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The Mississippi Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the controversial pardons issued by Haley Babour during his final days as the state's governor, the Associated Press reports.
The outgoing Republican governor pardoned a total of 198 people before completing his second term in office on Jan. 10. The move left many conservatives in his home state outraged, particularly because the group included four convicted killers who had worked as inmate trusties at Babour's official government residence.
State Attorney General Jim Hood, a Democrat, had challenged the pardons, arguing that some did not meet the state's constitutional requirement that notices of forthcoming pardons be published in a newspaper 30 days before they become official. But ultimately the state's highest court decided that technicality wasn't enough to overturn the pardons.
The vast majority of those who received the pardons in question had already been released from prison, and Barbour maintained that his actions were taken in order to clear the way for the former inmates to find employment or obtain hunting licenses now that they had served their time.
Ten, however, were still incarcerated at the time they were pardoned. Half of those had already been released by the time Hood convinced a lower court to temporarily block the restraining order, while the other five have remained in custody pending a final decision, according to the AP.