Barbour Refuses to Pardon Innocent Man
Clyde Kennard was railroaded. He was sentenced to seven years in a Mississippi prison for possessing $25 worth of stolen chicken feed. The only witness against him later recanted his testimony. His real crime was his attempt to enroll at the University of Southern Mississippi after four years in the service.
His temerity drew the ire of segregationist leaders who were determined to fight integration at USM.
Kennard died years ago, but those who want to set the record straight were hoping that Gov. Haley Barbour would award him a posthumous pardon. Not gonna happen.
"The governor hasn't pardoned anyone, whether they be alive or deceased," Barbour spokesman Pete Smith said Thursday.
After all, mere innocence -- not to mention race discrimination -- shouldn't stand in the way of preserving a criminal conviction. Law and order guys like Barbour don't want to set a precedent. Next thing you know, all the other wrongly convicted prisoners would think they deserve a pardon too.
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