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Perdue offers no last minute pardons

Former Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue did not issue any pardons before she left office, according to Britt Cobb, her chief of staff. Her final hours in office were apparently uneventful. She spent much of Friday visiting a school in Onslow County. Former four-term Gov. Jim Hunt stopped by her office Friday to visit with her. She and First Gentleman Bob Eaves spent their final night in the Executive Mansion and had cleared out by Saturday morning. Republican Gov. Pat McCrory praised Perdue's "graciousness" at the swearing-in ceremony at noon Saturday.

No white smoke from Gov. Perdue's office today

The lame-duck governor watch sits at 11* days. But no white smoke from Gov. Bev Perdue's office is expected Wednesday, a spokesman said.

A huge pile of big decisions still sits on the Democratic governor's desk. Among them: a formal lease with the city of Raleigh for the Dix property; appoint a N.C. Court of Appeals judge; take action on the Wilmington 10 pardon request; and review dozens of other pardon rquests.

*Former N.C. Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr doesn't agree with our count. "Governor Perdue's term ends in 5 days not 11," he wrote to Dome. "Governor-elect McCrory's term begins per the NC Constitution on January 1 whether he takes the oath of office then or not."

Orr's argument is one we've detailed before. But it's not traditional practice and it hasn't been challenged in the past. Tradition usually puts the new governor in office much later. McCrory's actually getting sworn in a week before his inauguration.

Taylor, exonerated, seeks pardon

Greg Taylor has asked the governor for a pardon that would clear the way for him to collect compensation for 17 years of wrongful imprisonment.

Taylor, 47, was exonerated last month by three judges who determined he was innocent.

A Wake County jury convicted Taylor in 1993 of murdering Jacquetta Thomas, a woman whose battered body was abandoned in an isolated cul-de-sac in Southeast Raleigh. Faulty blood evidence and wrong testimony from a jailhouse informant and a prostitute had helped convict Taylor.

A pardon from the governor would clear the way for Taylor to collect $750,000, the most any wrongfully accused person can receive. Without the pardon, he cannot apply for the money.

Gov. Bev Perdue said today that Taylor is entitled to compensation from the state, though she did not commit to the pardon.'

Speaking with reporters at an economic development announcement in Winston-Salem, Perdue said she has not yet received Taylor's request for a pardon but said she is "deeply troubled" by yet another N.C. inmate who was exonerated.

"The man was done wrong and the state and country have a responsibility to right that wrong," Perdue said. "You couldn't sell me 17 years of my life for $800,000. Whatever the man is owed by the state of North Carolina, I will work aggressively to make sure he gets."

Since his release, Taylor has been trying to get his life in order. He's been spending time with family and friends and trying to make sense of a world that left him behind following his arrest more than 19 years ago. He is learning to text and take photos with a digital camera and has set up a Facebook page.

Pardon? Not many from Easley

Gov. Mike Easley has been stingy about pardons, and there's no sign that he's going to go on a Clinton-like pardon spree in his final weeks.

Easley, a former prosecutor, has received 756 requests for pardons during his nearly eight years in office, according to spokesman Seth Effron. He has granted five, all cases in which DNA or other evidence exonerated the applicant.

Effron said he knew of no forthcoming pardons, but Easley is in office until Jan. 10.

"There are requests pending," Effron said.

Pardons have drawn more scrutiny since then-President Clinton granted 140 pardons on his last day in office in 2001, including for Marc Rich, a fugitive from a multi-million dollar tax evasion case, whose wife had given money to the Clinton library (current headline exhibit: "Art of the Chopper," as in motorcycles) and Hillary Clinton's senate campaign.

Innocent question

The Fayetteville Observer's "Live Wire" column is usually pretty pedestrian.

In recent weeks, columnist Catherine Pritchard has answered readers' questions such as: Are there any home schooling groups in town? How quickly do you have to roll in your trash can? and Where can I buy ethanol for my new car?

But a question from Saturday's column stands out:

Q: Who would you need to contact or how would you go about receiving a pardon from the governor? — A.K., Fayetteville

Good question, A.K. What a crazy week! M.N. in Raleigh and A.M. in Chapin, S.C., were wondering about the exact same thing. The answer is here. Don't get your hopes up, though, the guv's only given out four pardons so far!

Note to readers J.B. in Matthews; M.D. in Walkertown; and K.G. in St. Augustine, Fla.; we'll answer your questions about federal pardons next week. Keep reading!

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