Monday, November 30, 2009

Governor Huckabee and Clemency

It beginning to look like it happening again with a governor letting loose a killer on the American people. This time it was former governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas who is not some far left liberal turning loose another Willy Horton, but supposedly a strong conservative with at least one eye on the White House in 2012. Huckabee your record isn't very good, Wayne DuMond in 1999, who went on to rape and kill again in Missouri and now add Maurice Clemmons in Washington state. We are aware that governor Huckabee only reduced the sentence of Clemmons making him eligable for parole and that the parole board issued the final order for his release, a release however that would have not been possible without the governor's kind and caring hand. We are also aware that Clemmons was later arrested on a parole violation and released again and this falls on the judge in that specific case. There is certainly enough blame to go around here. But Arkansas, under Huckabee's administration seems to be in the exporting business and is sending its released rapist and killers to other states. Well Huck, its time to look the other way for your chances of getting my vote are getting slimmer and slimmer with each passing day. Your bleeding heart does not fit my criteria for the office of President, I would just as soon vote to re-elect Obama. Below is a old article from the Arkansas Leader a worthwhile read and one that takes a serious look at former Governor Huckabee's record.
Arkansas clemencies outpace other states

___If you're wondering how Gov. Huckabee's hundreds of clemencies compare with neighboring states, get ready for a shocker.
___ Huckabee leads the pack.
___ He has issued more commutations and pardons than all of the six neighboring states combined.
From 1996 through July 2004, Arkansas had more clemencies than all neighboring states combined. One-third of Texas clemencies were for people convicted with planted evidence.
___Governors seldom reduce sentences in other states – and almost never for murderers serving life without parole or for rapists or for habitual drunk drivers, while in Arkansas it's a regular habit with Huckabee.
___ Other governors use their clemency power only rarely, while Huckabee has made it routine. As we've told you before, he has issued more than 700 pardons and commutations during his eight years in office – more than 137 this year alone – and more than his three predecessors combined.
___ Here are the figures for neighboring states since 1996, when Huckabee took office (and keep in mind the population of these states is nearly 20 times ours):
___ >> Louisiana – 213.
___ >> Mississippi – 24.
___ >> Missouri – 79.
___ >> Oklahoma – 178.
___ >> Tennessee – 32.
___ >> Texas – 98 (in-cludes 36 inmates released because they were convicted on drug charges with planted evidence).
___ Total: 624 vs. Huckabee's 703.
___ Governors in neighboring states almost never grant killers clemency, while Huckabee has commuted the sentences of a dozen murderers.
___ "That is extremely rare here," said one corrections official in a neighboring state.
___ She recalled one case in the early 1990s when the governor commuted a killer's sentence and none since then.
___ In Texas, we could find only one clemency case for a killer.

Texas clemancies are rare, even though its prison population is 12 times bigger than ours. Half of the pardons in 2003 were for fraudulent convictions.

Gov. Clinton granted 426 pardons and commutations, but he issued far fewer after he returned to office in 1983. That trend toward fewer clemencies continued in the 1980s under two other governors, but Gov. Huckabee has accelerated the number of clemencies and go over 1,000 if the trend continues.

