Huckabee’s mercy misplaced?

By David Waters Was Mike Huckabee acting as a governor or a pastor when he commuted the decades-long sentence of … Continued

By David Waters

Was Mike Huckabee acting as a governor or a pastor when he commuted the decades-long sentence of Maurice Clemmons, now wanted for questioning in Sunday’s slaying of four police officers in Washington state? (Update: Clemmons was shot and killed by police Tuesday.)

Huckabee, a Southern Baptist pastor who was Arkansas governor from 1996-2007, commuted Clemmons’ sentence in 2000, 10 years after he received a 60-year sentence for burglary and theft. Clemmons already was serving 48 years on five felony convictions and facing up to 95 more years on charges of robbery, theft of property and possessing a handgun on school property.

In his bid for clemency, Clemmons noted that he was just a teenager when he committed the crimes. He also said that he was from “a very good Christian family” and expressed shame for what he had done. “…the angel of death has visited and taken away my dear sweet mother, and this more than anything has effected change for the good in my heart,” he wrote. “Because now I have to live with all that I put her through I wasn’t able to be with her and make her proud of me before she passed away. I have never done anything good for God, but I’ve prayed for him to grant me in his compassion the grace to make a start. Now I’m humbly appealing to you for a brand-new start.”

News accounts say that in commuting the sentence, Huckabee cited Clemmons’ young age at the time the crimes were committed. In a statement on his PAC website late Sunday, Huckabee condemned the killings, and said many share responsibility for Clemmons’s release. “Should he be found to be responsible for this horrible tragedy, it will be the result of a series of failures in the criminal justice system in both Arkansas and Washington State,” the statement read. (On Monday, Huckabee accepted responsibility for the commutation.)

Huckabee’s motives for granting commutations and pardons were questioned in 2007 when he began his campaign for the Republican nomination for president.

In a 2007 story, the Associated Press noted that Huckabee granted 1,033 pardons and commutations in his 10 1/2 years as governor of Arkansas. The acts of clemency benefited the stepson of a staff member, murderers who worked at the governor’s mansion, a rock star and inmates who received good words from their pastors.

“It seems to be true at least anecdotally that if a minister is involved, (Huckabee) seems likely to grant clemency,” prosecutor Robert Herzfeld said in 2004 after successfully battling the then-governor over the release of a killer.

Also in 2007, Garrick Feldman of the Arkansas Leader raised questions about a convicted killer named Glen Green, who was granted clemency by Huckabee. “Huckabee may not have realized it,” he wrote, “but every prisoner knew how to get on the governor’s good side. Call it Huckabee’s religion test. It’s a sure ticket to freedom: Tell him you’ve found religion.”

That same year, syndicated columnist Joe Conason noted that Huckabee had used his authority to grant more commutations and pardons than any governor in the previous 40 years. “It isn’t clear how Huckabee’s Baptist outlook influenced his decisions on taxes, education or transportation, but his record in granting clemency and pardons demonstrates the dangers of religious zealotry in power,” Conason wrote of what he called Huckabee’s “misplaced mercy.”

Huckabee is no zealot, but should any public official allow his or her religious beliefs or sensibilities to influence such decisions?

About

  • PSolus

    Real-life decisions should never be based on superstitious beliefs.

  • logcabin1836

    As for Mr. Huckabee the Republican Right will once again rally around one of their own. It doesn’t matter if they have had sex with prostitutes, Argentinian mistresses, or pardoned cop killers…..the GOP are a forgiving bunch…provided you’re one of them.

  • Hillman1

    “President Obama signed tens of thousands of questionable pardons submitted by the community activist group known as ACORN”That is, quite simply, a lie.

  • rusty3

    If I was Huck, I would be pricing tents and/or a fireworks stand. Gotta make a living, if the silly Fox gig is over.

  • coloradodog

    “how is that any different than obama giving terrorists a pass and setting them free…Kinda like Lord Cheney giving Bush family friend Bin Ladin a pass and letting him go free..?

  • coloradodog

    More evidence why Huckabee and his followers are such theocratic treats to our Country, Constitution and Freedoms.

  • submarinerssn774

    This exactly why religion & politics don’t and shouldn’t mix. this is a glaring example of why we need to get those right-wing evangelical nut-jobs out of politics, and as far away from government as possible.

  • jjjunob

    If Huckabee were a Democrat, this would be the end of his political career. Since he’s a Republican, it will receive almost no mention after a few days.

