Thursday, January 12, 2012

Judge Tomie Green orders no further releases for pardons; order focuses on Section 124's language

Attorney General Jim Hood (D) sought an injunction yesterday from Hinds County Senior Circuit Court Judge Tomie Green that would prohibit the Mississippi Department of Corrections from releasing any more of the inmates purportedly pardoned by Gov. Haley Barbour (R). Judge Green granted that motion, and issued a hand-edited order yesterday around 6 p.m., and the Clarion-Ledger has it posted on their site.

The nature of injunctive relief does not leave much time for careful word processing, so often judges will do as Judge Green did here, and edit the proposed order by hand. To me, there are two interesting parts to this order.

First, that Judge Green wrote in the types of crimes Barbour was pardoning. She adds "i.e., murder, manslaughter, rape, armed robbery, aggravated assault, sexual assault, kidnapping, burglary, domestic violence, etc." I wasn't at the hearing, but I'm certain Hood brought up the nature of the crimes being excused by Barbour. Here, Green seems to be letting the respondents know that the nature of the crimes committed by these purported pardon recipients makes the matter one of larger import than if they had been, say, guilty of possession of cocaine.

Second, Judge Green underlines the portion of Section 124 that reads "no pardon shall be granted until the applicant therefor shall have published for thirty days, in some newspaper in the county where the crime was committed, and in case there be no newspaper published in said county, then in an adjoining county, his petition for pardon, setting forth the reasons why such pardon should be granted." That shows that the Defendants need to be prepared to argue that the publications either happened or aren't required, and they're going to have a tough time if they want to argue the latter.

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