Hearing to address legality of Mississippi pardons - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Hearing to address legality of Mississippi pardons

(WMC-TV) - In a hearing scheduled for Friday, Mississippi State Attorney General Jim Hood's office hopes to overturn most of the 200 pardons former Governor Haley Barbour granted during his two terms in office.

The hearing before a Hinds County Mississippi Circuit Judge follows at January 23 hearing where the judge postponed a ruling on whether some of Barbour's pardons violated the Mississippi Constitution.

Attorneys for the pardoned criminals, like Joseph Ozment, hope to stop the judge from moving forward.  They said it is not constitutional for a judge to review a governor's pardon power.

"Does it make me angry?  Yes it does," said a victim's sister, Mary McAbee.  "To think he's going to lead what he considers a normal life, be out there and get married and have children, and my brother is not here."

Ozment was convicted of killing McAbee's brother, Ricky Montgomery, during a grocery hold up.  Ozment walked out a free man after Barbour pardoned him.

"My office has gotten several calls from concerned citizens wanting to know, hey, do I need to worry about this guy being out in my community?" said DeSoto County District Attorney John Champion.

Montgomery's family plans to be at this week's hearing.

"I hope he spends the rest of his life in prison," said McAbee.

"All of us are doing our very best to see that he returns to the penitentiary where he deserves to be," said Champion.

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