Gov. Rick Perry appears willing to sign a posthumous pardon for the exonerated Timothy Cole after Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today issued an opinion that said the governor could grant one.

Cole was exonerated of a sexual assault conviction in a Travis County court last year, long after he died in prison. In an opinion letter released this morning, Abbott said that in light of recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions he had concluded Perry could grant a pardon to someone who had died. Previously, Abbott had said the governor did not have authority to grant posthumous pardons.

Here's the statement Perry issued following Abbott's opinion:
“I’m pleased to learn that the Attorney General’s ruling has opened the door to the ability to grant posthumous pardons,” Perry said. “I have spoken with Tim Cole’s mother about this good news, which finally gives his family the opportunity to officially clear his name. I hope the Board of Pardons and Paroles will act swiftly in sending a recommendation to my desk so that justice can finally be served.”

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