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Haley Barbour pardons case moved to Supreme Court

Mississippi Supreme Court will hear arguments next week about whether several pardons issued by former Gov.

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Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour speaks to the media at the Sweetwater Youth Center on August 31, 2010 in Sweetwater, Florida accompanied by Rick Scott, the Republican candidate for governor of Florida. (Joe Raedle/AFP/Getty Images)

The case involving former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour issuing pardons to prisoners in his last days in office will now be heard by the state's Supreme Court.

(GlobalPost reports: Haley Barbour pardons four convicted murderers, sparking outrage)

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, a Democrat, wants to invalidate dozens of the 198 pardons that Barbour, a Republican, handed out before his term ended Jan. 10, the Associated Press reported.

Hood has argued that pardons issued to convicted murders David Gatlin, Charles Hooker, Anthony McCray, Joseph Ozment and convicted robber Nathan Kern, among others, violated a state constitutional requirement that notice be posted for 30 days in the newspapers representing the area where the crimes were committed.

The state high court on Wednesday granted a request from attorneys representing four of those pardoned to move the case from the Hinds County Circuit Court, WAPT.com reported.

Attorneys for Gatlin, Hooker, McCray and convicted robber Nathan Kern reportedly asked that the Mississippi Supreme Court consider the case.

The Supreme Court set a hearing for Feb. 9 in Jackson and reportedly said it would try to rule quickly.

The AP wrote that five pardoned men who worked as Governor’s Mansion trusties — four convicted killers and man serving life for robbery — had already been released by the time Hood sought the injunction.

"The judge told the trusties to contact corrections officials every 24 hours, but one of them missed a court hearing before he was served with a summons this week in Laramie, Wyo."

Barbour, the AP reported, has said that he gave the pardons "because he’s a Christian and believes in second chances." 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120201/haley-barbour-pardons-prisoners-mississippi-constitution