Pascagoula Lawmaker Seeks To Eliminate Governor's Pardon Power

Michael David Graham
Michael David Graham

By Patrice Clark - bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Nancy Northern and her family still carry the emotional wounds from the 1989 murder of their loved one Adrienne Klasky. Northern says it's very disheartening to know why Barbour let her aunt's killer and ex-husband walk free.

"I was angry. We kept Michael, three different times, in prison when he went up for pardoning . Because he went to the governor's mansion, which I look at that as a posh job, he supposedly  was nice and had this unblemished record," Northern said. "I don't feel the governor should have the power to pardon."

The family's outrage has prompted District 111 Representative Brandon Jones to find ways to change the pardon process.

"It not so much about whether or not we trust a governor when elected, it is about whether or not we trust the justice system," Jones said.

Representative Jones has authored two bills that will go before legislators. The first would make it impossible for a governor to grant any kind of reprieve or pardon to someone convicted of murder.

"If an individual is deemed to be guilty of these various crimes, we don't think that process and system should be overwritten by the judgement of one person, no matter how high their office may be."

Jones calls his second bill a backup plan.

"It would require any governor that initiated the pardon process to have a public hearing in the county where the crime occurred. It just makes sense that the local folks get to weigh in on it. And that, of course, includes the sheriff, district attorney, and the chief law enforcement agents, who, in most cases, know about the crimes."

Jones is also drafting legislation that would exclude certain criminals under consideration for trusty status.