___ Governors in the states we studied grant clemencies only on special occasions, such as when they leave office. Last January, after Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, a Democrat, lost his re-election bid, he issued 16 clemencies, and there was a huge outcry. That's how many Huckabee averages per month.
___ By contrast, Haley Barbour, Mississippi's new Republican governor, has issued no clemencies all year, nor has Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, Louisiana's new governor, a Democrat.
___ In Tennessee, Gov. Phil Bredesen, a Democrat, has issued no clemencies since he took office in January 2003.
___ Rex Nelson, Huckabee's communications director, has tried to put a positive spin on his boss' sorry record.
___ "The application process varies from state to state," Nelson told the Leader. "There is no rhyme or reason. It's an apples-to-oranges comparison. The only real comparison is Arkansas governors and the percent they (commute) compared to prison population. Texas has constitutionally one of the weakest governors in the nation."
___ Actually, our comparisons are fair and accurate, and the Huckabee record looks bad no matter which governor you compare him with over the last 20 years.
___ Is it any wonder that Arkansas prosecutors from both parties are upset with Huckabee, a Republican?
___ Saline County Prosecuting Attorney Robert Herzfeld, a long-time critic of Huckabee's clemencies and a Democrat, said, "These facts de-monstrate that our governor has an extremely skewed approach to granting executive clemency. He seems to believe that granting clem-ency to murderers, rapists, drunk drivers and other convicted criminals is a part of the everyday affairs of the governor's office rather than something that he should approach cautiously and selectively. Executive clemency should be rare, and there should be very specific reasons."
___ Herzfeld continued, "Although he has promised to reform his clemency procedures because of tremendous public outrage these past few months, this governor has not promised to decrease the number of clemencies he grants.
___ "Hopefully, when he sees these numbers, Gov. Huckabee will be shocked into reality, and come to understand that he is inexcusably out of sync with not only the people of Arkansas, but also his fellow governors," Herzfeld concluded.
___ When he was told about the clemencies in neighboring states, Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley, another Democrat, said, "They confirm my original instinct – that clemencies (in Arkansas) are used on a wholesale basis. The power of clemency is not being used in a circumspect and judicious fashion. I'm still dumbfounded looking at the numbers in the neighboring states."
___ Although Herzfeld is skeptical about Huckabee's promise to be more open when he considers clemencies in the future, the governor has had a rude awakening as victims' families and the Legislature are pushing to restrain the governor's clemency powers.
___ Jegley and Herzfeld agree that clemencies are not always wrong, but granting them without restraint makes a mockery of the jury system and invites cynicism.
___ Until our series of columns, Huckabee ignored his critics and kept on issuing more pardons and commutations.
___ But he has now withdrawn several clemencies for murderers and may slow the pace of clemencies in the future.
___ Huckabee has never leveled with the public about why he has issued more clemencies than his three predecessors combined – or all of his fellow governors in the surrounding states.
___ "I still believe in the power of clemencies," Jegley said.
___ "They're what make the judicial system great. They're an escape valve that can set the process close to right in the unlikely event something goes wrong (during the prosecution of a case)."
___ But, he says, Huckabee has gone overboard and has made clemencies look like acts of favoritism. During all his years in office, the only time Huckabee has claimed a miscarriage of justice was in the case of Wayne DuMond, who he thought had been framed for rape.
___ Although Huckabee changed his mind about commuting DuMond's sentence, DuMond went free after the governor met with his parole board.
___ DuMond is now serving a life sentence for murder in Missouri, where, the record shows, it's unlikely the governor will pardon him any time soon.

They're not laughing with our governor
____Gov. Huckabee isn't laughing out loud anymore when it comes to the touchy subject of clemencies.
____ Until last week, Huckabee and his staff thought it was pretty funny when a prosecutor criticized one of the governor's all too frequent clemencies. It was nobody's business but Mike's.

Let us not whitewash governor's Clemencies
____Gov. Huckabee surprised his critics yesterday and admitted he's been wrong.
____ After weeks of pressure from victims' families, prosecutors and this column, Gov. Huckabee has changed his mind about granting clemency to several murderers, including a psychopath who killed a Gravel Ridge more from Arkansas Leader read more for Arkansas Leader


LD Jackson said...

Governor Huckabee certainly shares some of the responsibility for what has transpired in Washington. The states of Arkansas and Washington both bear some responsibility as well, as they allowed the killer to run loose when he should have been behind bars. Let us not forget however, who the real culprit was here, namely one Maurice Clemmons. The main part of the blame rests squarely on his head.

Right Truth said...

You and I, Mississippi and Tennessee, are in a good spot with 24 and 32. Huckabee is toast and I'm so glad.

Right Truth

Teresa said...

I agree with LD Jackson on this one. Huckabee manned up when he was interviewed by Bill O'Reilly and took responsibility for commuting his sentence. For that I give Huckabee credit. With almost certainty, I can say that Huckabee as a preacher believes in mercy and yes, maybe this guided him too much in him declaring that number of clemencies and commutations, but at the same time no person can be a fortune teller either. Huckabee reviewed Clemmons file and took the advice of an Arkansas judge, and that's the reason he commuted Clemmons sentence. And, hindsight is 20/20. Like Huckabee said, If he had known that 9 yrs later Clemmons was going to kill 4 cops then he would not have commuted his sentence.

Ron Russell said...

LD, you are right and Maurice Clemmons is the real culprit. Huckabee is a good man and I have no doubts about that. Someone with that much compassion for his fellowman would make a great pastor, but that kind of compassion scares me in a governor and a president, frankly it reminds me of Jimmy Carter.

Ron Russell said...

Teresa you make some great points, yes the judge made his recommendations and so did the 12 jurors earlier. It was a judgement call on the part of the governor and the parole board and time as proven them wrong.

MathewK said...

This sort of decision and resulting tragedy is one reason why i am strongly against gun control. The authorities will stuff up, it's just the way it is, but we the people should always be allowed to rely on ourselves to defend ourselves when the state screws up and lets scumbags like these out on the street.

Unknown said...

I am not a big fan of Huckabee in the first place. The whole system is messed up and this seems to be getting more and more common, but none of this would have happened if it we not for Mike Huckabee, he deserves quite a bit of the blame.
Full responsibility for Clemmons' actions belong to Clemmons himself, I am not blaming Huckabee for the crime but I do blame him for getting the ball rolling towards this man's freedom.
This crime was avoidable and never should have happened.