  • patisok

    Could this be his Willie Horton momemt seems the GOP made a lot of his moment in history. Doomed Dukasis. Should not the Dems return the favor and remind folks ,should the Huckster choose to run. that his letting this man off early caused the death of 4 police officers. Seems only fitting to follow that time worn pattern of the GOP but wait most Dems wont do that because that borders on dirty politics and let’s face it they are just not as good as the GOP.

  • atagirl10

    There is something fishy about this story, I just don’t believe it. It appears too political in nature. I wouldn’t be surprised if Clemmons was framed. The crime was too organized it targeted a group of white officers, and the suspect’s identity was known way too soon. I would not be surprised if the motive was to remove Huckabee as a contender for the white house in 2012.

  • littleoldlady

    Aside from whether or not Mr. Huckabees pastoral duties conflicted with his government duties … it was reported in a Seattle television station that one of the conditions of parole or pardon was that the parolee or pardoned had to agree to leave the state of Arkansas. If this is true, then it would seem to have very little to do with a “pastoral” duty and a whole lot to do with politics, electoral or otherwise. Think of the “points” to be gained by exporting YOUR bad guys to your neighbors jurisdiction, and they are no longer your problem. Of course, your neighbor might have a very real problem. But that neighbor cannot vote in your state. Ergo … killing several birds with one little old pardon or parole.

  • patisok

    “President Obama signed tens of thousands of questionable pardons submitted by the community activist group known as ACORN”Where doe you get this kind of information.Sounds like a Beck soundbite. Follow that man and his hate and we all go down as a nation. Do you not see what you are doing? The constant insanity coming from Beck and others like him borders on sedition. Not based on fact and harmful to the citizens of these great United States. Why he is still allowed to rage insanely on tv is amazing to me. Disagree all you want with policy but when you make up facts outright you lose me and millions of other voters who want sanity and not hate filled insane statements. If the GOP does not start to tap down his statements and disown his tatics they will get their 40 % of like minds but the rest of us sane folks will vote for the party of sane folks.

  • analyst72

    I wonder what Glenn Flake, Bill O’Dummy, Annus Coultergheist,Insanity, and the perennial radio psychopath Trash Von Limbaugh has to say to defend the extreme right-winger religious charlatan.

  • arancia12

    Was Mike Huckabee acting as a governor or a pastor when he commuted the decades-long sentence of Maurice Clemmons?What difference does it make? His pardon is acceptable because he’s a good Christian conservative, therefore nothing he does can be wrong. It was God’s will made action through Mike Huckabee.It would be different if a Godless liberal pardoned Clemmons because he or she would be doing it without the guidance of God. It worked the same way with Sarah Palin’s illegitimate grandson. If a liberal Godless family had an illegitimate child that would be sinful and wrong and not God’s will. But it was God’s will that the blessed Track was born out of wedlock into such a loving, Christian, conservative family.

  • swanieaz

    To answer your question:It doesn’t not matter, as Huckabee now has HIS OWN “Willie Horton” problem, and from what I read, there are many other skeletons of the same ilk in that Huckabee closet.Serves him right..

  • finleysteve

    I will never vote for Huckabee or any other religious conservative that fails to honor the separation between church and state. Most hold highly immoral views (tax cuts for rich, discrim. against gays) yet proclaim religious superiority. They need to learn from preacher Jimmy Carter – keep your religious to yourself and instead act like a christian.

  • coloradodog

    So when Huckabee changes the Constitution to “God’s Standards,” all I gotta do to get away with crime is say I’m a right-winger who found Jesus?

  • arancia12

    Let’s face it. Gov. Huckabee is only the target for this because he is likely the front runner for President in 2012. you know you democrats are getting good at tearing away at good people. read on…Washington, D.C.–President Obama signed tens of thousands of questionable pardons submitted by the community activist group known as ACORN, which admitted to submitting 450,000 false voter registration forms during the 2008 federal elections.If you can find a credible news or gov web site where this is posted I would be interested in reading it. So far I can only find this on a few rightwing blog sites. What pardons would Acorn submit? Tens of thousands? If you are going to make a statement like this you really ought to cite your source.

  • mhr614

    The most anti-police and pro-criminal and anti-military people in my experience have been not pastors but liberal Democrats. That attitude cost Democrats several elections and since then, with the exception of Kerry and Durbin who recently referred to US troops in Iraq as acting like Nazis, Democrats have cleaned up their act. It is curious but predictable that liberals are now throwing brickbats at religious people for acting in the same “compassionate” way that liberals themselves acted for years. Being a liberal means never having to admit being wrong.

  • DGSPAMMAIL

    Just tell Huckabee that you’re born again. He’ll pardon y’all! But don’t tell him that you’re gay or anything like that because he’ll extend the sentence.

