Sunday, April 10, 2011

North Carolina: Relevant, Legitimate Pardon Stumps the State

While the State's legislature fritters away time (and taxpayer dollars) quarreling over the meaningless irrelevant pardon of little known dead persons (who sought no pardon when they were alive), here is what is going on in the real world, right under their own noses:

Ashville's Citizen-Times is reporting on one Scott Pierpoint, who was convicted of raping a six-year old child, his own step-son, back in 1990. Two years later, Judge George Fountain sentenced Pierpoint to life in prison "largely on the boy's faulty testimony and that of an Asheville doctor who said the child had been abused." The sentence was a far cry from an original offer of one year and probation! But Scott Pierpoint claimed, all along, that the charges were false and drummed up by his wife, as a feature of a bitter divorce process. Pierpoint's family lost their home because of the costs of legal fees and his appeal failed. So, he settled into prison for 17 years, 8 months and 24 days in prison ... until the state decided that he was actually innocent!

The Citizen-Times reports Mr. Pierpoint did get an official "order of expunction" from the State of North Carolina, but nothing like an "apology" or "guidance on readjustment." His step-son has also admitted that the charges were false. But, to add major insult to an incredible injury, Pierpoint's request for a “pardon of innocence” was also denied by the State! Unbelievably, the rejection letter was of the Jan Brewer, boiler-plate variety. On the other hand:
That pardon is crucial because it would entitle Pierpoint, 47, to $750,000 in compensation from North Carolina - $50,000 a year for the first 15 years of his incarceration.
Pierpoint suspects the State "owes" him, since it "pulled" his life "apart." On the other hand, $750,000 is a lot of money for a State with a $2.4 billion budget deficit. An idiotic pardon of a dead person, packed with self-righteous "symbolism," would be much, much cheaper.

The Times reports 27 states have compensation laws, but "the average length of time exonerees wait to receive money is almost three years (plenty of time for more undeserved hardship and suffering). A study released in 2009 found that, of 240 persons exonerated through DNA testing, almost half have received no form of assistance. See full story here.

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