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Mississippi judge blocks Haley Barbour pardon of 21 inmates

Did Haley Barbour violate the Mississippi Constitution with the pardon of 208 inmates? A Mississippi judge issued an injunction blocking the release of some inmates late Wednesday.

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Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour pardoned more than 200 convicts during his final days in office.

REUTERS/Molly Riley/File

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A Mississippi judge has temporarily blocked the release of 21 inmates who'd been given pardons or medical release by Republican Haley Barbour in one of his final acts as governor.

Circuit Judge Tomie Green issued an injunction late Wednesday at the request of Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood.

Hood said he believes Barbour might've violated the state constitution by pardoning some inmates who failed to give sufficient public notice that they were seeking to have their records cleared.

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Barbour said in a statement Wednesday, a day after leaving office, that he believes people have misunderstood why he gave reprieves to more than 200 inmates. Most received full pardons, while others received suspended sentences because of medical conditions. Barbour said 189 of the inmates had already completed their incarceration.

Barbour was limited to two terms and issued the list of pardons and early releases Tuesday about the time his successor, Republican Phil Bryant, was being inaugurated. Barbour wouldn't answer repeated questions about the pardons Tuesday.

In Wednesday's statement, Barbour said: "The pardons were intended to allow them to find gainful employment or acquire professional licenses as well as hunt and vote. My decision about clemency was based upon the recommendation of the Parole Board in more than 90 percent of the cases."

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