  • doctort

    Hi-

  • kflet3

    It is an amazing thing, to be born again in the Christian religion!You can do anything wrong, and then just ask for forgiveness from Jesus and you are clear!

  • buzzkill1

    Excellent question, David, though I would also be curious how the number of pardons and the ratio of commuted to executed was also significantly different than other contemporary governors. I would say that Huckabee, like all others, cannot escape his foundational beliefs and is not automatically disqualified by them, but should understand his duty as an elected official is not to his church, but to his constituents and the state constitution. I am disappointed at Huckabee’s attempt to get others to share the responsibility. But in the end, fellow posters, the primary cause of the death of those police officers is Clemmons not Huckabee or political correctness or anybody else.I loved the Gilbert and Sullivan reference, though while the pirates pardoned orphans, in the end, they were pardoned as well not out of mercy but in one last satiric jab because they were of noble birth.@Jett2: I believe your source material on the “tens of thousands” of Obama pardons for Acorn is a parody site – OpToons Review. Hopefully you were just credulous and got the “news” hearsay and you aren’t just trying to sucker others.

  • lufrank1

    Perfect example of the stupidity of voting a fundamentalist preacher into any crucial secular position,i.e. Governorship, Judgeship, Presidency.When such a narrowly educated preacher is Governor, it’s clear, from this particular incident, that virtually ANY semi-smart criminal has a great chance of release by PRETENDING TO BE BORN AGAIN BY JESUS.Remember, we recently had a “Born-Again” President . . . and remember the misery and death he led us into!

  • ZZim

    “Huckabee is as much at fault as all the other cowards that allowed this animal to return to society.”I agree that Huckaby’s motivation for mercy was his religious beliefs, but I don’t think it should matter why he showed mercy on the violent criminal. Violent criminals should not receive mercy. Ever. The fact that he showed misguided mercy and compassion for a violent criminal disqualifies him in my mind from the Presidency. The source of his misguiding is irrelevant to me.

  • lafayette89

    As a liberal and a Democrat, I am disgusted by these shallow and self-serving attacks on Huckabee. Gee, if he pardoned and commuted criminals’ sentences and cited as the motivating factor liberal tenets of decency and compassion, how would the WAPO commentator have reacted? What if he said he was inspired by Gandhi, or Buddha, or the Dalai Lama to show mercy and compassion, or said he admired the Black Panthers and was undoing a moral and historical wrong perpetrated on black Americans? The result is the same. So he is motivated by the compassion and morality that animates Christianity, I applaud him for that (I am a Jew, BTW)!! What the Hell (haha) difference does it make? At least he showed the ability to reflect and forgive. He seems like a good, decent humane individual. These had to be widely unpopular decisions in the hillbilly state of which he was governor. Yet, he took them all the same. He deserves the praise of the Liberal left (again, of which i am a part), not its scorn. I hope this message gets to him and he realizes he has at least one stalwart supporter in the Jewish Left Intelligentsia.

  • shewholives

    Huckabee’s political future is at stake. If Huckabee was so concerned about mercy he should have considered how the lives of Clemmons’ victims have been impacted. Pardoning a criminal puts everyone at risk. Huckabee should have thought about the risks to the majority and not the benefits to one.

  • michaelaudet

    Hindsight is always 20/20…can’t point fingers at someone for actions taken years or decades ago…unless ALL OF US want to be held to the same standard. Let’s hope all of the “perfect people” out there never make a mistake…Just remember, 4 police officers were murdered in the most cowardly fashion…pray for them and be glad their colleagues finished the job on their behalf…that murderer ran out of chances a long time ago and deserved nothing less…glad justice was finally done but what a high price…my thoughts go out to the families of the slain officers…their loss is permanent and something we should all keep in mind…Peace all!!

  • inmanorj

    Clemmons was 16 yrs. old when he committed the crime of burglary and theft in 1989. He was given 108 yrs., quite out of the norm. Huckabee commuted the sentence to 47 yrs. Huckabee did not pardon Clemmons, nor did he let him out on parole. Only the parole board in Arkansas can grant parole.Clemmons should have been jailed by Washington when he committed additional crimes and broke parole.

  • JMGinPDX

    MHR614: The most anti-police and pro-criminal and anti-military people in my experience have been not pastors but liberal Democrats.Or do you just spew anti-liberal propaganda wherever you post, no matter what the story is about?Ridiculous.

