Tennesseans Remember How Hal Hardin Handled Last Minute Pardons

The recent news of Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi granting pardons or early release to more than 200 inmates led to a guest column in the Memphis newspaper, The Commercial Appeal. On January 14, 2012, in Guest column: Power of the pardon remains explosive, Keel Hunt writes of an effort 33 years ago by then governor Ray Blanton of Tennessee to issue 52 executive clemencies, including a pardon for the son of a political friend. Less than 48 hours later Blanton was out of office, stripped of his power in what amounted to a bipartisan “coup”, led by then U.S. Attorney Hal Hardin, shown above, long time NAFUSA member.