Hood unsure about plans for future in office

Published 5:00 am Monday, June 1, 2009

WESSON – Attorney General Jim Hood spoke about his future plansand his job during the annual Boys State program at Copiah LincolnCommunity College Thursday.

Following a speech in which he encouraged the Boys Statedelegates to do better than his generation, Hood was asked whetherthe rumors of a run for governor were in his immediate future.

“A lot of people have announced at Boys State and I think that’sgreat, but the answer is I don’t know,” Hood said.

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The state official said before his campaign for his presentposition, he had never considered a career in politics and he hadto explore his options. However, Hood said he was pleased with hisjob and not looking for a change.

“I know I’m going to run for attorney general or something else,but I haven’t made that decision yet,” he said.

Gov. Haley Barbour has served two terms and must step down atthe completion of this term under mandatory term limits laws.

Hood told the delegates that he was not expecting thesatisfaction in the job that he received.

As a district attorney, he said, he would get a good feelingafter the successful conclusion of a criminal case. However, anattorney general doesn’t see the inside of a courtroom very oftenbecause the job is more about state policy and legalinterpretation.

“But I learned as attorney general I can help a lot more peopleby speaking to them like I am you today,” he said.

Hood warned the rising high school seniors of the dangers of theInternet, specifically targeting social networking sites as pagesoften frequented by sexual predators. He said 172 Mississippianswere recently barred from frequenting those sites because they wereregistered sexual offenders following a federal law advocated bystates attorney general.

Hood also warned the delegates about the dangers of “sexting,”the practice of youths taking nude photos of themselves on theircell phones and sending them to each other. He said the penalty forsexting is five years of jail time for each picture sent orforwarded. Many, including parents, don’t even realize they arebreaking the law when they do so.

And, it’s more common than most would believe, Hood said. Hecited a recent survey of 1,200 teens in which 24 percent admittedto sending a nude picture of themselves to a friend.

“Y’all are facing dangers today that no other generation hasfaced with all this new technology,” Hood said.

The attorney general closed by asking how many students in theroom had downloaded free music off the Internet. At least 80percent of the boys raised their hands.

“Take a count of everyone holding their hand up because you havecommitted a crime,” Hood joked.

He stressed that downloading music or movies was a federal crimebecause it infringed on company copyrights.