The Mississippi Supreme Court has taken up the pardon case. All sides hope the high court can make sense of the matter soon.

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Supreme Court Will Decide Pardons Case

By Daniel Cherry | Published 02 Feb 2012 07:17pm | comments

All sides in the case involving former Governor Haley Barbour's pardons say they're glad the Mississippi Supreme Court is taking on the dispute. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports there are some serious constitutional questions the high court has to sort out.

The Mississippi Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments on the pardoning case on Thursday. Attorney General Jim Hood says since the high court bypassed the appeals process, it should expedite a final decision.

"My job is to enforce the law regardless of who it is or who may have violated it. We call balls and strikes. This is about a serious constitutional issue and whether or not the constitutional rights of victims were violated."

Hood says the Supreme Court will be narrowly focusing on a few issues...mainly, are some of the nearly 200 pardons in violation of the 30 day notification period required by the state constitution? And what exactly does the notification clause mean. Randy Walker was shot in the head by David Gatlin, one of those pardoned by Barbour. He wants the court to put Gatlin back in prison for not giving at least 30 days notice.

"If they decide that these are legal without doing that 30 day notice, they violate my constitutional rights as well as all the other victims who didn't get this 30 day notice."

Those who have been pardoned see the issue a little differently. Tom Fortner represents four of the former Governor's Mansion trusties who received pardons. He says the Governor's pardoning power is absolute and all of the reprieves should stand.

"This is a lot bigger than an argument about: What does it mean to publish for 30 days? This is an issue about whether or not a power granted exclusively by the Constitution to the Governor can to trumped or reviewed by any other branch of the government."

Attorney General Jim Hood says if the court finds the pardons invalid, the case will likely be sent back to the Hinds County Circuit Court where the pardons will be sorted out individually. 




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