Criminal Justice

Judge Blocks Release of 21 Inmates Granted Clemency by Outgoing Mississippi Governor

A judge in Jackson, Miss., has issued a temporary injunction blocking the release of 21 inmates pardoned or given medical release by outgoing Gov. Haley Barbour.

Attorney General Jim Hood had sought the injunction on the ground that Barbour may have failed to give 30 days’ published notice as required by the state constitution, report the Associated Press, CNN and the New York Times. Judge Tomie Green issued the injunction late Wednesday.

The injunction doesn’t apply to five men already released, including four convicted murderers. The men had worked as trustees living at the governor’s mansion, a perk given for good behavior. They will have to appear in court on Jan. 23 to prove the publication requirement was met, and could be required to return to prison if there was no notice, Hood says.

“It’s unfortunate Gov. Barbour didn’t read the constitution,” Hood said, according to the AP account.

Before leaving office, Barbour granted clemency to 215 convicted men. Most had already left prison—AP puts the number at 189 and the Times at 188. The pardons, Barbour said in a statement, were intended to help the men find jobs or acquire professional licenses, and to hunt and vote. Of the 26 still in prison, 13 were costing the state money in medical expenses.

Barbour is joining the law firm Butler, Snow, O’Mara, Stevens and Canada and its lobbying arm, the Sun Herald reports.

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