Appeals court: No compensation for families of Wilmington 10
Posted August 4, 2015
Wilmington, N.C. — The North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that families of four people who were eventually pardoned for their roles in Wilmington race riots don't deserve money from the state.
The six members of the "Wilmington 10" who were still alive when the group was pardoned by Gov. Bev Perdue were compensated for hardship suffered during the 40 years between their convictions and their pardons.
Benjamin Chavis, Connie Tindall, Marvin Patrick, Wayne Moore, Reginald Epps, Jerry Jacobs, James McKoy, Willie Earl Vereen, William Wright Jr. and Ann Shepard were convicted of arson after a race riot in the city in 1971 only to see their convictions overturned years later after findings of prosecutorial misconduct. All were formally pardoned by Perdue in December 2012, but Jacobs, Shepard, Tindall and Wright had already passed away.
In its ruling, the court noted that because the pardons were issued after the quartet had died, there was no claim on their behalf that would have passed on to their estate.
"Because Jacobs, Shepard, Tindall, and Wright received no pardons of innocence during their lifetimes, no claims ... existed to survive to their estates," the court wrote.
"We acknowledge plaintiffs’ assertion that '[w]hen an innocent person has had his or her liberty and a portion of his or her life wrongfully taken, . . . [t]hat harm lives on after death – especially in the lives of affected loved ones.' However, we are required by law to apply (the law) as it is written."