  • rogied25

    “Huckabee did not pardon Clemmons, nor did he let him out on parole. Only the parole board in Arkansas can grant parole.”According to the district attorney and several others who opposed Clemmons’ petition, Gov. Huckabee pressured the parole board to release him.Huckabee was just doing what all conservatives really want to do and feel they have the justification to do in every situation; play god.

  • jvlem

    “There is something fishy about this story, I just don’t believe it. It appears too political in nature. I wouldn’t be surprised if Clemmons was framed. Get real – I live in Tacoma, and there is NO WAY Clemmons was framed. He told people the night before he was going to kill cops and to watch the news the next day. I’d be willing to bet that you are projecting: what you do to others, you think others do also.

  • callosumlink

    I’m not for or against Huckabee, but if his convictions overrode the potential political ramifications in making the decision to pardon Mr. Clemmons; and it was meant to demonstrate “mercy” then at least I have one more level of respect for Senator Huckabee; most so-called “conservative” Christians wouldn’t have the courage nor compassion to actually practice what Huckabee did. Oh look! Someone who claims to be a “Christian” is actually practicing one of its major foundational philosophies instead of using it to validate his own philosophical and/or political perspectives…that’s refreshing.

  • mibrooks27

    Look, I’m no supporter of Huckabee, I’m not a Republican, either, but trashing Mr. Huckabee’s pardon in this instance is simply shameful. The judge in the case, the entire parole board, the prison counseling staff, all unanimously recommended a pardon. Governor Huckabee looked that those recommendations and granted a pardon based on them and on his reading of the case. Everyone really thought that this kid, a that time 18, had turned his life around and a pardon was warranted. I would have likely done the same thing in Mr. Huckabee’s position. So would the loud mouthed Democrat’s attempting to score points off this horrible situation. I find that the critics, the gutter dwelling creeps who attempt to score points off awful situations like this to be the sort of subhuman trash that it is an embarrassment to even allow them to comment in print. You should, all of you and the author of this forum, be ashamed of yourselves.

  • Draesop

    I am pretty sure that Gov Huckabee did not think that this person would comit such a crime. This killing was an outrage. There have been others. We know that many, mostly Black and always poor have been put to death by the State on evidence that was a collection of inaccuracies, defended by marginal counsel and prosecuted by bigots. The Innocence Project was born out of these facts and the death penalty suspended in at least one State. God alone knows how many officers of the law have been involved in the unlawful taking of lives. There is no justification for Mr Clemmons’ assault on these officers but we do need to understand that the sense of outrage which I sense on this page can be transferred to many areas which do not always receive the appropriate attention from the so called religious community. According to the INstitute of Medicine, at least ONE HUNDRED people daily are said to die BECAUSE of NO healthcare coverage. These dead were no less important to their loved ones than were the lives of these murdered officers. Human life is important….all human life regardless of the brand name assigned to it. When we adopt this philosophy we may decrease the opportunities for justifiable outrage when our Police Officers are murdered, our women and children sexually abused, pedophiles excused, teenagers murdered by their peers and a conglomerate of other violent acts. A change in current approach will undoubtedly add value to the lives of 45 million people whose concerns about their healthcare are of minimal importance to many who claim to represent them in Congress.

  • dlkimura

    Mercy has nothing to do with anything in decisions of what to do with dangerous people. Maurice Clemmons was not obviously the best example of humanity to walk the planet. And please don’t go to that gibberish about walking a mile in someone else’s shoes, or he was disadvantaged bcause of racial prejudice. The guy was just a rotten sociopath. Huckabee is obviously of modest intellect to commute the sentence of a convicted felon with a lengthy rap sheet. The dead officers lives are on Mikey-boys head. If he ever thinks of advancing further in his political career, he’s deluded.

  • retiree11

    Prisoners as a general rule are master manipulators. When arrested and placed on trial, they bring out the ‘ole defense play book, including but limited to “my Dad didn’t take me to the circus” or “my Mom spanked my when called her a name.”Once in the prison system, they learn very early on that if the claim to have had a “religious conversion,” this could aid in their eventual release.Remember the scene in Cool Hand Luke, then Luke collapsed in the pit he was digging and said to the Warden, “Please God, don’t hit me again.”The Warden’s response was “Is your mind right with the Lord?”To those critical of Huckabee, please know that he at least came forward. It would nice if the judges in Washington state would do the same and explain why they let this criminal go.

  • fury60

    Huckabee is as much at fault as all the other cowards that allowed this animal to return to society. The ultimate blame goes to political correctness, the ACLU and all the Van Jones types that advocate releasing prisoners and giving them Green Jobs so they can caulk our windows while murdering, raping and robbing us.

