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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Up to 200 inmates given clemency by Gov. Haley Barbour, could be returned back to prison on judge's order

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 01:  Mississippi Govern...
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Former Miss. Gov. Haley (R)Barbour Clemency released
inmates might be returned back to prison

A Mississippi judge January 11th evening issued a temporary injunction forbidding the release of any more prisoners pardoned or given clemency by outgoing Gov. Haley Barbour, whose actions created an uproar.


The pardons include four convicted murderers and a convicted armed robber who were released Sunday. The five now must contact prison officials on a daily basis as their fate is adjudicated.
The pardons are "a slap in the face to everyone in law enforcement and Gov. Barbour should be ashamed," said state Attorney General Jim Hood.
The process of releasing 21 other inmates has been halted, said Hood, who sought the court order. A court hearing on the matter will be held January 23.


Hood said Barbour violated Mississippi's Constitution because the pardon requests for many inmates were not published 30 days before they were granted, as required by Mississippi state law.
"He's tried to rule the state like Boss Hogg and he didn't think the law applied to him," Hood told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Wednesday night, referring to a character in the 1980s TV series "The Dukes of Hazzard."
"These families are afraid out here," Hood said of relatives of crime victims.
Hinds County Circuit Court Judge Tomie Green issued the injunction, saying it appeared some pardons, including those for the four murderers, did not meet the 30-day requirement. All inmates released in the future must meet the standard, Green ruled.


On his way out the door, the Republican governor approved full pardons for nearly 200 people, including 14 convicted murderers, according to documents the Mississippi secretary of state's office released Tuesday.


The four murderers who received full pardons last week named David Gatlin, Joseph Ozment, Charles Hooker and Anthony McCray, were cited in Green's order.


They were all serving life sentences and worked as inmate trusties at the governor's mansion, said Suzanne Singletary, spokeswoman for the Mississippi Department of Corrections. Trustees are inmates who can receive additional rights through good behavior.


Hood told "CNN's Anderson Cooper 360" it's possible that those who didn't meet the 30-days requirement may have to return to prison and complete their sentences.

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