Some Mississippi inmates expecting to be freed from prison on a gubernatorial pardon will remain behind bars, and others others already out could go back, reports the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. Hinds County Circuit Judge Tomie Green blocked the pardons made by outgoing Gov. Haley Barbour, citing issues raised by Attorney General Jim Hood of possible constitutional violations.
Attorney General Jim Hood argued that Barbour violated the state constitution when the departing governor granted 203 pardons to felons as he left office. That included five inmates, four of them convicted murderers, who have gone free. Green ordered them to report each day to the state Department of Corrections and to her courtroom on Jan. 23. Under the state constitution, the governor has the power to grant pardons, but a legal newspaper notice must be published in the county of conviction 30 days earlier. In many cases, notices failed to run on time. In a few cases, notices never ran. “It’s unfortunate that Gov. Barbour didn’t read the constitution,” Hood said. “It’s a shame, and he ought to be ashamed.”