  • dlkimura

    Mibrooks27:Do you know of any felons of that magnitude who “turned their lives around”?It sounds like you haven’t accepted the fact thath the system is best used to remove dangerous offenders from contact with the rest of us. The “Manson women” are still in prison and in televised interviews, they seemed like the model next door neighbor. Clemmons crossed a line and do you honestly believe the BS that an 18 year old could come with? Why do hate groups and religoius sects always recruit the young? Because so many are dumb enough to influence and don’t have maturity or good judgement. Pity Clemmons if you wish, he’s dead and for me, that’s something to crow about!

  • Georgetowner1

    I knew a psychopathic woman who was put into a mental hospital for a few weeks and when she got out, she bragged about how she knew what to say, what the doctors wanted to hear, and that’s why they let her out. She did not go on to murder people but she did hold up a 7-11 at gun point and went to jail (I don’t know for how long). My point is, it is a delicate balance in deciding how long another human being should be locked up when they are doing everything in their power to look contrite and a victim of past abuse. I think Govenor Huckabee is an honorable man and I’m sure what is tearing him up at this point is not whether or not he is going to hold another political office, but the inevitable guilt that will come with having been a piece in the puzzle that this madman manipulated to repeatedly obtain his freedom. I particularly don’t understand how he got bail (long after Huckabee’s part) after having been accused of raping a child. I grieve for the families of the police that were murdered but am glad that the officer who took down the madman was not injured in addition. I also want to take exception to biased, bigoted people who insist that all Republicans are heartless moneygrubbers – I’ll bet God could identify just as many Democrats who would match that description. What the rest of us need to do, regardless of our party of choice, is look for decent men and women to lead us and not be fooled by empty suited politicians.

  • Chops2

    Huckabee is no zealot? PleaseHis religious stupidity is exactly why we have a seperation of church and state. All u have to do is claim u found god and its all forgiven, what a moron.These men played him for the fool he is, imagine if he had his finger on the nuclear trigger! ohhhh, no thanks

  • mibrooks27

    DLKIMURA – Actually, I do. Years ago, when I was going to college, I drove the media deliver truck for a school district. My boss was the Assistant Superintendent. Now, this guy was a great teacher and a darn good administrator. We got to talking one day and he told me his life story. He came from a *very* disfunctional home and had been involved in some serious problems as a young man – gangs, burgleries, shoplifting, assaults, all sorts of really bad stuff. He was caught and the judge gave him a choice of going into the service or hard jail time. He opted for enlisting in the Air Force. He went to college while in the service and advanced to officers rank after ten years or so (I don’t recall the exact length of time). When he got out, he looked around for something to do and went back to school to become a teacher and, after teaching for several years, as an administrator. This, I am quite certain, happens a lot. These people don’t talk about it, because I imagine if you gossiped about it, it would ruin them. Nonetheless, it does happen. I actually met someone that completely transformed their life and I’d bet there are scores of similar encounters that could be told here. These may be the exception, no the rule, but God preserved an entire city, filled with the most loathsome people, all because one man and his family lived there. Can we do no less?

  • qqbDEyZW

    Interesting racial comments on a religious site. Now as for Rev. Huckabee using his religion to play God well how many other lives have been taken by many career criminals he released. We lost 4 Police Officers and that didn’t have to happen. But we see how Satan is using those like Huckabee to use God’s name while doing Satan’s work. We’ve seen this for 8 years. More sick so called religious people sprout racist comments to our President. We watched Law Makers hold themsleves the Poster people for Religious Values then committing the biggest sins. Senator Ensign having an affair with a staffer and Coburn using God to excuse the conduct. Mark Foley molested kids but the GOP protected him. The list goes on but I guess that the new Religious Family Values/Morals the US is expected to follow.

  • muawiyah

    Regarding Joe Conason’s comments, “The Huck” most likely ended up commuting more sentences than any other governor in the last 40 years because:(1) He served LONGER than any other Arkansas Governor in that 40 year period.(2) He didn’t charge high prices for commutations (as did several of the others)(3) Joe Conason is a well-known Democrat apparatchik who hates Republicans, particulary if they’re Baptst ministers.

  • muawiyah

    RUKIND920 ~ If you take a look at the perps rap sheet you’ll note that at the time he asked for clemency and commutation he’d done all his crimes as a minor.He seems to have had some rather lengthy sentences in fact ~ the kind we’d all like to have laid down on all the criminals except the ones in our own families, eh.He’s been out of jail quite some time and to anyone’s knowledge never did any murders until yesterday (at least that’s the way I read his record).If he were a hardened killer, I’m sure that’d been in there ~ but it’s more like he’s a crazy criminal with a cracked brain (up until he died). No doubt the ACLU would be demanding his release on bail if he’d survived this escapade.Best that Governors with higher political aspirations simply quit issuing pardons. Let the criminals rot.

