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Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Mississippi pardon scandal keeps getting worse and worse for Haley Barbour.

Barbour, whose second and final term as governor of Mississippi ended on Tuesday, pardoned 208 inmates as one of his last acts in office. Of all those pardoned, 5 were released from prison before a Mississippi judge moved to temporarily block the release of 21 of the inmates because they did not publish notice of their intentions in advance. Section 124 of the Mississippi Constitution says that any inmate seeking a pardon must publish notice about his intentions 30 days before the governor can grant his release — a crucial step which those inmates missed.

According to the Associated Press, each of the 5 inmates who were actually released were guilty of committing violent crimes, and each had a unique connection to Governor Barbour.

Each of the five inmates released this past weekend had worked as a trustee at the Governor’s Mansion. They are David Gatlin, convicted of killing his estranged wife in 1993; Joseph Ozment, convicted in 1994 of killing a man during a robbery; Anthony McCray, convicted in 2001 of killing his wife; Charles Hooker, sentenced to life in 1992 for murder; and Nathan Kern, sentenced to life in 1982 for burglary after at least two prior convictions.

The 5 released inmates are supposed to check in with law enforcement every 24 hours while the legality of their pardons is determined, but so far none of them have done so. Their current whereabouts are unknown, and there are serious questions about whether they will surface and potentially have to finish their life sentences.

Barbour’s decision to grant the pardons caused an immediate uproar among Mississippi citizens, conservative bloggers, and the state’s Attorney General, who believes that Barbour illegally released 4 convicted murderers into an unsuspecting public.

Jim Hood, Mississippi’s Democratic Attorney General, is considering ordering a nationwide manhunt for the missing former inmates. He also has had some harsh words about Barbour’s actions.

“He’s tried to rule the state like Boss Hogg and he didn’t think the law applied to him,” Mississippi’s Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood told CNN Wednesday. “This isn’t a partisan issue. Either you followed the constitution or you didn’t.” Hood now says that he’s considering launching a nationwide manhunt for the missing former inmates.

Barbour defended the pardons by noting that 189 of the inmates had already completed their incarcerations, and arguing that he was acting in the name of clemency.

“The pardons were intended to allow them to find gainful employment or acquire professional licenses as well as hunt and vote. My decision about clemency was based upon the recommendation of the Parole Board in more than 90 percent of the cases,” Barbour said in a statement on Wednesday.

He added on Friday that he is “very comfortable and totally at peace” with his decision.

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  • albob

    that a boy you are sure a “good ole boy”.

  • Jamie

    Can a governor be charged with the crime of pardoning too many criminals?

  • Liz

    Years ago, in TN, our guv Blanton was selling pardons –this immediately comes to mind. It will be interesting to see if Barbour was doing the same.

  • metrognome

    Haley, the Demon Barbour of Mississippi! Don’t count him out as a candidate for president yet. He probably won’t run in ’12 but just wait until 2016! He’ll be the darling of the Tea Party.

  • LindaTift

    He will continue to be the darling of the Republican Party for as long as he can bring in the money. Morals and values be damned, is only for you and me, not them.

  • kurt.lorentzen

    Contrary to what has been said, Republicans almost unanimously join with Independents and Democrats in condemning these pardons. This is blatant disregard for the law and the safety of citizens, and flies in the face of justice and our judicial system. It’s politics at its worst and these outgoing gubantorial and presidential pardons should be done away with. Who’s next? Jeff Skilling? Bernie Madoff? Geez…

  • MaryLongleyHalperin

    If you didn’t know this man was an idiot before, you do now. These inmates can now go out and buy guns with impunity. I say “lock Barbour up” before he can do any more damage to Mississippi and the rest of the US where these criminals might be lurking.


    gotta love this, the gop won’t spend a dime on teachers, but will spend billions on prisons so a brain dead pol. can let killers loose to make room for more potheads.

  • mll

    You get what you pay for! Gee, I wished I had coined that phrase!

  • nomoreBS

    We all know that it’s SO important that guys need their freedom to hunt first, then vote. WTF?Forget about donating your kidney to your sister. Please tell me how these morons get elected over and over. Isn’t corruption evident? Do we need a flippin roadmap? These superpac republicans are taking the country to the dark side.

  • nomoreBS

    The released murderers need to hunt? Then vote? WTF?
    Then he forgets to let the ladies share kidneys. This guy is really an arrogant creep and needs to go away. Far, far away. Of course, if he tells the tea party and other sadly gullible and uninformed voters that it was all a silly mistake, they will believe him. They will send him vast amounts of money and vote for him again. Humans are really dumb sometimes.

  • dpaano

    Yes, humans ARE dumb in some ways. Can you believe that anyone would vote for this idiot? I recently also read that people in South (or is it North) Carolina are hot for Romney despite the fact that he wants to cut all their medicaid, welfare, Social Security, etc. and they are the top state that receives government entitlements. Boy, are they going to be in for a rude surprise if he’s elected!! Again, you get what you pay for….and it isn’t always what you thought you were getting!