Mississippi Court Upholds Barbour Pardons

March 8, 2012 Updated: March 8, 2012

Mississippi’s Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that former Gov. Haley Barbour’s controversial pardons that freed several convicted murders were valid.

Barbour, a Republican, pardoned nearly 200 people before he finished his second term in January. Four murderers and a robber who were pardoned by him worked at the governor’s mansion.

Attorney General Jim Hood argued that Barbour failed to post notice of the pardons in local newspapers, which is a requirement.

In its 77-page ruling, the Supreme Court said that the governor’s office “may not be set aside or voided by the judicial branch” and its “decision is in accord with the separation-of-powers doctrine.” Barbour’s decision, it added, “rested solely with the governor.”

Justice Michael Randolph in a dissenting opinion wrote that the decision represents a “a stunning victory for some lawless convicted felons, and an immeasurable loss for the law-abiding citizens of our state.”