  • steveboyington

    Luckily for Huckabee, he is employed by Fox. Their “fair and balanced” coverage of his reprieve will be a knee-slapper, and one that I am sure Colbert and Stewart will enjoy showing.

  • dlkimura

    The idea of commuting prison sentences because it’s believed that the person has genuinely changed appeals to the charitable part of our psyche. Nobody is guiltless or beyond doing horrific acts if pressed too far, by their life circumstances. Anyone can “lose it”.At issue is getting into the minds and hearts of these folks, which ends up at best, making an educated guess. We do not have the personnel to adequately monitor those who are released and even if we did, why release them if you really don’t trust them?Huckabee did it for whatever he thought made sense at the time. He got played. The end result is the loss of four lives and the ruin of many more. I am a skeptic when it applies to MOST people finding redemption. As Milbrooks27 pointed out, some do. I don’t think we should risk the public safety on a hunch.

  • DwightCollins

    does this mean that obama won’t be pardoning any of his brothers…

  • 4Jaxon

    As a right-winged, retardikan dittohead, speaking out of both sides of his mouth is not a surprise. This is how the snake handling, tent revivalist, religious nutwings continue to get offerings during their “sermons”. Otherwise they would be destitute on the corner wearing dark glasses selling pencils…This is a classic example of the Palin-centered, retardikan dittohead: they talk the talk but don’t walk the walk.

  • jdsjr

    If only God would have whispered in Huckabee’s ear “Ummm, let’s leave this guy in the tank”.

  • rukind920

    Its amazing to read some of these posts. 4 police officers are dead, They had familys and put their lives on the line daily, and to see how some are using this comment section to voice their narrowminded views of politics. Whether its Huckabee or Clinton (Republican or Democrat) ~ The real issue should be How Do we Keep These Hardened Murderers behind bars. But I’m sure the buck will be passed back and forth while we forget the real tragety that has unfolded. Shame on anyone to side with killers or the ones who pardoned this man, whether they are Rep’s or Dem’s. With lines formed seperating us as citizens, then expect our country to continue its spiraling downward free fall, in every catagory thats measured.

  • sperrico

    Clemmons used gullible Huckabee. Clemmons was scum of the Earth and like all trash in prison lied to beat the system. Christianity is misplaced on born trash like Clemmons.

  • martinssportinggoods

    What’s admirable in the governor is the plain fact that he has come forward and discussed his decision, the reason of his decision and what he believes would be a sad mistake if he had made the same decision knowing what happened this week. Unfortunately hind site is more popular. Otherwise we’d all be guru’s in the annals of history.

  • aussiebarry

    What is it about Americans, you put a teenager in prison for 108 years and then complain about him being a psychopath. These 4 officers lives were put at risk by the sentencing judge, not Huckabee’s admirable compassion.

  • jrsposter

    Does the name Willie Horton ring a bell? That was the name of the felon allowed a short furlough by Michael Dukakis, and at least a part of the reason that Ronald Reagan won the election of 1988.

  • rjmhudson

    All of us offer our deepest condolences to the families of the victims, but I doubt that any of us know enough yet to fairly judge what Huckabee (and others did in this situation). It’s awfully easy to point the finger of blame at someone that one doesn’t like or disagrees with (Huckabee) when something bad like this happens. But do those who oppose what Huckabee (and others) did really want to lock up a teenager for the rest of his life for non-capital offenses? What crystal ball could give us the certainty that is necessary to justify locking people up because they might commit a crime in the future? Anyone in Huckabee’s situation would have to weigh at least three main issues: Most politicians probably see the political consequences of 3) as strongly tilting the balance in favor of keeping Clemmons in jail as long as possible. We know that recidivism is high. It must take courage to commute any offenders sentence even if everyone in the systems says it is the right thing to do. Instead of a knee-jerk reaction that assumes that being more punitive is wisest, how about at least discussing what basis there is for making such decisions? Maybe some overall statistics of how the length of a prison sentence, age of release, and other factors affects recidivism rates would help illuminate the discussion. Furthermore, instead of assuming that Clemmons was a “bad apple,” how about questioning what happens to persons in prison, what little preparation they get for life outside, and how unforgiving we are as a culture when a convict goes looking for a job as factors in his returning to crime? No one can avoid letting their core convictions affect their judgments, but I suspect that Clemmons’ age was the main factor in Huckabee’s decision. Or it may turn out that Huckabee was indeed credulous, but that does not mean that someone without his religious convictions could have avoided the question of whether to take a chance that a young person can turn things around

  • JayJackson2

    Where were all you hypocritical religious right Huckabee defenders when your Repub party was hanging Willie Horton onto Mike Dukakis? It’s the same situation only worse. Four police officers would still be alive today if Huckabee hadn’t pardoned Clemmons. Huckabee is obviously too soft on criminals.

