bill by Republican Sen. Arthur Orr of Decatur now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Current state law does not permit posthumous pardons.

In 1931, nine black youths were accused of raping two white women aboard a train in north Alabama. One of the women later recanted her story. The case resulted in U.S. Supreme Court rulings requiring that defendants receive effective counsel and forbidding the systematic exclusion of blacks from juries.

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