Mississippi Pardons New Charges

(CNN) --
A Pontotoc County, Mississippi, grand jury has charged Harry Bostick with drunken driving leading to a death, felony drunken driving and fleeing the scene of an accident where a death occurred, according to the indictment filed on Thursday and obtained Monday by CNN. The accident happened in October.

If convicted, Bostick could be sentenced to at least 30 years in prison.

His attorney did not respond immediately to a call on Monday for comment.

After the charges were handed down, Bostick turned himself in and a judge set bail at $50,000, Paul Howell from the Pontotoc County prosecuting attorney's office said. The 56-year-old posted bond on Friday and was released, according to official online records.

This isn't Bostick's first-run in with the law in Mississippi. He was convicted of felony drunken driving in March 2009, soon after having been convicted in July 2008 and November 2008 for drunken driving.

The former Internal Revenue Service investigator was one of nearly 200 convicted criminals, including four murderers, who Gov. Haley Barbour pardoned shortly before leaving office earlier this year. The pardons elicited an uproar, with Attorney General Jim Hood leading a charge to overturn them. But after legal challenges, they were upheld.

Bostick was still going through a court-mandated drug rehab program when he applied for his pardon last summer. On September 30, the Mississippi Parole Board sent its review of Bostick's application to Barbour, recommending a full pardon in a 3-2 vote.

A week later, on October 7, Bostick was driving under the influence again, according to the Mississippi Highway Patrol. Charity Smith attempted to pull out onto a highway just outside Tupelo when Bostick's truck slammed into the side of her car, the patrol says.

Smith was killed, and her older sister suffered serious injuries. Bostick was jailed for violating his probation from his previous DUI cases.

In the grand jury indictment, Bostick is accused of "willfully, unlawfully and feloniously" driving while intoxicated; refusing to immediately stop or give his name, address or registration; and having "negligently" caused Smith's death.

When he received the pardon in January, the convicted DUI felon still sat in an Oxford, Mississippi, jail cell, awaiting formal charges for the arrest tied to that case.

Barbour had said that he wasn't aware of Bostick's October 2011 DUI arrest when he chose to pardon him.

But e-mails obtained by CNN show that the governor's office did, in fact, know about it.

Amanda Jones, the governor's chief counsel, and Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann were told about the October car crash that killed Smith just days after it happened.

Jones and Hosemann were even urged by a lawyer in the firm that represented Bostick not to issue the pardon, according to the e-mails.

"They knew it, and they didn't stop it," Smith's mother Linda Smith told CNN last month, after becoming overcome with emotion when she saw the e-mails. "Why didn't they do something?"

It is not known whether anyone communicated this information to Barbour. His spokeswoman would not comment on the e-mails, citing an ongoing case on executive pardon power that is before the state Supreme Court.

The full pardon granted by the governor, for the March 2009 conviction, gave Bostick back the rights that were taken away as a felon, such as voting. But his two other DUI convictions remain on his record, according to the state attorney's office in Lafayette County.

That means that Bostick will avoid the possibility of a stiffer sentence if he's convicted on the charges tied to Smith's death, because it will be treated as his third DUI offense instead of his fourth.

However, he could be back to where he was before the pardon: as a convicted felon, thus losing the rights that were restored to him.


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