Folks for those that have not heard, on his last day in office Mississippi Gov Boss Hogg issued almost 200 pardons, which by historic standards here in Mississippi is a huge number for a Gov. It is troubling that he seemed to favor male murderers that killed women and the sheer number of last day pardons has some observers wondering if Gov Hogg engaged in some pay to play with the process. I don’t know what the going rate is for a pardon these days but legendary Louisiana legislator B.B. “Sixty” Rayburn, a Mississippi guy from way far back, once told me the story of how 2 head of cattle got his relative a pardon from then Mississippi Gov Bilbo so it is a fair question in my estimation. My own two cents there is I don’t think Boss Hogg took any money folks but to paraphrase Nowdy I think I know how the cat or in this case the Hogg thinks.
There are two folks on the Gov’s list that drew my particular attention as I knew the victims personally and both have been highlighted in the press feeding frenzy today including an erroneous report in the Jackson Clarion Ledger. Before I get to them let me begin with the Mississippi AP trio of Holbrook Mohr, Emily Wagster Pettus and Jeff Amy’s coverage:
Among those getting full pardons was the brother of former NFL quarterback and Southern Miss standout Brett Favre. Earnest Scott Favre had his record cleared in the 1996 death of his best friend, Mark Haverty. Favre had driven in front of a train in Pass Christian while drunk, pleaded guilty in 1997, and was sentenced to a year of house arrest followed by two years’ probation.
I’ve known the victim’s family since I was a kid and due to the fact that Scott’s brother Brett is famous, this case made big news on the coast when the alcohol fueled tragedy happened back in the mid 90s. While much was made at the time of the light sentence received by Favre in the local media I don’t ever recall ever seeing reported the fact that the victim’s family did not want Favre prosecuted at all. The DA gave Favre the house arrest and probation because of that and caught hell in the media because of it, unfairly in my opinion given the stance taken by victim’s family. This leads us to an inaccuracy in the reporting on this case by the Clarion Ledger whose reporter obviously did not have access to all the facts when she wrote:
Earnest Scott Favre did receive a full, complete and unconditional pardon. Though originally only expected to serve one year of house arrest for causing his friend’s death while driving drunk in 1996, the elder Favre had his full sentence – 15 years – reinstated after leaving home for a fishing trip.
Not exactly since it was Favre’s probation officer who gave him permission to take that local fishing trip and he ultimately successfully completed the terms of his original deal with the DA. The bottom line here is I don’t suspect Mark’s family is upset with the pardon Scott received though the media coverage certainly opens some old wounds.
Another case is the manslaughter conviction of Karen Irby in the death of two Jackson area doctors Lisa Dedousis and Daniel “Mark” Pogue. I knew Mark professionally because before he was a Doc he was an accountant that had particularly good connections with the SBA. Karen Irby was the wife of Stuart Irby, son of a legendary powerline construction mogul by the same name. The younger Irby is not a chip off the old block and his wife was served up as the sacrificial lamb for the alcohol fueled deaths of Dedousis and Pogue in an auto accident as Karen Irby steadfastly maintained Stuart was beating her while she was driving him home. Given Stu’s subsequent scrapes with the law since his then wife went off to do an 18 year stint in the pokey, I believe Karen Irby’s story. That said the pardons evidently pain Dr Dedousis’s family per the Jackson Jambalaya Blog as they were not notified. I remember Mark as a very bright and driven man who died way too young.
In any event this is the story dominating discussion in Mississippi today. I’m personally very uncomfortable with the sheer number of murderers in the list and think Boss Hogg went hog-wild with his constitutionally bestowed power to pardon. That said there was a quote in the Clarion Ledger reporting that is worth repeating given the contents of this post as it is certainly true:
…an attorney for two of the total 221 helped by Barbour said each case should be examined carefully before making an overall judgment.
“There are a whole lot of people in prison who should not be there,” said Chokwe Lumumba, also a Jackson City Councilman. “Obviously, murder is the kind of thing you put people in (prison) for,” he continued, “but that doesn’t mean that people cannot be rehabilitated.”
Unfortunately when someone dies that is something that can not be undone.