Barbour's pardons face legal challenge - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Barbour's pardons face legal challenge

(WMC-TV) - Controversial pardons by former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour now face a legal challenge.

After closely watching the controversy surrounding Barbour's pardons, Southaven attorney Ben Taylor weighed in on the issue Thursday after a Mississippi judge asked for an injunction.

The injunction would temporarily block the release of several inmates who were given pardons or medical releases by Barbour in one of his final acts as governor.

"It has certain requirement a judge looks at," said Taylor.  "The possibility of success with the dispute the person has filed the injunction over.  The amount of harm that can be done to the party seeking the injunction.  The amount of harm done to the other party."

State Attorney General Jim Hood went to Hinds County Court to stop the release.  Judge Tomie Green granted the temporary restraining order, blocking the release of 21 inmates for now.

"The only ones we're dealing with are those who were given a full pardon," said Hood.  "And that's where the Constitution requires that the governor, before he signs the pardon, he's got to be assured the convict has had that application in a local newspaper for 30 days prior to him signing it.  We've found already that there are numerous cases where that did not occur."

"Most of the pardons are not reviewable," said Taylor.  "They're not something that a legislator or anybody else can contest.  It's a power that goes back hundreds of years."

Hood said a hearing is scheduled for next week.

"We wanted to go be able to arrest them, but the law would not allow us to do that because they have a valid pardon, until we can prove that it is, in fact, invalid," said Hood.  "So therefore, we have ordered they report immediately to the Department of Corrections, that they stay in contact with the Department of Corrections every 24 hours, and that they appear in court.  Governor Barbour ought to be ashamed of himself for the action that he has taken, releasing over 200 people."

In a statement released Wednesday, Barbour's office said some people have misunderstood the clemency process.  His office said about 90 percent of those pardoned were no longer in custody and the majority of them had been out of prison for years.

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