  • free-donny

    What was he thinking? Violent offenders are generally not on the list of governors’ candidates for pardons. Huckabee seems to have crossed this line on multiple occasions with several releasees killing again. Huckabee has got to be asking himself if his decision making skills are in order.

  • Billy1932

    Everything has a primary cause. Huckabee was the primary cause of the death of four police officers. His trying to spread the blame when the prosecutors did everything they could to dissuade him is a shame.

  • thoughtful6

    Huckabee made a terrible mistake; he is now blaming others for his mistake. His judgement was flawed, and he should be ashamed of trying to blame others for his error. His act lead the way to the tragedy that occurred, and he should be ashamed of trying to pretend that it did not.

  • Oracle3

    “Huckabee is no zealot, but should any public official allow his or her religious beliefs or sensibilities to influence such decisions?”The inescapable truth is that all people, everywhere and at all times allow their beliefs, religious and otherwise, to influence their decisions. How do you suppose decisions are reached? Our beliefs are the framework for all that we do.

  • Hillman1

    “The ultimate blame goes to political correctness, the ACLU and all the Van Jones types that advocate releasing prisoners and giving them Green Jobs”Really? How exactly was the ACLU and Van Jones involved in this? Please be specific.

  • Hillman1

    “how is that any different than obama giving terrorists a pass and setting them free…”Um, you do know that Bush set quite a few detainees free, yes?

  • brattykathyi1

    Mike Huckabee is a zealot. Zealots are unable to make rational decisions. People that base their lives on the fairy tales and superstitions of cavemen, and perpetuate their rituals are not mentally competent.

  • doncarlosdd1

    If Maurice Clemmons was a caucasian & the 4 murdered police officers were African Americans, would not cries & rants of ‘racism’ bury us all? For weeks? For months? When a black convicted felon deliberately chooses & then murders 4 white police officers, is not this ‘racism’? Why not? What am I missing?

  • bob29

    Huckabee is providing us a good preview of his leadership skills by letting his religious beliefs undercut societies protection against violent criminals and then trying to BS his way out of it by blaming someone else.

  • Cookerhiker1

    “Does the name Willie Horton ring a bell? That was the name of the felon allowed a short furlough by Michael Dukakis, and at least a part of the reason that Ronald Reagan won the election of 1988. Presidents can’t run for 3 terms! It was George H.W. Bush’s campaign that used the Willie Horton ads.

  • analyst72

    The cowardly assassination of four police officers is on the conscience of this hypocritical religious charlatan.

  • mlscha

    The petitions to Huckabee reminded me of the Pirates of Penzance. In the musical, the wicked pirates granted mercy only to those who were orphans, as the pirates were all orphans themselves. In a strange coincidence, everyone they met was an orphan.

  • jim4postnatl

    Another way to look at this is the damage of tough sentencing for young people. In other words, without options to imprisonment, and mandatory tough sentences, we are training people to be tougher criminals than when the system got them. You can call this guy an animal until you are blue in the face, but he was once someone’s bouncing baby boy and went downhill from there. Obviously prison did not make him a better person.

  • vigor

    Why did Roger Ailes and the Republican Party use Willie Horton against the Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis?To win at all costs….now it is coming back to haunt them and they will shamelessly deny the contradiction.Republicans have no morals, no principles.They are money-grubbing, power-grabbing thieves……that hide behind the cross.

  • squier13

    “Huckabee is as much at fault as all the other cowards that allowed this animal to return to society.”But Huckabee is the only one who pardoned him.

  • rlambert12

    Looks like the Palinites are pulling a “Willie Horton” on Huckabee. Every time you issue a Pardon you run this risk. It should be no supprise to anyone that this happens and no one should hold it against Huckabee or any other public official who exercizes mercy – but they (and you know who they are) will hold it against him for political gain.

  • jett2

    Let’s face it. Gov. Huckabee is only the target for this because he is likely the front runner for President in 2012. you know you democrats are getting good at tearing away at good people. read on…Washington, D.C.–President Obama signed tens of thousands of questionable pardons submitted by the community activist group known as ACORN, which admitted to submitting 450,000 false voter registration forms during the 2008 federal elections.

