A close look at some of the clemency applications of nearly 200 of the other felons who were pardoned reveal that a significant share contained written appeals from members of prominent Mississippi families, major Republican donors or others from the higher social strata of Mississippi life.Is any thinking person really surprised? See story here.
In our view, there is additional "breaking news." PardonPower spoke with one of the authors of the Times article linked above and it was his distinct impression that "most" of the recommendations made by the State's Parole Board were forwarded to Haley Barbour in the last six months of the administration! Unfortunately, for now, we don't know if "most" here means closer to 51 percent, or closer to 90 percent. But, regardless, this news creates several layers of complexity to both Barbour's behavior and normative analysis of the general situation in Mississippi.
If the Parole Board sat on applications, and did little, for the greater part of eight years, then it is as much to blame as Haley Barbour. If a large number of applications were dumped on Barbour on the last minute, then he didn't have much of a choice with respect to granting clemency so near the end of the term. Why hasn't Barbour ever mentioned this factor in his own defense? It certainly makes more sense / sounds more reasonable than references to Christianity and Hurricane Katrina. If that is when he got the applications from the Board, then that is when he had a chance to make the decisions!
In thinking along these lines, one wonders if Barbour may have actually even instructed the State's Parole Board not to forward applications his way while he was considering a run for the presidency. Remember, the members of the Board are selected by Barbour. This would, of course, explain the fact that Barbour has not thrown the Board under the bus ... yet.
Sooner or later, the Board of Parole will have to stand under the same spotlight as Barbour.