The Supreme Court of Mississippi [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] 6-3 on Thursday that the pardons of nearly 200 people by Governor Haley Barbour (R-MS) were valid, despite a challenge by Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood [official websites]. Barbour pardoned 198 people before the end of his second term in office. Hood challenged these pardons, alleging that the governor's actions violated the requirements for clemency in the Mississippi Constitution [materials]. The court ruled that Barbour's pardons were lawful, reversing the lower court's decision, which granted Hood's request for a temporary restraining order.
After inititally granting clemency in January, Barbour made a statement justifying his actions [press release], including an explanation for the pardons of convicted murderers who had worked as trusties at the Governor's mansion. In 2008, President George W. Bush made several controversial pardons [JURIST report] before his time as President ended. In September of last year, the state of Georgia executed Troy Anthony Davis [advocacy website; JURIST news archive] after his eleventh-hour appeal for clemency was denied [JURIST report] by the US Supreme Court.