Fight over Barbour pardons comes down to state constitution

posted at 10:25 am on February 9, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

Watching the news coming out of Mississippi this week, I’m starting to feel slightly prescient. Back when the news had just broken about outgoing Governor Haley Barbour’s decision to issue a huge number of pardons, I penned a column on the subject which included my having taken a quick look at the state constitution and finding an unusual caveat regarding the governor’s powers.

That question seems rather strange, though. I looked up the applicable portion of the Mississippi State Constitution (see Section 124) and it reads – in part – as follows:

…and in cases of felony, after conviction no pardon shall be granted until the applicant therefor shall have published for thirty days, in some newspaper in the county where the crime was committed, and in case there be no newspaper published in said county, then in an adjoining county, his petition for pardon, setting forth therein the reasons why such pardon should be granted.

So it seems to me, at least assuming the Governor’s office carried through and made sure this was done, that people did have an opportunity to comment. And if he didn’t make sure that public notification was made, there may be some remedy available through the courts to challenge some of these pardons and send them back for consideration by the new governor.

Well, sure enough, the case is coming before the courts and it’s precisely on those grounds that they are seeking to undo Barbour’s actions.

The court is expected to be asked Thursday to rule as quickly as possible – so both the inmates and crime victims and their families can have closure.

Attorney General Jim Hood contends that if the people who received pardons from Barbour didn’t run ads in daily papers every day for 30 days, or weekly newspapers once a week for five weeks, the pardons are invalid under the state constitution.

The Supreme Court is not expected rule Thursday.

Just because they’re hearing the case today, there is no reason to expect an immediate ruling. But no matter how it turns out, this one should provide interesting fodder for constitutional scholars and lawyers around the country for many years to come. In most cases, the power of governors – or the President – to grant pardons is largely seen as untouchable. Mississippi is one of only a handful of states where any restrictions are placed on the power at all. But if the legislature, with the backing of an enraged public, can manage to tie the governor’s hands in this case it will set a compelling precedent.

This could set the stage for other changes, not so much at the federal level, but across the various states. It’s considerably easier to get an amendment through to a state constitution than to that of the United States of America. Will voters express a desire to reign in the executive branch in other states and, seeing the success of the folks in Old Miss, move to create new amendments of their own?


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Was it ever explained why Barbour pardoned these murderers? Was it just a typical bribe/buyoff?

Doomberg on February 9, 2012 at 10:29 AM

This could set the stage for other changes, not so much at the federal level, but across the various states.

Hmmmm I wonder if it would also have a statute of limitation?

upinak on February 9, 2012 at 10:30 AM

Was it ever explained why Barbour pardoned these murderers? Was it just a typical bribe/buyoff?

Doomberg on February 9, 2012 at 10:29 AM

Ask Huckabee.

upinak on February 9, 2012 at 10:30 AM

Is every politician a corrupt, blathering idiot?

EddieC on February 9, 2012 at 10:32 AM

Haley should just move to San Francisco. He’s lost his mind.

BuckeyeSam on February 9, 2012 at 10:32 AM

Attorney General Jim Hood contends that if the people who received pardons from Barbour didn’t run ads in daily papers every day for 30 days, or weekly newspapers once a week for five weeks, the pardons are invalid under the state constitution.

And the counterpoint is whether or not Barbour or previous governors pardons complied with this provision. In other words, those looking to undo these pardons have their main point deflated if it can be proven that holding pardons to this standard has not been common practice.

Happy Nomad on February 9, 2012 at 10:32 AM

Was it ever explained why Barbour pardoned these murderers? Was it just a typical bribe/buyoff?

Doomberg on February 9, 2012 at 10:29 AM
Ask Huckabee.

upinak on February 9, 2012 at 10:30 AM

If Huck is busy…Call BJ Clinton!

KOOLAID2 on February 9, 2012 at 10:33 AM

Even if everything was above board, this has probably tainted any future, higher political aspirations Mr. Barbour might have hoped to gain.

With the media coverage this is getting, would either Santorum or Romney willingly take him as a veep pick?

