A law-and-order Republican governor, Haley Barbour of Mississippi, has given full pardons or clemency to 208 inmates, including 14 convicted murderers, setting off a political uproar over the limits of executive power in the traditionally patriarchal South.
Mr. Barbour, a popular two-term governor who was term-limited from serving more, signed the pardons before leaving office on Tuesday. The surprise spree caught both Republicans and Democrats off stride, and it suggested that Barbour, who had flirted with running for the White House last year, may be leaving politics for good.
It has become so bad that a judge had to step up and actually block the pardons:
A Mississippi judge Wednesday evening issued a temporary injunction forbidding the release of any more prisoners pardoned or given clemency by outgoing Gov. Haley Barbour, whose actions created an uproar.
The pardons include four convicted murderers and a convicted armed robber who were released Sunday. The five now must contact prison officials on a daily basis as their fate is adjudicated.
The pardons are "a slap in the face to everyone in law enforcement and Gov. Barbour should be ashamed," said state Attorney General Jim Hood.