Saturday, January 21, 2012

Mississippi: Cause for Celebration, In Spite of ...

One of our several complaints about former governor Haley Barbour's last-minute pardon rush was the fact that it cast a cloud of suspicion over the clemency process (as it always does and as it very well should) and well-deserving recipients of mercy as well. Today's Boston Globe gives some attention to such persons. When 61-year old Vietnam veteran Thomas Ailes heard that he had been pardoned for a marijuana conviction in the 1970s, he drove his truck to the capital to pick up the pardon himself! Said Ailes, "I'm going to have about 10 copies of this bad boy made. And this one here is getting framed."

The Globe reports "most" of Barbour's pardons were for "lesser crimes, some dating back decades."

64-year old Herbert Lowery was busted for delivering marijuana thirty years ago, and refers to it as a "shameful mistake." Says the Globe:
Like Ailes, the pardon isn't likely to have much effect on Lowery's life. He too is disabled, from heart surgery and lung cancer. He's an avid hunter, but a judge restored his right to own a gun years ago. He's been voting ever since he got of prison. "I just wanted to clear my name before I died," Lowery said. "I'm so ashamed of what I did."
For others, the pardons offer a chance at a better job and a better life. Which makes it all the more amazing that Barbour sat on the 250 applications forwarded to him by the State's Parole Board and all but ignored the pardon power for eight years, until his last day in office. See full story here.

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