Attorneys react to pardon injunction hearing

Attorney Ed Blackmon is representing convicted criminals Aaron Brown and Azikiwe Kambule who was a teenager when sentenced.

“He has a legitimate pardon from the state. Pardons have been given over the last century in Mississippi, and his pardon we believe is solid,” Blackmon said.

High profile lawyers represent other convicts pardoned of crimes like rape, armed robbery and drug possession.

“My client’s name is Buster Caldwell,” said Jackson attorney John Reeves. “He was convicted in Yalobusha County in 1976, and he’s been out for about 20 years. The law for a hundred years or more has said that the governor can do it, and it’s up to him to decide if the requirements have been met, nobody else.”

Caldwell was convicted of rape and robbery.

Reeves noted the Parole Board approved of his pardon which was published.

“My client’s name is Kelly Bellapani,” said attorney Oliver Diaz.

Bellapani was convicted in Harrison county of Possession of a Controlled Substance.

“He was actually honorably discharged from the military,” Diaz said. “He pleaded guilty to a crime about 15/20 years ago. He’s been a model citizen since, and I think he’s entitled to that full and complete pardon.”