Mississippi Pardons Issued By Gov. Haley Barbour Challenged in Court
(JACKSON, Miss.) -- The Mississippi Supreme Court is hearing arguments that could send 10 freed convicts, some of whom were convicted of murder, back to prison following controversial pardons issued by outgoing Gov. Haley Barbour.
Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood filed a 49-page brief with the state's Supreme Court arguing that the governor's pardon power is not absolute and that the people who received pardons did not run ads daily in a local newspaper for 30 days as required, rendering the pardons invalid.
Hood has called the pardons a "slap in the face" and has promised to vigorously challenge the governor's decision to pardon four murderers who worked at his mansion, along with a slew of people convicted of rape, manslaughter and other crimes.
If the court sides with Hood and decides the pardons can be challenged, each case would be heard individually by a lower court.
Many victims and their families have spoken against Barbour's decision to release those who have hurt them and their loved ones.
Barbour's decision to grant clemency to some 208 convicted felons right before he left office has focused the national spotlight on a unique practice that's relegated to a handful of states: inmates working in the governor's mansion.
The four murderers pardoned all worked in the governor's mansion under a "trustee" system that allows well-behaved prisoners to clean, cook and do other chores at the governor's mansion.
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