Tag Archives: Mississippi

3 Plead Guilty to Hate Crime for Murder of Black Man

Seal of the United States Department of Justice

Seal of the United States Department of Justice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Three white Mississippi men pleaded guilty to federal hate crimes in connection with the June 2011 beating death of an African-American man in Jackson.

Deryl Dedmon, John Aaron Rice, and Dylan Butler admitted to killing James Craig Anderson. They face life in prison and $250,000 fine.

Mr. Dedmon had already pleaded guilty to state murder and hate-crime charges Wednesday in a state court and was sentenced to life in prison.

The men are among the first defendants to be prosecuted under the federal hate-crime statute that President Barack Obama signed in 2009.

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Santorum Wins Mississippi

, U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania.

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Rick Santorum has won the Mississippi Republican primary.

Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney are in a close battle for second.

Thirty-seven of the forty Mississippi delegates are tied to the primary, and the state will award those delegates proportionally.

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Santorum Wins Alabama

Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Rick Santorum has won the Alabama Republican primary.

Forty-seven of Alabama’s fifty delegates are tied to the primary, and the state will award those delegates proportionally.

Mr. Santorum, coming off a win in Kansas on Saturday, got a boost in the battle to be the alternative to Mitt Romney by beating Newt Gingrich on his home turf.

Mississippi is also holding a primary today, and Hawaii and American Samoa are holding caucuses.

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Mississippi Supreme Court Rules Barbour’s Pardons Valid

Haley Barbour

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Controversial pardons issued by Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour before he left office are valid, the state’s Supreme Court has ruled.

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Barbour’s 200 Pardons Conferred on the White, Well-Connected, and Well-Funded

Gov. Haley Barbour

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This month, Mississippi’s governor, Haley Barbour, pardoned 198 people as he left office.

Mr. Barbour issued ten times as many pardons as his four predecessors combined. Among them were four murderers who worked at the Governor’s Mansion and Brett Favre’s brother, who killed a friend in a drunken-driving accident.

A close look at some of the clemency applications of the pardoned reveals that a significant share contained appeals from members of prominent Mississippi families, major Republican donors, or others from the higher social strata of Mississippi life.

The governor erased records or suspended the sentences of at least ten felons who had been students at the University of Mississippi or Mississippi State when they were arrested, including at least three who killed people while driving drunk and several others charged with selling cocaine and ecstasy. Another pardon went to the grandson of a couple who once lived near Mr. Barbour’s family in his hometown, Yazoo City.

One beneficiary, who killed an eight-month-old boy in an alcohol-induced crash in 2001, is a member of the prominent Hill Brothers Construction Company family, big-money political donors who give mostly to Republicans, including Mr. Barbour. The man’s uncle sought and received a pardon from President George W. Bush in 2006, erasing a federal income tax conviction.

Mr. Barbour declined to comment on the pardons. His spokesperson said that in 95% of the cases, the governor went along with the recommendation of the parole board he had appointed. In some cases, the governor granted pardons that the board unanimously opposed.

In a state with the highest poverty rate in the nation, where nearly 70% of convicts are black, redemption appears to have been attained disproportionately by white people and the well connected.

Via The New York Times.

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Judge Halts Barbour’s 200 Pardons

Mississippi Governor 's signature.

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A Mississippi judge has halted the releasing twenty-one pardoned inmates by issuing a temporary injunction, said state Attorney General Jim Hood.

Outgoing Gov. Haley Barbour approved full pardons for nearly 200 people, including fourteen convicted murderers.

The pardons included four convicted murderers and a convicted armed robber who were released Sunday. The five now must contact prison officials as their fate is adjudicated.

Attorney General Hood said Gov. Barbour violated Mississippi’s Constitution because the pardon requests were not published thirty days before the governor granted them.

The four murderers who were released had worked at the governor’s mansion as they served their life sentences.

A court hearing on the matter is scheduled for January 23.

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Mississippi: The Worst State in America to Have HIV

Estimated number of people in the world living...

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Recently, an elderly woman in Mississippi was left alone on the curb outside a hospital emergency room. The woman didn’t have a medical emergency. She’d been dumped by the nursing room employees who had learned that she had HIV, according to a lawyer at the Mississippi Center for Justice to whom she was eventually referred.

This sort of abuse is stunning, and it’s stunningly common. Mississippi, which ranks last or next-to-last in many health indicators, is the worst state in the country for people with HIV and AIDS. It’s also the state with the fastest-growing population of those infected with the virus.

Head over to Salon to read about the factors working against those with HIV/AIDS.

Via Salon.

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“Personhood” Amendments Coming to a Ballot Near You

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Jon Huntsman, the lone voice of sanity in the Republican field. Image via Wikipedia

Last week, Mississippi voters sent Initiative 26, the “Personhood” Amendment, shrieking off into the night. Even though 58% of voters in the reddest of red states rejected the abortion ban, advocates of calling zygotes people insist that this isn’t the last you’ll see of them.

Keith Mason, President of Personhood USA, says he has no plans to give up; he plans on taking his talents to South Beach, where he’ll attempt to get Personhood on Florida’s ballot next year and solidify his status as the LeBron James of terrible ideas. He’s also trying again in Montana, Oregon, California, Nevada, and Ohio. Personhood was on the ballot in Colorado in 2008 and 2010, and voters rejected the measure both times.

Mr. Mason doesn’t blame his cause’s defeat on the fact that women (and men) like women having control over their reproductive capacities; instead he blames people being confused by the liars at Planned Parenthood. Of the rejection of Initiative 26, he says,

it’s not because the people are not pro-life. It’s because Planned Parenthood put a lot of misconceptions and lies in front of folks and created a lot of confusion.

Planned Parenthood, by the way, told people what the amendment would actually do, using facts. Anti-Personhood advocates simply pointed out that Initiative 26 would ultimately harm women.

If Personhood USA doesn’t have popular support even among conservatives, at least they have politicians willing to pay them lip service. In the Mississippi gubernatorial race, both the defeated Democrat Johnny Dupree and the victorious Republican Phil Bryant supported the Personhood amendment. As Salon’s Irin Carmon points out, it was difficult to find more than a handful of public officials willing to declare that they were opposed to the amendment.

The Republican Presidential field (with the exception of Jon Huntsman) has reached a general consensus that personhood is a dandy idea. Even Mitt Romney has said he would sign personhood legislation into law as the country’s executive.

Copied (and much edited) from Jezebel, whom I thank for the very astute LeBron James reference.

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Mississippi Rejects “Personhood” Amendment

A constitutional amendment that defined a fertilized egg as a person failed on the ballot in Mississippi on Tuesday, dealing the so-called “personhood” movement another blow.
Amendment 26 supporter Sandy Comer puts out a campaign sign at the polls at the Chamber of Commerce in Oxford, Mississippi on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Oxford Eagle, Bruce Newman)

Mississippi would have become the first state to define a fertilized egg as a person, a measure aimed at outlawing abortion in the state.

In the end, those concerns about unintended consequences of the law won in a strongly anti-abortion state. That measure could have criminalized birth control, affected in vitro fertilization practices, and led doctors declining to give pregnant cancer patients with chemotherapy for fear of legal repercussions.

The measure earned the support of both parties in Mississippi, including both parties’ nominees for governor.

“Personhood” supporters had tried to pass a similar measure in Colorado in 2008 and 2010, but voters in that state rejected it more than two-to-one both times.

The “personhood” movement is a more aggressive maneuver than many anti-choice advocates prefer.

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