LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The family of an innocent man who was wrongfully convicted of rape cannot pursue legal action against the City of Lubbock. Lubbock State District Judge Les Hatch ruled Wednesday that the family of Timothy Cole has no legal standing to request sworn statements from former Lubbock police officers. Essentially, the judge ruled that Cole cannot take action against the city because he died, and his family also cannot pursue his claims after death. Cole died in prison while serving a term for rape the DNA evidence now proves conclusively that Cole did not commit.
Cole's mother, Ruby Sessions, had not actually sued the city. Her lawyer filed a petition to take sworn testimony of former officers prior to a lawsuit. Commonly referred to as a "202 petition", it allows attorneys to take sworn statements first and then decide afterward whether or not go forward with a lawsuit. Former officers Ronald Goolsby, George White, Rosanna Bagby, and Jay Parchman were named as potential witnesses.
Judge Hatch said in the footnotes of his ruling that Cole's family cannot "cure jurisdictional defects" because the state has already recognized Cole as having been wrongfully convicted. Earlier this year Governor Rick Perry made Cole the first posthumous exoneration in Texas history. Cole was convicted of raping a Texas Tech student in 1986. Years later a prison inmate, Jerry Wayne Johnson, confessed to the rape.
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