The Mississippi State Supreme Court will take up the controversial battle over Governor Haley Barbour's pardons before he left office.
Chris Epps, Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner, said Monday the governor was within his constitutional right to pardon more than 200 criminals.
Epps appeared before a full house committee to update lawmakers on his budget needs and the myriad of prison holding facilities in Mississippi.
The pardoning or reduction of sentences by Governor Barbour was not discussed or questioned.
State Attorney General Jim Hood is challenging the actions.
The corrections commissioner has been quiet on the subject, but discussed it after Monday's meeting.
"Do you agree with the pardon's given out including those of convicted murderers?"
"Well, I don't have an agreement or disagreement," Epps said. "I think it's fair to state as corrections commission my job is to leave that up to the governor of the state since they have that authority by the constitution."
Former Governor Barbour says he is very comfortable with the pardons.
Family members of victims say they are glad the matter has reached the state supreme court.
Attorney General Jim Hood says if the high court decides the constitution was not followed, the case will go back to the lower court for fact-finding.
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