Tag Archives: haley

Haley Barbour Inspires Reminiscence of Ray Blantonn

The flap in Mississippi over pardons granted by outgoing Gov. Haley Barbour prompts Keel Hunt to reminisce in a Tennessean piece about the “cash for clemency” in Tennessee at the end of Gov. Ray Blanton’s tenure. It starts like this:
An ugly uproar in Mississippi last week — over the surprise pardoning of 200-plus convicts by departing Gov. Haley Barbour — is stirring some deep echoes in Tennessee.
Convicts suddenly set free. Secrecy. Mystery. Outrage.
It should all remind Tennesseans of a dark night in our own history — 33 years ago tonight, in fact — when another governor made national headlines of the worst kind.
On Jan. 15, 1979, Gov. Ray Blanton issued 52 executive clemencies in a late-evening meeting at his State Capitol office. By the next day, news of what he had done had touched off a bonfire of public outrage.
Less than 48 hours after his extraordinary signing spree, Blanton was out of office, stripped of his power by a bipartisan “coup” that was unprecedented in American history.
Barbour’s action this week has not been fully explained. He said most of those he pardoned had served their prison time, but Mississippi’s attorney general has challenged the action, and a judge has stopped 21 of the releases
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