And if Republicans have to run a fresh slate in 2016 and Barbour thinks he can throw his hat in the ring then, you can bet this will be thrown at him right out of the gate.

Logus on February 9, 2012 at 10:34 AM

If Obama loses this November, who do you think he will pardon in his fit of depression/anger? *shudders*

p40tiger on February 9, 2012 at 10:35 AM

Haley should just move to San Francisco. He’s lost his mind.

BuckeyeSam on February 9, 2012 at 10:32 AM

Is there a couch there, and botox available?

KOOLAID2 on February 9, 2012 at 10:36 AM

These “must be published in a newspaper” provisions are so 1950s, aren’t they? Why not instead require that the electronic media be notifed so there is a chance people will actually hear about it?

radjah shelduck on February 9, 2012 at 10:36 AM

Cripe

cmsinaz on February 9, 2012 at 10:36 AM

And the counterpoint is whether or not Barbour or previous governors pardons complied with this provision. In other words, those looking to undo these pardons have their main point deflated if it can be proven that holding pardons to this standard has not been common practice.

Happy Nomad on February 9, 2012 at 10:32 AM

Can non-compliance with a constitutional mandate constitute repeal of the requirement? I wouldn’t think so but I am not a Mississippi lawyer.

KW64 on February 9, 2012 at 10:38 AM

They need to put restrictions on a governors pardon power. One of the guy’s he pardoned, was just denied parole. If the parole board did not find him suitable for release, why did Barbour? Also, generally when someone is going to be paroled, the input of the victim or the victim’s family is required and considered. Why should it be any different for a pardon? Here, they didn’t notify victims until the day before the release.

Texas does it right. For all the attacks on Perry and Bush, they have little to say regarding executions. If the Board of Pardons recommends a pardon, then it is sent to the governor for a yay or nay. Bush was sent one and he granted it. Perry was sent two – one he granted and the other he denied (besides the murder he was sentenced to death on, he had three other robbery/murders).

Blake on February 9, 2012 at 10:45 AM

Was it ever explained why Barbour pardoned these murderers? Was it just a typical bribe/buyoff?

Doomberg on February 9, 2012 at 10:29 AM

Some of the murderers washed his cars and worked around the Governor’s mansion. They seemed like fine boys to him. /sarc

If the governor’s right to pardon is absolute, as it’s commonly understood, then there would be two completely contradictory laws, one of absolute power on pardons, and another of restrictions on such powers.

Paul-Cincy on February 9, 2012 at 10:46 AM

Even if everything was above board, this has probably tainted any future, higher political aspirations Mr. Barbour might have hoped to gain.

Logus on February 9, 2012 at 10:34 AM

This guy was getting pumped as a presidential contender just last year here. There is something deeply, horribly wrong in our party establishment.

Doomberg on February 9, 2012 at 10:47 AM

And the counterpoint is whether or not Barbour or previous governors pardons complied with this provision. In other words, those looking to undo these pardons have their main point deflated if it can be proven that holding pardons to this standard has not been common practice.

Happy Nomad on February 9, 2012 at 10:32 AM

Not really. The requirement is to give the public NOTICE. The public has an interest in receiving notice when thugs are going to be released. The public has not waived that requirement.

Blake on February 9, 2012 at 10:48 AM

Here’s an interesting project. There should be an option for any citizen or organization to initiate a referendum on a pardon. If the pardon is supported by less than 33% of the votes, the governor who granted the pardon takes the pardon recipient’s place behind the bars; if it has higher support, the organization that started the referendum pays for it.

Archivarix on February 9, 2012 at 10:48 AM

Was it ever explained why Barbour pardoned these murderers? Was it just a typical bribe/buyoff?

Doomberg on February 9, 2012 at 10:29 AM

The four most controversial ones were trustees working at the Governor’s mansion in various capacities. Louisiana has a history of outgoing Governors, like Edwin Edwards, pardoning trustees on their way out the door.

