Miss. high court takes ex-gov pardons case

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The Mississippi Supreme Court said Wednesday it will take up the legal challenge to the pardons ex-Gov. Haley Barbour gave out in his last days in office.

State Attorney General Jim Hood, a Democrat, wants to invalidate dozens of the 198 pardons that Barbour, a Republican, handed out before his second four-year term ended Jan. 10. Ten of the people were still incarcerated when they received reprieves.

Only about two dozen of the people pardoned followed the Mississippi Constitution's requirement to publish a notice about their reprieves in their local newspapers for 30 days, said Hood, who wants the others invalidated. Barbour has said the pardons are valid and that he gave them because he's a Christian and believes in second chances.

Most of the people who could lose their pardons already served their sentences and have been out of prison for years. Some of them were convicted of comparatively minor crimes as far back as the 1960s and 1970s and have never been in trouble again.

Five of the pardoned are being held on a temporary restraining order issued by Hinds County Circuit Judge Tomie Green. The Supreme Court extended that order until it can rule on the matter. It set a hearing for Feb. 9 and said it would try to rule quickly.

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