Mike Huckabee granted clemency to Maurice Clemmons in 2000, well before Huckabee became a national figure. But the Maurice Clemmons clemency may have now backfired on Huckabee, and on several innocent people, in the worst way possible. Yesterday, Maurice Clemmons was named as a suspect in the murder of four police officers in Washington state. It didn’t take long to find out that Clemmons was supposed to be locked away for 95 years – until Mike Huckabee’s clemency.
As governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee gave clemency over 1,000 times, according to the AP. One of those times was in 2000, as Huckabee commuted Maurice Clemmons’ 95 year sentence for aggravated robbery. Huckabee did this because Clemmons was only 17 at the time of his 1989 robbery.
The now 37-year-old Clemmons is suspected of an even greater crime at the moment. He is the prime suspect in the murder of four Washington state police officers yesterday morning. According to the Associated Press, police did not find him at his home in Seattle, and are still trying to contact him.
Clemmons is suspected of killing the cops in a coffee shop yesterday morning. The subsequent investigation has yielded a long criminal history, including the assault of a police officer, and second-degree child rape charges. But the most glaring detail is how Mike Huckabee gave him clemency well before all of that.
Huckabee fits one of two extremes in governing the prison system. George W. Bush got a lot of flack for allowing so many executions as governor of Texas, and on the other end, Huckabee was criticizing for commuting so many sentences. Now with the Maurice Clemmons connection, Huckabee has also inspired comparisons to Michael Dukakis and Willie Horton.
Just before this story broke, Huckabee talked about how he probably won’t run for President again in 2012, due to his new show on FOX News. Even if he did have plans to run, they would probably be shattered by this turn of events. Huckabee is that rare Republican who could be accused of being soft on crime and criminals, and this may turn him off to the core base even further.
The former governor has already released a statement, in which he calls this a “series of failures” on the part of the Arkansas and Washington justice systems. As this story goes on, and as the manhunt for Clemmons continues, he may have to say more about it on his FOX show, and on other outlets.
Associated Press- “Police: Suspect in deaths of officers not in house”
CBS News- “Mike Huckabee Granted Clemency to Maurice Clemmons”
Bloomberg- “Huckabee’s Link to Shooting Suspect Could Be Political Setback”