The other controversial one was pardoning a woman who got drunk and killed two doctors in an accident. Based on the story linked to the Clarion-Ledger, she apparently is married to a prominent Mississippi businessman and likely had political connections to get her out of the pokey.

teke184 on February 9, 2012 at 10:48 AM

What until Obama starts pardoning. Anyone want to bet Johnny Walker Lindh receives an Obama pardon?

Falling debris on February 9, 2012 at 10:49 AM

OT: When are we going to get our obligatory “dump on JFK for being a complete creep” thread?

Sure, he was a serial adulterer. But now we find out he passed around a 19-year-old to his fixer and later tried to do for Teddy? The Kennedys make me puke. And I loved how NBC invited Matthews, Kearns-Goodwin (didn’t she sleep with LBJ?), and some other clown on at the end of the show to try to rehabilitate the legacy.

BuckeyeSam on February 9, 2012 at 10:50 AM

This guy was getting pumped as a presidential contender just last year here. There is something deeply, horribly wrong in our party establishment.

Doomberg on February 9, 2012 at 10:47 AM

I do recall people talking about Haley and a presidential contention.

As for the establishment. They are pragmatists and in it for the game and power. That works for Democrats because they have no soul, fight dirty and think long term with multiple options – all of which are okay for them. Republicans have at least a little soul, don’t really fight dirty and tend to think short term politically, all of which makes it a bit hard for them nationally, but does keep them entrenched within the party.

Logus on February 9, 2012 at 10:53 AM

This guy was getting pumped as a presidential contender just last year here. There is something deeply, horribly wrong in our party establishment.

Doomberg on February 9, 2012 at 10:47 AM

To paraphrase Professor Plum, “you don’t know the kind of people they have there. I may go up in their estimation.”

teke184 on February 9, 2012 at 10:53 AM

What until Obama starts pardoning. Anyone want to bet Johnny Walker Lindh receives an Obama pardon?

Falling debris on February 9, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Try:

Judith Clark
David Gilbert
Mumia
Peltier

Blake on February 9, 2012 at 10:54 AM

The four most controversial ones were trustees working at the Governor’s mansion in various capacities. Louisiana has a history of outgoing Governors, like Edwin Edwards, pardoning trustees on their way out the door.

The other controversial one was pardoning a woman who got drunk and killed two doctors in an accident. Based on the story linked to the Clarion-Ledger, she apparently is married to a prominent Mississippi businessman and likely had political connections to get her out of the pokey.

teke184 on February 9, 2012 at 10:48 AM

Thanks for the information, Teke. I hadn’t heard much followup after the initial pardon story broke.

Doomberg on February 9, 2012 at 10:54 AM

Can non-compliance with a constitutional mandate constitute repeal of the requirement? I wouldn’t think so but I am not a Mississippi lawyer.

KW64 on February 9, 2012 at 10:38 AM

My point is this. Say Barbour’s previous pardons or those of Ronnie Musgrove (his Dem predecessor) didn’t comply with this mandate. Does the outcome of this case make THOSE pardons null and void? Conversely, why is it justifiable to hold these pardons to a different standard simply because people are upset when they were not in previous instances. No matter what the constitutional mandate may be, it all comes down to the practice not the letter of the law.

That being said, if I were seeking a pardon, I’d be sure to comply with the law. Even quaint provisions like the crux of the state’s case against these pardons.

Happy Nomad on February 9, 2012 at 10:56 AM

Clarification: Obama can only pardon federal prisoners. However, I suspect the donk governors will be pardoning the terrorists convicted in state courts.

I have to laugh. Every terrorist is now an “activist” and when sprung becomes an “academic.”

Blake on February 9, 2012 at 10:56 AM

My point is this. Say Barbour’s previous pardons or those of Ronnie Musgrove (his Dem predecessor) didn’t comply with this mandate. Does the outcome of this case make THOSE pardons null and void?

Happy Nomad on February 9, 2012 at 10:56 AM

It depends on how much time has lapsed. Here, people complained immediately.

