Barbour: Proposed Miss. pardon limits take away hope

Leslie Carlton Smith wants to coach his 6-year-old son’s soccer team, chaperone him at Boy Scouts events and take him hunting.

But until former governor Haley Barbour pardoned Smith, 46, last week, the Biloxi, Miss., man could not be the dad he wanted to be because of a felony conviction from his teens.

“It’s hard to tell a 6-year-old why I can’t do some of things his friend’s dads can,” Smith said Monday. “It’s a little embarrassing for me.”

Smith, who was convicted 30 years ago of armed robbery with a deadly weapon, is an example of what one expert describes as the appropriate use of the gubernatorial pardon power.

Barbour, who has said he is “at peace” with the 200-plus pardons he granted on his way out of office, said limiting pardon power in Mississippi would be “a very bad mistake.”

USA Today
1/17/12