The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles voted unanimously Thursday to pardon the last three of the Scottsboro Boys, the nine black teenagers falsely accused of raping two white women on a train in 1931, reports the Montgomery Advertiser. The board granted pardons to Haywood Patterson, Charlie Weems and Andy Wright after a short hearing.
Patterson, Weems and Wright, along with defendant Clarence Norris, were convicted of rape in 1937, after a six-year ordeal that included three trials, the recantation of one of the two accusers and two landmark U.S. Supreme Court decisions on legal representation and the racial make-up of jury pools. Eight of the nine men were initially convicted by all-white juries. Last spring, the Alabama Legislature unanimously passed a law allowing the granting of posthumous pardons for convictions at least 80 years old, a law specifically designed to allow the pardon of the Scottsboro Boys to go forward.