Blake on February 9, 2012 at 10:58 AM

i love the inordinate amount of wife/gf murderers this tool pardoned.

suckabee also i recall was quite fond himself of pardoning murderous rapists as long as some evangelical church stood behind their poor lost sweet redeemed sex criminal and life taker… no matter how brutal the crime, no matter the objections of the victims and their families. victims don’t matter- only really powerful godlike yet merciful politicians and their saint-like, long suffering felons matter.

if you’d like a snap shot of the treatment of women in our society just look at those these two have pardoned and who those pardoned have killed. it’s misogyny and allows further predation on more unimportant females.it says it’s not such a bad crime for a man to kill his wife or girlfriend and rape-eh- it probably didn’t happen anyway. it’s no better than liberal sociopaths like PEN, susan sarandon et al pleading for the release of the most vicious piece of filth as long as it writes bad poetry, hates america, and thinks their own incarceration is only a political or racist act.

Four years ago, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour was criticized for pardoning six men who had been convicted of killing their wives or girlfriends. And now, he’s done it again.

“This sends a chilling message to victims of domestic violence,” says Liz Roberts, Chief Program Officer of Safe Horizon, a victim’s service agency in New York City. “The message is that the government isn’t prepared to protect them and to take the crimes against them seriously.”

http://tinyurl.com/6n4cwj4
http://tinyurl.com/6uedbld

barbour’s pet rapist that he let out without researching what the man was convicted of doing- the victim speaks out concerning. this guy has all the makings of if not a serial rapist also a serial killer of women:
http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/index.php/site/comments/rape_victim_fix_the_system_01182012/

mittens on February 9, 2012 at 10:58 AM

My opinion is: a person tried and convicted in a court of law has many chances to have the verdict overturned. The governor should not have almost an unaccountable ability to pardon people. This should done only be under extreme circumstances.

harvey1 on February 9, 2012 at 10:59 AM

Kearns-Goodwin (didn’t she sleep with LBJ?), and some other clown on at the end of the show to try to rehabilitate the legacy.

BuckeyeSam on February 9, 2012 at 10:50 AM

DKG is a complete joke and has been so since she got caught plagerizing academic works. Yet, she seems to be NBC’s go to gal for Presidential issues. She is the one who gets trotted out every time they want to defend a Democrat caught in bad behavior with the usual theme of “all Presidents” pass around their interns.

Happy Nomad on February 9, 2012 at 11:00 AM

There was a manhunt for one of the murdering turds pardoned by Barbour. He was finally caught and is now back behind bars. His crime happened in my county, so I hope he never sees the light of day again.

flyfisher on February 9, 2012 at 11:11 AM

Was it ever explained why Barbour pardoned these murderers? Was it just a typical bribe/buyoff?

Doomberg on February 9, 2012 at 10:29 AM

He wrote an OP-Ed in the Washington Post on January 18, 2012 explaining his actions. Although, I don’t think his explanation silences the critics because it was laughable.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/haley-barbour-on-his-pardons-of-mississippi-prisoners/2012/01/17/gIQAtOuG9P_story.html

DoS_Conservative on February 9, 2012 at 11:19 AM

You aint seen nothing yet.

When Obama leaves office – 11 months and counting, I hope – expect an avalanche of pardons. Chicago can use them, much more than Mississippi. I wouldn’t even put it beyond him to try to pardon future crimes (say, ‘all activities while furthering the cause of ….(fill in the blank with any organisation that a community organiser could endorse)…’ without a date restriction), which would certainly cause a firestorm. And it just might stand.

Phil_NL on February 9, 2012 at 11:20 AM

I Wonder …
How many Barbour detractors know anything about “risk assessment”, the LSI (“Level of Services Inventory”), or anything else having to do with long-ago sociopathic behavior? My educated guess is zero, zip, nada.

Why am I not surprised that so many people react only viscerally?
I thought that real conservatives believed in “redemption”, penance, etc.
Take the hint.

~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on February 9, 2012 at 11:33 AM

But if the legislature, with the backing of an enraged public, can manage to tie the governor’s hands in this case it will set a compelling precedent.

