NC Gov. Bev Perdue issued a Pardon of Innocence on New Year’s Eve for the Wilmington 10. The pardon means the state no longer thinks the 10 — four of whom have since died — committed a crime. “I have decided to grant these pardons because the more facts I have learned about the Wilmington Ten, the more appalled I have become about the manner in which their convictions were obtained,” she said when issuing the pardon.
There are three different pardons options that Perdue could have made once she decided to give the pardon. According to the state website:
- Pardon of Forgiveness. This is the most frequently requested type of pardon, according to the Governor’s Office of Executive Clemency. This type of pardon indicates you have been “forgiven” of the crime you committed. It is usually granted with conditions attached.
- Pardon of Innocence. This type of pardon can only be requested and granted if you were convicted but the charges were subsequently dismissed. This usually applies in cases where the person was wrongfully convicted and later declared innocent (e.g., DNA evidence clears him). This type of pardon, if granted, allows you to seek compensation from the state.
- Unconditional Pardon. This type of pardon is requested and granted primarily to restore a person’s right to own a gun (firearm). It is usually granted without any conditions or restrictions attached.
Because Perdue issued a Pardon of Innocence, the Wilmington 10 is now able to seek compensation from the state. In an article this morning, one of the 10 says they will seek compensation. This will not be the last time we hear about the Wilmington 10.