Thursday, February 5, 2009

Mississippi: Reform?

Rep. Brandon Jones (D) is committed to reforming the governor's pardon power and currently has three different bills in committees to that end. If Jones has it his way, the governor would be required to hold a hearing with the Sheriff and District Attorney in the county where a crime was committed, before the final pardoning decision. A parole board would also issue an opinion on pardon petitions before the Governor makes a decision. Finally, Jones would have the state constitution amended to prevent the Governor from pardoning people convicted of violent crimes.

State Senator Michael Watson (R) also has three bills in committees addressing the pardon power. His would disallow convicted murderers from serving as "trusties" in the governor's mansion. He would also amend the State constitution to limit which types of criminals the governor can pardon and force a hearings in towns where crimes are committed before pardoning decisions are made.

The deadline for all such legislation to pass committee is Tuesday. See story here.

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