Former governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee went on “The View” this morning to answer questions about his involvement with granting clemency to cop killer Maurice Clemmons. Clemmons, shot to death by police after a manhunt, killed four Washington police officers last week as they sat at a table.
Huckabee stated right off, “…let’s focus on the families of the officers who will never see their loved ones again.” He did also say that we should “…forget I was even a part of it.”
Not likely to happen, Mike.
The case came across then-Governor of Arkansas Huckabee’s desk nine years ago. Maurice Clemmons had been sentenced to 108 years in prison for burglary and robbery charges not involving weapons. The sentence seemed heavy in comparison to others. Huckabee commuted the sentence to 47 years which made Clemmons eligible for parole. According to Huckabee, he was in complete agreement with the judges and prosecutors on the case. Not all parties involved agree with this statement (including prosecuting attorney Larry Jegley).
Clemmons’ criminal history includes at least five felony convictions in Arkansas and eight felonies in Washington state. Huckabee released a statement after Clemmons was named as a suspect for the shootings of four police officers in Lakewood, WA saying, “it will be the result of a series of failures in the criminal justice system in both Arkansas and Washington State,”
Whoopi Goldberg thanked Huckabee for his honesty and integrity in taking responsibility for his role in the release of Clemmons. In this day of denial, Mike Huckabee has stepped up to acknowledge his role. Surely it has nothing to do with the fact that he is selling a new book (or that he may run for President again in 2012).
Elisabeth Hasselbeck jumped in to say, “The two judges that allowed [Clemmons] to post bail after parole violations and the rape of a 12 year old girl should be the ones answering questions.” If Huckabee does not have visions of the future, how can we hold judges to that standard?
Huckabee ended the interview by stating that the easiest thing to do would be to deny all clemency cases outright. The U.S. provides checks and balances for a reason though. There are unreasonably tough judges in the U.S. and DNA tests have proven the innocence of some convicted criminals. This is the reason for the review process on a case by case basis. Mike Huckabee said that if the exact same case came across his desk today with the exact same set of circumstances, he would make the exact same decision.
My question is, did anyone talk to the original judge in the Maurice Clemmons case. I mean 108 years is an exorbitant sentence for a burglary/robbery charge. There had to be some reason why the original judge in the case sentenced a 16 year old to such a harsh sentence. The judge had to have seen something in Clemmons’ personality that pushed him to give a max sentence. Maybe we should be including the original judges (if still living) before overriding their decisions.
The Seattle Times
The Huffington Post