Haley Barbour’s Pardon of Murderers Shows Political Corruption Is Alive & Well

mississippi governors mansionWhat a corrupt legacy former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour leaves behind. I was shocked by the 200+ pardons he issued on his way out of office, but the more you dig into the details, the uglier the picture gets. Barbour's many shady pardons make Mississippi politics look like a backwards swampland of good-old-boys back-scratching, a reputation that will stick to the governor's mansion like tar. I don't envy the incoming governor's job of cleaning up this tarnished reputation.

Four of the pardoned inmates are former trustees of the Governor's Mansion. They were all convicted of murder. And they walked free this past weekend.

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David Gatlin and Anthony McCray killed their wives (well, in Gaitlin's case, ex-wife), Joseph Ozment killed a man in a robbery, and Charles Hooker was sentenced for life for murder. True, they were convicted before Barbour's two terms as governor, but it still makes Barbour look like one of the most corrupt governors in American history. So there's a lesson learned -- working for a governor has its benefits, especially if you plan on killing someone someday.

I don't mean to be flippant here. I'm just shocked and sickened by this news. Not only were they pardoned -- but they were among the first to be released! A Mississippi judge has blocked 21 of Barbour's pardons, but it's too late for these four. And keep in mind, these are not "alleged" murderers. These are men who were found guilty of murder by a court of law.

None of these men had been released early for good behavior. And the weak reason Barbour gave for all the pardons makes no sense at all. "The pardons were intended to allow them to find gainful employment or acquire professional licenses as well as hunt and vote." Yup, wouldn't want to deprive a convicted killer a hunting license, now, would we?

What do you think about former Governor Barbour's pardons?

 

Image via J R Gordon/Flickr

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