Monday, January 9, 2012

Haley pardons yet ANOTHER convicted murderer; legislation to follow

WAPT has the story on another convicted murderer being pardoned by outgoing Gov. Haley Barbour (R).  This time, it's Joseph Ozment, who was convicted of the murder of Ricky Montgomery, armed robbery, and conspiracy in 1994.  He was sentenced to life, and served 17 years before his pardon.

Surely Montgomery's family was consulted on this prior to the release, right?  Or at least they were given a head's up that Barbour was considering releasing the man who murdered their loved one?  Nope. According to the story:
On Saturday, Montgomery's nephew said his mother got a call from the Mississippi Department of Corrections, saying Barbour pardoned Ozment. 
"Of course it's devastating. You know, we go through this and it's reliving it over again and again when I don't think the general public has any idea of the things these convicts are doing," said Montgomery's nephew, Mark McAbee.
This, of course, isn't the first time Barbour has been in hot water over the liberal use of his pardon power. In addition to his weekend pardon of a man who shot his wife while she was holding their child, Barbour also faced heat this past term for moves like pardoning Michael Graham, who shot his ex-wife in the head at close range with a shotgun in front of his former in-law's furniture store. And of course, even those aren't the only ones.

In the wake of the Graham matter, former Rep. Brandon Jones (D-Pascagoula) introduced legislation to limit the Governor's pardon power. That legislation was killed in conference committee after passing both houses in slightly different form. It appears as though a new effort to limit the Governor's power is forthcoming.


Anderson said...

I am not clear what limits the Legislature thinks it can place on the pardon power, given Sec. 124 of the state constitution.

Anderson said...

Well, seeing the vigorous debate here, I'll toss out a suggestion:

The Legislature can't restrict the pardon power, but it *can* pass a law that no one convicted of murder (and let's throw in rape, eh?) shall be a trusty at the Governor's Mansion.

Whether the GOP Legislature will pass such a law, I cannot say, but I think it would be popular with the public at large.

bill said...

Prisoners, especially murderers, shouldn't be allowed to work outside the prison, I don't care how good they've been. Keep the convicts in jail and this problem largely goes away. How many decent people could have gotten those jobs at the Governor's mansion? I would rather use those jobs to give deserving civilians a chance than to save a few thousand dollars from a multi-billion dollar budget by employing criminals. Bill Billingsley