“Justice” in Tulia, Texas

I’ve posted before on the topic of Tulia, Texas. In 1998, 45 African-Americans were rounded up in a drug bust spearheaded by Tom Coleman. 38 of those people wound up in jail. Most were convicted on evidence presented by Coleman, who told the court that he took notes on his thighs and arms with a magic marker. New York Times columnist Bob Herbert wrote about this quite often, and through his columns it quickly became apparent that none of the convicted African-Americans were drug dealers, and that Coleman had perjured himself.

Now, we have, almost seven years later, a sort-of end to the story. Today’s Austin American-Statesman reports that Texas Governor Rick Perry has pardoned 35 of the 38 people convicted. All the defendants won a six-million-dollar class action lawsuit against the county. And Coleman, the racist perjurer, got ten years. Make that ten years probation, not ten years in jail.

I suppose we can call that a measure of justice. But my lingering question is, what about the 3 people that Perry didn’t pardon? What happened to them?


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