Thursday, February 16, 2012

Brown Investigates Barbour Further

Representative Cecil Brown is specking up re Haley Barbour's last-minute pardons and what he says is well worth noting. Among other things, Brown says:

* At my request, the staff of the legislative Performance and Expenditure Review Committee (PEER) reviewed the files of those who were pardoned. The files for five of those who were pardoned could not be located.

* The files for 10 of those pardoned contained no application for pardon. (Such an application is required by parole board rules.)

* Sixteen applicants were granted pardons in spite of negative recommendations by the Parole Board. Thirteen of those sixteen received a unanimous “no” vote by the Board.

* The Governor’s office, the Parole Board and the Department of Corrections all reported that they could not locate a file for Karen Irby. It seems to have disappeared.

* Governor Barbour has maintained that in granting pardons and commutations he relied on the Parole Board recommendations. In at least 16 cases that appears to not be true. Unfortunately, whatever recommendations the Parole Board has made are not reflected in their minutes, probably a violation of state law.

* The Board keeps no record of what files they have transmitted to the Governor for review.

Says Brown: "I will be introducing legislation to correct these problems in the current legislative session. I support the Governor’s right to grant clemency. It is an important tool to serve justice when properly executed. However, there should be a process in place to insure that there is proper documentation of all the relevant facts. All official actions of the Parole Board should be spread upon their minutes, and those minutes and all public documents should be preserved, tracked and available for public review. It is unconscionable that the Parole Board has handled such an important matter in such an off-handed manner." Bravo, Rep. Brown!

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