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Old 01-30-2012, 11:58 PM   #1
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Default Mississippi Governor Pardons 4 Murderers

Pardoned Mississippi murderer found in Wyoming

Joseph Ozment pleaded guilty in the fatal shooting of a store clerk in 1992.

Joseph Ozment pleaded guilty to the 1992 murder of Rick Montgomery
He was released from prison after a pardon from then-Gov. Haley Barbour
Ozment was served with papers at a Laramie, Wyoming, hotel
He is one of four convicted murderers Barbour pardoned this month
(CNN) -- A convicted murderer who was pardoned this month in a controversial move by outgoing Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, has been found in Wyoming, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood announced Monday.
Joseph Ozment was served with papers at a hotel in Laramie, Wyoming, where he had been staying under another name, his office said. As he was fleeing in his girlfriend's car, Ozment bumped an officer and sped from the parking lot. He later returned to the hotel on foot, denying he had been behind the wheel, Hood said. The officer was not seriously hurt.
Ozment's whereabouts had been unknown since he was picked up by his mother on January 8, after his release.
"We said we would find him, and we did," said Hood. "Now, we will let the court decide what happens from here."
Ozment is one of four convicted murderers Barbour pardoned this month. He did not appear at a court hearing in a case challenging the pardons. Hood has said officials wanted to serve Ozment with a document telling him to appear in court. If he does not comply, a judge has the authority to hold him in contempt, the attorney general's office said.
A Jackson, Mississippi, judge is expected to hear the case this week.
As he closed out his second term as governor, Barbour granted "full pardons" -- meaning the convict's record is effectively wiped clean -- to more than 200 people found guilty of a variety of crimes. All four of the convicted murderers he pardoned were serving life sentences and worked as trusties at the governor's mansion.
The move stirred outrage among relatives of the pardoned murderers' victims.
"It's just an every minute, constant, in the back of your mind, where is he? What is he doing?" said Mary McAbee, sister of Rick Montgomery, a store clerk shot to death by Ozment in 1992. Ozment pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
"I'm fearful. He's a cold-blooded murderer to do what he's done, and if he thinks that he may go back to prison, what's he got to lose?" she said.
Hood has been particularly outspoken, earlier this month calling the pardons "a slap in the face to everyone in law enforcement and (saying) Gov. Barbour should be ashamed."
The attorney general is questioning the pardons for "failure to sufficiently meet the publication requirements of the Mississippi Constitution," his office said.
Barbour has defended his pardons. On Friday, he appeared on CNN's "John King USA," saying Ozment and the others have been rehabilitated.
"He has no obligation to do anything. He's been pardoned. He's a free man," Barbour said.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/30/justic...html?hpt=hp_t3

Is it a good idea to empower a state's Governor to erase a conviction by jury after due process has run its course without having to justify that action? I'm wondering why we allow it...
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Old 01-31-2012, 12:21 AM   #2
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My opinion here:

http://forums.liveleak.com/showthread.php?t=89166
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Old 01-31-2012, 01:41 AM   #3
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A similar episode took place in Tennessee back in the 1980s. Pardons were handed out like candy for cons who were working at the governor's mansion. It turned out the governor was selling the pardons. He was removed early from office and eventually did a jail term himself.
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