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Washington said the pardons would finally shine a light on "this dark injustice."
If the bill is signed into law, a petition would need to be filed for each of the men for each of them to be pardoned, said Eddie Cook, executive director of the state parole board. The parole board will then decide whether to grant the pardon. Previously, there had not been a procedure for pardoning someone who is dead.
Orr said it was unfortunate that the pardons are coming after all the Scottsboro Boys have died, but the legislation does let the state write a "better final chapter."
"Their lives were ruined by the convictions," he said. "By doing this, it sends a very positive message nationally and internationally that this is a different state than we were many years ago."
Johnson reported from Montgomery. Washington covers race and ethnicity for The Associated Press. He is reachable at www.twitter.com/jessewashington.
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