When Haley Barbour issued his now-infamous raft of pardons in his waning hours as governor of Mississippi, he pardoned five convicted murderers and several sex offenders. However, he couldn't be bothered to pardon Jamie and Gladys Scott, who presently are suffering through one of the worst miscarriages of justice in American history.
For those who don't know, the Scott sisters were sentenced to life in prison back in 1993 for an armed robbery that netted a meager take, even though one of the star witnesses in the case--a 14-year-old involved in the robbery--was essentially browbeaten into testifying against them. He was told that unless he testified, he would be sent to an adult prison and raped, and then wasn't even allowed to read the affidavit before signing it. Anywhere else, that would be grounds for a mistrial and acquittal. But not in Mississippi. They were only paroled last year because Jamie Scott is dying of kidney failure, and Gladys offered to donate hers.
Barbour's successor, Phil Bryant, has said that pardons should only be allowed only when there is "clear and convincing evidence" that someone has been wrongly convicted. Well, Governor, you've got a case right in front of you that meets that standard several times over. Tell Bryant to put his money where his mouth is and pardon the Scott sisters.
At present, the Scotts are living with their mother in Florida, and must pay that state $52 a month for the rest of their lives. Also, the surgery has been delayed until both sisters lose weight--and even then, there's no guarantee Jamie will live long enough to have it, or that her body will accept Gladys' kidney.
With all of their appeals exhausted, Bryant is the Scott sisters' only window for justice. For every day that this conviction remains on their record, Barbour's questionable--and possibly illegal (since some of those pardoned didn't give the required public notice)--pardons look even more outrageous. If Bryant's standard for pardons means anything at all, he'll have the decency to grant a pardon to the Scott sisters. Sign this petition telling Bryant to right this wrong.