Clemency Orders Rare From Mississippi Governors


Departing Mississippi Governor Ronnie Musgrove approved fewer than two dozen of hundreds of requests for pardons, clemency, and commutation of sentences, reports the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. He granted 14 sentence suspensions, or commutations, and restored rights to eight other Mississippians.

Musgrove’s predecessor, Republican Gov. Kirk Fordice granted clemency to at least eight people during his two terms, from 1992 to 2000.

One of the fortunate ones was Freddy Sparks, 58, who has served nearly 22 years at the State Penitentiary at Parchman. Musgrove suspended the remainder of Sparks’ 1982 sentence: 65 years, 30 mandatory, on two counts of selling cocaine. Sparks was a trusty operating the Parchman prison gas station, the wrecker truck, and canteen for 13 years. He’s been a model inmate who counsels youthful offenders and has paid his debt to society, said Musgrove.

The odds are small that an inmate will receive clemency, said lawyer Hugh Gibson, who has represented Mississippi family members making such pleas to governors. “Politics will not get you (clemency) by any means,” he said.


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