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Pardoned Murderer Joseph Ozment Found in WY

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on January 31, 2012 5:07 AM

Officials have located Joseph Ozment, a convicted killer pardoned by former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour earlier this month. Law enforcement had been looking for Ozment since Attorney General Jim Hood decided to challenge Barbour's pardons in court.

He was supposed to appear at a hearing last week, but failed to show. Instead, he remained hidden in Wyoming where he and his girlfriend used different names.

Ozment actually didn't do anything illegal. Until the court says otherwise, he's a free man. Additionally, the judge never issued a warrant for his arrest, reports the Associated Press. He was never served with papers, so he had no legal obligation to appear at the hearing.

However, he has now been served with a court order and is thus legally obligated to check-in with the state Department of Corrections every 24 hours. He must also appear in court on Friday, according to CNN

At that point, he may be taken back into permanent custody.

But first, the judge must decide whether Haley Barbour violated the Mississippi Constitution when he pardoned Joseph Ozment and 200 other inmates.

The attorney general believes Barbour failed to follow proper protocol in all but two dozen of those pardons. A notice of pardon must be published in a local newspaper for 30 days, explains the Associated Press. Some were published for only 28 days, and others for far less.

The fate of Joseph Ozment ultimately depends on where he falls in that range. Was his pardon given proper notice or not?

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