|39th Attorney General of Mississippi|
January 14, 2004
|Preceded by||Mike Moore|
|Born||James Matthew Hood
May 15, 1962
New Houlka, Mississippi, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Debra Lynn Hood|
|Alma mater||University of Mississippi,
James Matthew "Jim" Hood (born May 15, 1962) is the Attorney General of the US state of Mississippi. A Democrat, he was elected in 2003, having defeated the Republican nominee Scott Newton. A former District Attorney, Hood succeeded Mike Moore.
Early life and education
He has been active in the legal aspects of the recovery of Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina. Shortly after Katrina, Hood partnered with Mississippi plaintiff attorney Richard "Dickie" Scruggs, a brother-in-law of former U.S. Senator Trent Lott, in filing suit against numerous high-profile insurance companies. Hood's leadership has been praised by some as allowing homeowners a better opportunity for recovery than they experienced in neighboring Louisiana, but Scruggs and Hood have also been criticized for over-zealously prosecuting insurance companies and because Scruggs helped convey confidential documents, which Hood used in a criminal probe, supposedly to pressure State Farm Insurance into settlement. Hood was reelected on November 6, 2007 and again for a third term on November 8, 2011. He is currently the only Democrat to hold statewide office in Mississippi.
In 2008, Judge William Acker criticized Hood in a judicial opinion for his role in helping Scruggs commit civil contempt. Scruggs was later convicted in federal court of crimes committed during the post-Katrina litigation. The saga is recounted in the 2009 book, Kings of Tort.
On his last day as governor in 2012, Haley Barbour granted 208 pardons, clemency or early release for people convicted of crimes including murder, rape and armed robbery. Barbour's actions included 19 people convicted of murder. Pardons by governors are not uncommon; the issue in this case is the number of pardons compared to former governors. Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, who Barbour succeeded as governor, issued only one pardon, for a man convicted of marijuana possession; Gov. Kirk Fordice, who preceded Musgrove, issued two full pardons for convicted murderers. In his role as Attorney General Hood argued Section 124 of the Mississippi Constitution says any inmate seeking a pardon must publish their intentions 30 days in a newspaper in or near the county where the person was convicted and on January 11, a Mississippi judge temporarily blocked the release of the 21 inmates who had been given pardons or medical release.
- Rebecca Mowbray and Mary Judice (January 30, 2007). "Lawsuit in Miss. stands in contrast to La.; Neighboring state goes after insurers". Times-Picayune (New Orleans).
- "Mississippi Justice". Wall Street Journal. March 15, 2007.
- Associated Press (June 6, 2008). "Judge: Miss. attorney general conspired with Scruggs". USA Today. Retrieved March 7, 2009.
- Mohr, Holbrook (June 27, 2008). "Scruggs gets 5 years in prison in bribery scheme". USA Today. Retrieved May 26, 2011.
- Lange, Alan; et al (2009). Kings of Tort. Pediment Publishing. p. 255. ISBN 1-59725-244-1.
- Ward, Robbie (January 10, 2012). "Mississippi's Barbour surprises with raft of pardons". Reuters.
- "Mississippi judge blocks release of 21 inmates given pardons by Governor Barbour". Fox News. Associated Press. January 11, 2012. Retrieved January 12, 2012.