Really? How about, If the Govenor did not follow the rules, then he made a huge mistake which he will now get reversed on…

CCRWM on February 9, 2012 at 11:34 AM

This guy was getting pumped as a presidential contender just last year here. There is something deeply, horribly wrong in our party establishment.

Doomberg on February 9, 2012 at 10:47 AM

+1 But if I recall correctly, Barbour wasn’t an establishment pick…

The same people who supported Barbour then are, no doubt, the same people supporting Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, and who formerly supported Michelle Bachman, Herman Cain, and Donald Trump.

So perhaps the problem isn’t the party establishment; perhaps the problem is conservative primary voters, who seem to be completely un-serious when it comes to anything other than lynching gays and abortion doctors.

hicsuget on February 9, 2012 at 11:52 AM

I Wonder …
How many Barbour detractors know anything about “risk assessment”, the LSI (“Level of Services Inventory”), or anything else having to do with long-ago sociopathic behavior? My educated guess is zero, zip, nada.

Why am I not surprised that so many people react only viscerally?
I thought that real conservatives believed in “redemption”, penance, etc.
Take the hint.

~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on February 9, 2012 at 11:33 AM

Let me see…don’t care about “risk assessment or LSI.”

Ummmmmm….don’t give a rat’s arse about redemption, penance or forgiveness because I believe that’s up to God.

Signed, a real conservative.

Run along and go learn about hints.

moonsbreath on February 9, 2012 at 12:05 PM

Let me see…don’t care about “risk assessment or LSI.”

Ummmmmm….don’t give a rat’s arse about redemption, penance or forgiveness because I believe that’s up to God.

Signed, a real conservative.

Run along and go learn about hints.

moonsbreath on February 9, 2012 at 12:05 PM

LOL
It has afforded me a LONG, successful, and lucrative career.
Multiple college degrees and clinical certifications, forensic examiner, former warden, Court confidante, etc, are my bona fides … yours?
I bet yer one o’them thar moons, breath, who thinks all alleged “sex offenders” should be executed – innocent or not.
Just a guess of course, having encountered many like you over the years.
And yes, I have recommended that some reprobates be executed.
You?

~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on February 9, 2012 at 12:30 PM

Why am I not surprised that so many people react only viscerally?
I thought that real conservatives believed in “redemption”, penance, etc.
Take the hint.

~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on February 9, 2012 at 11:33 AM

Redemption and penance can happen behind bars. Washing the Gov’s car or being the wife of his BFF is not penance.

Imagine being loved one of the murder victim. Barbour ruined some lives with his pardons. He’s SCUM.

BoxHead1 on February 9, 2012 at 12:40 PM

who seem to be completely un-serious when it comes to anything other than lynching gays and abortion doctors.

hicsuget on February 9, 2012 at 11:52 AM

“Lynching”?! BWAHAhahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gad! You’re an idiot!

Any chance you can provide a link to those “lynchings”, idiot?

Solaratov on February 9, 2012 at 1:17 PM

lynch
verb \ˈlinch\
Definition of LYNCH
transitive verb
: to put to death (as by hanging) by mob action without legal sanction

Just for the edification of idiots.

Solaratov on February 9, 2012 at 1:21 PM

I have not paid much attention to who he pardoned. However, if they worked, like here in Louisiana, at the governor’s mansion, they had already proven to be low risk and model prisoners/trustees.

Yes, there actually are cases where some sentenced for murder/manslaughter has made their peace with the family of the victim by exhibiting true contrition and every attempt possible to make amends.

Barbour was being touted by former Reagan staff members to run for president and he was the one responsible for the GOP’s huge win in 1994, much more so than Newtron.

Barbour caught my eye when he line item vetoed the state ethanol subsidy passed during the previous year by his predecessor. He governed conservatively and pragmatically in Reaganesque fashion. He deserves a lot of credit for being level headed post-Katrina and during the BP Macondo oil spill unlike many bloggers who touted every cockamamy nutjob report on the internet. (like ALL “conservative” websites did.)

Kermit on February 9, 2012 at 1:24 PM

“Attorney General Jim Hood contends that if the people who received pardons from Barbour didn’t run ads in daily papers every day for 30 days, or weekly newspapers once a week for five weeks, the pardons are invalid under the state constitution.”

