RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Gov. Roy Cooper granted a pardon of innocence to Charles Ray Finch on Wednesday, his office announced.
After 43 years in prison, the former death row inmate was freed in 2019 after a wrongful murder conviction.
“I have carefully reviewed Charles Ray Finch’s case and am granting him a Pardon of Innocence. Mr. Finch and others who have been wrongly convicted deserve to have that injustice fully and publicly acknowledged,” Cooper said.
Finch was seeking a pardon of innocence from Cooper. The issue of clemency or a pardon of innocence is paramount. Without it, they can’t be reimbursed for the time they were in prison.
Finch is in his 80s and not exactly able to join the workforce. Finch’s payout would be in excess of $700,000.
The pardon makes Finch eligible to file a claim under North Carolina law, which allows compensation to persons wrongly convicted of felonies.
Article III, sec. 5 (6) of the North Carolina Constitution gives the governor power to grant a pardon for any conviction of any criminal offense other than impeachment. State law allows for $50,000 for each year of imprisonment with a cap of $750,000.