JACKSON, Miss. â€“ Â A Mississippi judge has temporarily blocked the release of 21 inmates who’d been given pardons or medical release by Republican Haley Barbour in one of his final acts as governor.
Circuit Judge Tomie Green issued an injunction late Wednesday at the request of Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood.
Hood said he believes Barbour might’ve violated the state constitution by pardoning some inmates who failed to give sufficient public notice that they were seeking to have their records cleared.
Barbour said in a statement Wednesday, a day after leaving office, that he believes people have misunderstood why he gave reprieves to more than 200 inmates. Most received full pardons, while others received suspended sentences because of medical conditions.
“The pardons were intended to allow them to find gainful employment or acquire professional licenses as well as hunt and vote,” Barbour said. “My decision about clemency was based upon the recommendation of the Parole Board in more than 90 percent of the cases.”
Section 124 of the Mississippi Constitution says any inmate seeking a pardon must publish notice about his intentions. Before the governor can grant it, the notice must appear 30 days in a newspaper in or near the county where the person was convicted.
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