The Mississippi Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether former Gov. Haley Barbour broke the law but not notifying the public 30 days before he issued pardons that set free dozens of criminals, including at least one convicted murderer.
Barbour, a Republican, made the pardons shortly before he left office, many of inmates who'd worked as trustees in the governor's mansion. Attorney General Jim Hood, a Democrat, was outraged and sought to have the pardons overturned on the technical grounds that Barbour didn't provide the notice required under state law.
A lower court ruled that those who've been released must check in with corrections officials every 24 hours and, according to the Associated Press, the Supreme Court upheld that ruling, pending a formal hearing on the request to overturn the pardons.
According to the AP, roughly two dozen of the 198 individuals pardoned followed the law and provided notice of their intent to seek a pardon. Hood wants the rest of the pardoned individuals to lose their pardons. Most of them have been out of jail for years and sought the pardons as a way to clear their records. Others, though, would be returned to jail.
"Five of the pardoned are being held on a temporary restraining order issued by Hinds County Circuit Judge Tomie Green," the AP writes.
The Supreme Court's decision to take the case removes the question from a lower court — a path sought by those who'd received the pardons.
"They (Supreme Court) are taking the issues we've raised very seriously and will give them consideration," Tom Fortner, an attorney representing four pardoned men, said to Reuters.