Sunday, January 29, 2012

Just When Everyone Thought Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour Was the Worst Ever

It Turns Out He is Even More Despicable

When Republican and Conservative Governor Haley Barbour left that office in the state of Mississippi he issued a huge number of pardons.  There were almost 200 of them, and the New York Times has taken a look at them.

A close look at some of the clemency applications of nearly 200 of the other felons who were pardoned reveal that a significant share contained written appeals from members of prominent Mississippi families, major Republican donors or others from the higher social strata of Mississippi life.

So what kind of people got pardons from the supposedly law-and-order Governor?  Well in addition to the usual group of assailants and murders it seems there were an awful lot of drunk drivers, and not the kind of drunk drivers that ran off the road and knocked down a mail box.  These were drunk drivers who killed people.

The governor erased records or suspended the sentences of at least 10 felons who had been students at the University of Mississippi and Mississippi State when they were arrested, including at least three who killed people while driving drunk and several others charged with selling cocaine, ecstasy and other drugs. 

And though it is not for the squeamish, let’s put a real face on the horrific crimes some of these people did.

One beneficiary, Burton Waldon, had killed an 8-month-old boy in an alcohol-induced crash in 2001. Mr. Waldon, a high school senior at the time, pleaded guilty and received a suspended sentence.

But Mr. Waldon had connections and a family well used to the pardon business.

He is a member of the prominent Hill Brothers Construction Company family, big-money political donors who give mostly to Republicans, including Mr. Barbour. An uncle of Mr. Waldon, Kenneth W. Hill Sr., sought and received a pardon from President George W. Bush in 2006, erasing a federal income tax conviction.

And how about this case

 On a Saturday night in October 1995, a blue Toyota came hurtling down the wrong side of a county road in a town in north Mississippi and crashed head-on into a pick-up truck. Scotty Plunk, the driver of the truck, was killed. The driver of the Toyota, 19-year-old Joel Vann, had been drinking so much that he did not remember the moments leading up to the accident.

Mr. Vann pleaded guilty to “D.U.I.-death,” and in lieu of jail time attended a drug and alcohol treatment program in Washington State. Last January, Mr. Vann applied for a full pardon. A year later, he was one of 198 people to receive a full pardon from Gov. Haley Barbour in his last days in office.

[Note what happens in Mississippi if you get all liquored up and kill someone, a suspended sentence in one case, attendance at a drug and alcohol treatment program in another].

The article documents the clear use of influence from the wealthy and the politically connected to obtain these pardons.  Many of the pardons were not impacted by connections, but there is this

In other cases, applicants relied on someone who had the connections they lacked. The file of one man, who had participated in the gang rape of a 17-year-old in 1976 , included a reference letter from his employer, a large donor to Mr. Barbour and other Republicans.

The applicant received a pardon, as did two young men who robbed a grocery store at gunpoint in 1997. While their post-prison lives appear to be commendable — one is studying for a degree in mechanical engineering at Ole Miss — their petition was reinforced by a letter from Bob Dunlap, a major donor to the Republican Party.

And finally, will the pardons result in additional deaths?  Well there is this one.

Of all the pardons issued by Mr. Barbour, the case involving Harry R. Bostick, first disclosed by a blogger in Oxford, Miss.Tom Freeland, may be the most confounding.

Mr. Bostick, a former criminal investigator for the I.R.S., was sentenced in May 2010 for his third drunk driving offense — a felony — and ordered into treatment.

Several former government lawyers and law enforcement officers who worked with him on federal tax prosecutions submitted letters on his behalf. In one, a former United States attorney, Jim Greenlee, argued that Mr. Bostick had reversed his destructive course of conduct. “He now fits the criteria and meets the human factors that make his pardon a wise decision,” Mr. Greenlee wrote.

In October, Mr. Bostick, 55, was arrested again for drunken driving, this time in an accident that left an 18-year-old waitress dead. The waitress, Charity Smith, was working at Cracker Barrel to save money for college. On a Friday night, her Buick collided with Mr. Bostick’s truck.

Mr. Bostick was charged with his fourth D.U.I. On Jan. 10, he was pardoned for his prior felony D.U.I. by Mr. Barbour.

But don’t worry about Mr. Barbour being attacked by the main stream media, or the pundits of the radio and television, or Fox News.  After all, that would be media bias because Mr. Barbour is a Conservative Republican supporting family values, assuming of course that a “family value” consists of getting drunk and destroying another family in a drunk driving accident.


  1. The truly outlandish fact is that for a fleeting moment the gop considered him as potential Presidential material.

  2. Even worse is I'm awaiting my familiy's response and I suspect it will be a simple, the govenor didn't do it. Remember, my family lives on the coast and can't imagine they have anything to with it. Please show what clowns and charlatans they are?

  3. I hope someone advises Charity Smith's mother to sue everyone involved in this tragedy.

  4. I am confused by this statement regarding the Bostick case - "On a Friday night, her Buick collided with Mr. Bostick’s truck." That implies that it was her fault and that she hit him.