Monday, January 30, 2012

Attorney General Hood sets the record straight on Barbour's attempt to shift blame for Pardongate; says Barbour is "a desperate man"

Here is the full text of a press release from the office of Attorney General Jim Hood:

It is unfortunate that former Governor Barbour has made some misrepresentations about the role of our attorney assigned to the Mississippi Department of Corrections. At no time did our Assistant Attorney General assigned to MDOC advise the Governor or any of his assistants that there was no requirement for publication. The comments by former Governor Barbour are a shameful attempt to deflect blame for his office’s failure to confirm that the requirements of the Constitution had been met.

First, the special assistant attorney general, David Scott, who the governor has supposedly relied upon, has only one client, the DOC; he is housed there and works together daily with the Commissioner of Corrections, Chris Epps. He is the MDOC lawyer. Scott is not counsel to the Governor who had his own three staff attorneys advising him.

On November 28, 2011, Scott texted Daryl Neely with the governor’s office and said, “please refer to Section 124 of Constitution regarding pardons and notice”. So, the governor and his staff and his attorneys were given the law at that time and had plenty of time to make sure publications were done properly before his term expired. So what did the governor and his staff do? Nothing. In fact, Daryl Neely told David Scott on November 29th that the governor’s staff had discussed the Constitutional publishing requirements and “decided it wasn’t necessary.”

Not until December 6, after 5:03 p.m., (31 days before the pardons were issued), did Neely text back to David Scott that ““top guy” wants to go ahead and run notices” for mansion trusties, and a few minutes later provided a list of names. The next day, December 7, 30 days before the pardons were actually issued, David Scott confirmed for his client, MDOC, that MDOC would take care of publication for the in-custody inmates. David Scott’s job was to advise MDOC, and their job is to run prisons, not to issue pardons.

Neither David Scott, nor the AG, nor any AG staff ever talked to an inmate or provided legal advice to an inmate. At the direction of DOC, David Scott did in fact refer the Governor’s Office to Section 124, which the Governor chose to ignore. Later, David Scott passed along the ‘Top Guy’s” last minute request that MDOC do the task of getting the publications done.

Finally, the Constitution puts the duty on the convict to make the newspaper publication, saying “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…his petition for pardon….” The failure to comply cannot be excused because the governor took it upon himself and an agency he controls to do the required publications, then botched the job. And his attempt to shift the blame for his failure to a career staff attorney for MDOC, who advised him well in advance of the law’s requirements, is shameful .

I am disappointed to see the former governor out in the national media making untrue statements. This is a sideshow by Tom Fortner and the former Governor to divert attention from the fact that the former Governor has loosed his favored murderers upon the public without any legal authority to do so. These untruths and mischaracterizations are indeed the sign of a desperate man.


Curt Crowley said...

Disgraceful of attorney general Conway Twitty to call out Mr. Fortner by name in his attack piece on Haley Barbour. The more the Coiffed Crusader talks, the more he reveals his redneck nature.

The only sideshow is twitty's tough talking cop-speak from behind his well-guarded desk.

Oh well. At least he ain't prosecutin' family.

Anonymous said...

Thank God that we have a Democratic Mississippi Attorney general in this state, or the families of the murdered victims, along with the God fearing, law abiding residents and taxpayers of this state would probably never have known any of this stuff! What a pathetic way to leave the state's highest elected office, not to mention the "black-eye" given to the state of Mississippi during these tough economic times.

Curt Crowley said...

Yes indeed billy. And one who's not afraid to pretend to go on "manhunts" in a jurisdiction where he has no authority, to serve papers in a civil case on a guy that's not doing anything illegal. Wherever would we be without Buford Hayse Hood?

Ben said...

Once again, J.H. trying to spin this thing. Bottom- line: Hood is wrong and he's started an avalanche that can't be stopped. To twist this and say that its the applicants sole responsibility to post notice is asinin and illogical. Under this ridiculous interpretation, an applicants lawyer can't post notice on behalf of his client. Dumbest thing I've ever heard. Politics. Good luck to anyone truly deserving of clemency. People, read all the text messages referred to above. Mr. Scott ran his mouth and is now trying to hide behind J.H. Great job, fellas. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

DVDJ Commish and Ben - I am enjoying reading about your conservative Republican defense of premeditated murderers gaining their freedom from life-plus sentences. Perhaps you can recruit them to become members of the Mississippi Republican Party, serving under Haley Barbour, since they definitely believe in freedom and less government interference, freedom to KILL PEOPLE!

Curt Crowley said...

Billy, for what it's worth, I also don't have a problem with pardons and commutations issued by musgrove or mabus. If I'm not mistaken, one of Barbour's pardons went to a convicted murderer who was already out of prison because Musgrove had commuted his sentence. Considering that he hasn't re-offended, Musgrove made the right call to commute the sentence, and Barbour made the right call to issue the pardon. Point is this: this has nothing to do with party and everything to do with separation of powers and perverting the justice system for political purposes. And of course Twitty's insistence on pretending he's a cop.