That is an absurd proposition. Once a person is set free, the government cannot drag them back in except in some exceptional cases (wrongdoing by the defendant to obtain a not guilty verdict, for example). We’re not talking about double jeopardy but similar issues come into play.

Look at the law on pardons again:
“…in cases of felony, after conviction no pardon shall be granted until the applicant therefor shall have published for thirty days, in some newspaper in the county where the crime was committed, and in case there be no newspaper published in said county, then in an adjoining county, his petition for pardon, setting forth therein the reasons why such pardon should be granted.”

Is that a restriction on the governor or a restriction on those to be pardoned? Answer honestly. I read it as a restriction on those to be pardoned. Without that law, inmates would routinely request pardons privately.

Various laws require publication, including things like name changes. Requiring publishing is a means of administration, ensuring that an applicant is not getting away with anything untoward and that the public good is served. If the governor decides to waive a requirement of publishing, any fault is on the government. The inmates did not engage in wrongdoing, they were simply not required to publish.

So does the governor have the right to waive that requirement? The power of pardon is broad and generally recognized as absolute. Presumably the governor will not ignore the public good and he has broad discretion (about who to pardon) with no means of appeal. Is it thus proper for the courts to intrude on this power of another branch because he waived a technical requirement? It’s a political issue improper for the court to intrude upon.

Okay, but what if it were a restriction on the governor. The legal rights of those pardoned are not perpetually dependent upon proper administration by the government. Once free, you can’t throw the person back in jail for improper administration (or even errors by a judge). The governor may be able to be sanctioned in some manner but you can’t punish the pardoned for the governor’s improper administration.

This case doesn’t even look close. I wager the courts will leave it up to the political branches to decide how to administrate pardons in the future. I cannot imagine that the court will decide (without statutory provision) that the governor could not waive this technical requirement when the target of the statue is ambiguous at best.

Crispian on February 9, 2012 at 1:28 PM

+1 But if I recall correctly, Barbour wasn’t an establishment pick…

The same people who supported Barbour then are, no doubt, the same people supporting Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, and who formerly supported Michelle Bachman, Herman Cain, and Donald Trump.

So perhaps the problem isn’t the party establishment; perhaps the problem is conservative primary voters, who seem to be completely un-serious when it comes to anything other than lynching gays and abortion doctors.

hicsuget on February 9, 2012 at 11:52 AM

Wow, that might be the most ignorant thing I’ve ever heard. You assumed that the people who supported Barbour are “no doubt” the same that supported in part or in full Bachman, Cain, Trump. Then you proceed to say they’ve advocated lynching gays and abortion doctors? Perhaps you could post a link to a study, poll or even some joe schmoe off the street that ever advocated ‘lynching’?

Cheap shots are the tool of someone with limited intellect and a loose grasp on reality ie a Democrat. Care to fess up to you party offiliation?

StompUDead on February 9, 2012 at 1:34 PM

errrr * affiliation

StompUDead on February 9, 2012 at 1:36 PM

Once free, you can’t throw the person back in jail for improper administration (or even errors by a judge). The governor may be able to be sanctioned in some manner but you can’t punish the pardoned for the governor’s improper administration.

Crispian on February 9, 2012 at 1:28 PM

Sure you can. It was up to the applicant to publish the notice.

Blake on February 9, 2012 at 1:42 PM

Sure you can. It was up to the applicant to publish the notice.

Blake on February 9, 2012 at 1:42 PM

I addressed that very directly, Blake. The governor waived that requirement.

Crispian on February 9, 2012 at 1:44 PM

I Wonder …
How many Barbour detractors know anything about “risk assessment”, the LSI (“Level of Services Inventory”), or anything else having to do with long-ago sociopathic behavior? My educated guess is zero, zip, nada.

Yes, I’m against it.

Why am I not surprised that so many people react only viscerally? I thought that real conservatives believed in “redemption”, penance, etc.

I believe in punishment.

Take the hint.

