Posthumous Pardons Granted in 1931 Scottsboro Boys Case

11-22-2013 11-45-19 AM

Eighty years after being charged and sentenced, three of the Scottsboro Boys finally received justice when they were pardoned.

On Thursday, a three-person panel of the Alabama parole board approved a posthumous pardon for three of the nine black men, aged 12-19, who had not been previously pardoned on had charges dropped in connection with the alleged 1931 rape of two white women.

The nine men were falsely accused  of raping two women on a train in northeast Alabama. The men were convicted by an all-white jury and all but the youngest were sentenced to death. Five of the men had their cases overturned in 1937 after one of the alleged victims recanted her story. One received a pardon in 1976. When it was all said and done, all of the nine served anywhere from six to 19 years in jail.

The series of appeals after the original case resulted in U.S. Supreme Court rulings that criminal defendants are entitled to effective counsel and that defendants must be tried by a jury of their peers–in this case black men.

Eddie Cook, assistant director for the board, told CNN that Thursday’s pardons “remedied a wrongdoing of social and racial injustice”, proving that it is never too late for justice to be served.