Haley Barbour, the former governor of Mississippi, raised many eyebrows after he pardoned more than 200 convicted felons in his home state when he left office. One of these pardons has already come back to haunt him.
In January, Barbour pardoned Harry Bostisk, who was a convicted DUI felon residing in a jail in Oxford, Mississippi, according to a report this week from CNN.com.
Bostick was in a jail cell awaiting charges from a drunk driving accident involving the death of 18-year-old Charity Smith. Fault for the accident has yet to be determined, but Bostick’s presence in jail wasn’t only related to the fatal accident.
Sources indicate that Bostick was initially thrown into jail for violating the terms of his probation that had been a result of a previous DUI sentence. In fact, Bostick appears to have a long record of drunk driving problems and subsequent good fortune with the police and court system in Mississippi.
According to CNN, Bostick was arrested for a felony drunk driving offense in March 2009. That incident was Bostick’s third arrest for drunk driving in a little more than a year, which is a staggeringly high rate of DUI arrests.
After his third DUI arrest, Bostick was eventually sentenced in March 2010 to a year of house arrest and four years in an alcohol treatment program, which had strict guidelines for repeat offenders.
During the beginning stages of this program, which occurred through the state’s drug court, Bostick began lobbying the governor for a pardon. Bostick had several high-profile friends send letters to the governor, claiming that Bostick’s behavior could be explained by a recent divorce with his wife and the recent death of his son in a freak house fire.
These letters, apparently, had an effect on the governor, as he eventually pardoned Bostick after receiving advice from the Mississippi Parole Board, which recommended a pardon by a vote of 3-2.
And, according to sources, one week after Bostick allegedly caused the fatal accident that resulted in the death of 18-year-old Charity Smith, he was unceremoniously released from jail.
State officials claim that Bostick had been pardoned before the accident, and that they did not realize he had caused the fatal accident when they released him from jail.
Of course, while charges have not officially been filed, the case is already a nightmare for the Mississippi Parole Board and Haley Barbour. Critics of the former governor were already claiming that he had abused his pardon privileges, and this incident simply adds fuel to their arguments.