I am Tom Freeland, a lawyer in Oxford, Mississippi. The picture in the header is my law office. I'm on Twitter as NMissC

Missing Posts: If you have a link to a post that's not here or are looking for posts from Summer of 2010, check this page.


Statements from Gov. Barbour and Charles Griffin about the Supreme Court pardons decision

Here’s a statement from Gov. Barbour about the Mississippi Supreme Court pardon decision:

“I’m grateful for the decision issued today by the Supreme Court of Mississippi upholding the Governor’s constitutional authority to exercise clemency. In this decision, the Supreme Court has reaffirmed more than a century of settled law in our state. But this […]

What and when on the Pardons Decision

I’ve been tied up with work, but thought this a good moment, one week on, to ask what folks will predict about the pardons decision.

This is a good question to ask on a blog, because I don’t see how anyone outside the court could have a clue.  Past experience just isn’t a guide […]

The New York Times on the Pardons argument

Here’s Campbell Robertson’s take.

What is this right of the people?

During the argument yesterday in the pardons case, one of the justices repeatedly stated that there was a “right of the people” relating to the publication requirement.  At least once, he said that the people, by adopting the constitution, reserve a right to have the publication provisions followed.

Suppose that this view attains a […]

The Mississippi press at work

The Clarion Ledger, the Sun Herald, and the Daily Journal all have up wire stories about the Supreme Court’s en banc argument of the pardons case.

Here’s the story as published by the Daily Journal.

The Jackson Free Press had reporter R.L. Nave at the hearing.  Here’s his report on the first two hours. […]

Live Blogging the Barbour Pardon Supreme Court argument


I just started watching at 9:05 (had an appointment).

Fortner is being seriously questioned, and doing a good job responding.

Hard question:  If the governor did a pardon prior to conviction, could that be raised in court?

Fortner:  Yes.  He explains that question would come up when the improper pardon was raised as a defense to a prosecution.   The court could here that, and, unlike the pardons in this case, it would not be a pardon valid on its face.  He then explained how the pardons in this case all recited that there were convictions– they were valid on their face.

He was then questioned about cases involving mandates to the legislature.

Dickinson:  Don’t you think there are circumstances that the court would go behind the legislature, talking about the Hunt case.  Uses an example of the legislature passing a rule that only the male legislators could vote on a bill.  Could the court hear that question.

Fortner:  For that kind of arguement, the court could go anywhere it needed to go.


Q: Is it your position that the governor has the right to waive the obligation of the petitioner to publish?

A: The Governor is the sole judge of the propriety of the publication.

Q. asked based on the dicta in  Metz 

A.  Not just Metz.  Also refers to Hall (the legislature case) and a 19th C case.

Later:  Judicial review ends when the pardons on their face are valid.

Q about pardons for treason (which require approval by the legislature)

A.  Consent of the senate would have to be on the face of the pardon.

My note:  I think Fortner has answered a couple of tough questions in ways that are problematic for him.  If there must be a recital of act by the legislature on a treason pardon for it to be facially valid, shouldn’t there be a recital about publication, another requirement in the constitution?

Fortner:  If you are shown a pardon that doesn’t show on its face its validity.

Q:  cites a libel case that notes in passing the requirement of publication.  The publication of a pardon application was the basis of a libel suit, and the court noted that these  publications are required and therefore privilged.

Continue reading Live Blogging the Barbour Pardon Supreme Court argument

The rest of the papers on the Barbour pardons

The Mississippi Supreme Court has granted Gov. Barbour’s request to file an amicus brief and appear, and given him thirty minutes argument.  Charles Griffin of Butler Snow signed Gov. Barbour’s brief.

Here’s the remaining briefs:

Kambule Brief Brown brief Howard brief

Here’s the order granting Gov. Barbour’s amicus request:

Order argument

I’ve read all […]

Briefs in the Pardon case

Here are a number of the briefs. If I am reading the docket right, there may be as many as four more briefs from various combinations of parties. The brief by Robinson was signed by Fred Banks; also on the cover are Charles Pickering, Luther Munford, and John Collettte, among others. Fortner signs his […]

The Supreme Court oral argument in the pardons case

The Mississippi Supreme Court has scheduled an hour of argument to a side in the pardons case.  There’s a long explanation of media and public access to the two hour argument scheduled for Thursday.

Should we do a betting pool about how each side divides up their hour?

So far we’ve got the following […]

A Proposed Stipulation in the Pardons Case?

A quick reminder for laypeople in the audience.

… a stipulation is an agreement made between opposing parties prior to a pending hearing or trial. For example, both parties might stipulate to certain facts, and therefore not have to argue those facts in court.

When Judge Norman Gillespie was a magistrate, and parties at a pretrial conference would start […]