Orr agreed with Washington that the paperwork will be completed and the applications filed, likely by an official in Jackson County where the first trial occurred. The work will likely take a few weeks.
To support their paperwork, they can use a resolution championed by Democratic Rep. John Robinson of Scottsboro that also became law last month. It says the nine “were the victims of gross injustice” and are considered formally exonerated.
Cook said the parole board can’t start the pardon process until it gets the paperwork. “The groundwork to do this is on someone else’s shoulders,” he said.
But he said it will be a fascinating case to handle once the paperwork is filed. “This case is taught in most law schools in the country,” he said.
Once the pardons are granted, Washington’s work won’t be done. She said she hopes public attention about the pardons will help her solve one mystery about the case: The burial sites of five of the Scottsboro boys remain unknown.
Most of Scottsboro Boys faded from public view after being released by the state. Only one had a relative attend a ceremony at the Scottsboro museum when the governor signed the pardon legislation.
Washington said her goal is to for all the graves to be marked with tombstones noting the Scottsboro Boys’ place in American history.