~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on February 9, 2012 at 11:33 AM

You first.

Blake on February 9, 2012 at 1:44 PM

I addressed that very directly, Blake. The governor waived that requirement.

Crispian on February 9, 2012 at 1:44 PM

Obviously, he did not have the power to waive the requirement or they would not be court now.

Blake on February 9, 2012 at 1:46 PM

Obviously, he did not have the power to waive the requirement or they would not be court now.

Blake on February 9, 2012 at 1:46 PM

Obviously a person did something wrong if they’re in court, eh?

His ability to waive the requirement (or not) is far from obvious. That is why I believe the court will exercise restraint and leave the matter up to the political branches. And even if the governor is said to not have the power to waive the requirement, the rights vested in the pardoned cannot be revoked because of improper administration. Freedom is fundamental and not undone because the governor ignored a technical requirement.

While it may make sense to you, statutory analysis is not done in the way you approach it. Laws are read as they apply to people – not to situations in some general sense.

Crispian on February 9, 2012 at 1:57 PM

The tradition of placing in the chief executive a power to pardon goes back to the beginning of civilization. In Barbour’s case the pardons appear sincere (and without a hint of corruption like Clinton’s pardon of Mark Rich). It is unfortunate that adverse publicity makes it so difficult to grant mercy, and to grant it generously. We could begin with cutting back on the scores of people labeled sex offender who have no business being there. Still, for the seemingly countless numbers of self-loathers in deep denial, there really is no better pass-time than vigorously casting the first stone everywhere they can; just imagine if they were to run out of others to condemn, then they would have no choice but to deal with the palpable disgust derived from pondering their reflection in the mirror.

Mark30339 on February 9, 2012 at 2:03 PM

Obviously a person did something wrong if they’re in court, eh?

If he had the power to waive the requirement, yes it would be obvious and they would have been released and they would not be in court. The pardons are void. Barbour is no longer in office. Hopefully, there is a new more sane governor who actually respects the law and people who do not go out and rape, rob, and murder.

You can get off you soapbox. Your advocating on behalf of an old boy network that has no respect for innocent people is not impressive.

Blake on February 9, 2012 at 2:10 PM

Mark30339 on February 9, 2012 at 2:03 PM

What are you…from NAMBLA? lol!

Blake on February 9, 2012 at 2:12 PM

Blake, you’re starting to contort. As I said, it’s not obvious either way. Certainly you’ve read of court cases where something is “obvious” but the case continues. You haven’t directly responded to anything I’ve said and you’ve resorted to personal attacks.

So listen, I’m random guy from the internet who apparently has some legal training. I’ve offered my legal analysis. I’ve done this in some detail and explained the basic error you’re making in reading the statute. Standing on your soapbox accusing me of doing so doesn’t provide you much cover. See how the courts decide. I wager I’ll be right.

Crispian on February 9, 2012 at 2:20 PM

Is every politician a corrupt, blathering idiot?

EddieC on February 9, 2012 at 10:32 AM

Yes, and water is wet and the sky is blue.
Any other statements of the obvious you need?

Nathan_OH on February 9, 2012 at 4:19 PM

Spell check strikes again:

rein not reign

slp on February 9, 2012 at 7:13 PM

Again, if the pardons went thru, the result is a lack of process. This would seem to fall under the State AG, assuming there is not another specific law/prison enforcement overseer. Blaming Barbour is a Democrat AG looking forward. How does it compare to past examples, since this is some tradition?

Why weren’t these horrible people just killed? there’s the second story, with the first being zero oversight on Pardon Power.

John Kettlewell on February 9, 2012 at 7:44 PM

Barbour really blew himself up with this. He was days away from leaving office as a popular and successful governor, highly respected for his handling of Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath. He was on everyone’s short list of potential future POTUS and VP candidates. Now he’ll be remembered as the guy who callously (and probably unconstitutionally) set a bunch of murderers free, just because they used to mow his lawns or whatever. What the hell was he thinking? In any case, his political career is over now. Stick a fork in him, he’s done.

Hayabusa on February 10, 2012 at 12:09 AM