  • pioneer1

    Do not vote for those who would govern you based on a mythology-based belief system. Why didnt we leave that behind in the year 1500. Oh Odin, save us from these fools.

  • squier13

    I don’t see why a violent offender would ever be released ahead of schedule, for any reason. This is just another glaring example of how broken our system of punishment is. You can get decades of mandatory time for nonviolent drug offenses, but you can be released early for brutal violent crimes. In NC recently a man was sentenced to 15 months with 11 suspended for shooting a cyclist in the head. He’ll serve four months on first degree attempted murder conviction because of his “good character”. In VA last month a drunk driver was sentenced to three years, 11 months for killing a pedestrian, while a nonviolent drug dealer got 30 years for having priors. We have developed a very twisted notion of what punishment is suitable for what crime.

  • mlx10dp

    “Washington, D.C.–President Obama signed tens of thousands of questionable pardons submitted by the community activist group known as ACORN, which admitted to submitting 450,000 false voter registration forms during the 2008 federal elections.”WHAT? WHEN? I thought it was just the Thanksgiving turkey. OMG, did Scooter get out too?Now back to the question. They DO. Always have and always will. Mr. Huckabee is human, after all. The life experiences of any individual play a major part in all of his/her decisions. Religion is a life experience. How do you divorce yourself from yourself?

  • sailmaker1943

    Governors who insist on pardoning felons who were convicted of heinous crimes should pay attention when the prosecutors are foaming at the mouth and screaming NO! There’s probably a reason. Huck and Jowly (Barbour of MS) have both freed such persons, and one of these vicious, soul-less social psychpaths cut loose has come home to roost after killing four police officers. Huck has blamed everyone else but himself, likely because Gawd told him to do it. Not sleeping so well, Gov? How ’bout you, Barbour?

  • witchofwestghent

    If a liberal had done this (communted this guys sentence) the Right-Wingnuts would be all over this like a cheap suit! So,…. as a liberal when a Conservative (especially one who time and time again behaves as though he religion makes him superior) I will be all over this like said cheap suit! The guy was dangerous,… everyone knew it,… Prosecutors warned the gov,…. Still he found God,… that put him above the law in the gov’s book. I’m sure that no atheist pot dealer were released.

  • JMGinPDX

    JETT2 said:A logical person is as quick to condemn their hero for a mistake as they are their enemy.That being said, I may oppose Huckabee on almost everything, but I don’t think he deserves to be raked over the coals…ESPECIALLY by those on the left who are seeking payback for Dukakis. Fighting fire with fire only burns everyone.

  • billvaughn

    Huckabee recklessly used his own misplaced religious beliefs as a litmus test to justify (in his perverted mind) releasing dangerous criminals back into society. He has the blood of four assasinated police officers on his hands.

  • rc115shepherd

    Church v. State does it again. The Founding Fathers were deeply religious. Yet what I recall they believed is that a man of faith; men of faith will both individually and collectively make the best judgments and form the best society. The crucial distinction is that in the Founder’s view man individually; and men their communities were to be formed and ruled by human reason, and accountable for their actions. And faith was only to be one of the elements which were to be in their minds when they made individual and collective judgments about themselves, their decisions, and their society.The former Governor of Arkansas as a man of faith is not accountable for his decisions or actions which were and are informed by his faith. Since there is in faith, no humanly accountable reason involved. This is best illuminated by the saying that faith is the belief in that which is not seen. This I take to mean that in faith, a proposition in philosophy or policy is held, followed, and “faithfully” believed in; yet, there is not a shred of evidence, ponderable by human reason which supports the proposition. The belief in the proposition is sustained by faith, not, by reason.If Governor Hukabee pondered the case for parole of the now alleged murderer of four (4) police officers as a man of faith; he did so (as a man of faith) without having to have a shred of evidence, ponderable by human reason; which supported his proposition that the parole release of an individual after ten years confinement; as opposed to the ninety-five (95) years of incarceration (chosen by a judge and jury); was, in the best interest of public policy.But as Chief Executive of Arkansas and entrusted with the People’s sovereign power of pardon and parole the Governor was charged with the safe keeping from society of such monsters as the one just killed in Washington State. Governor Huckabee was and is accountable to the people of Arkansas (whose decisions he used the sovereign power granted to him by the people to overturn their previous decision) Washington State; and the Untied States for his decisions. His propositions of faith are not, and can never be any answer at all.Furthermore, as in this civilization the people are sovereign; he must always be prepared to answer for his actions. And since faith is no answer (because it has no answer in human reason to give), faith can never be allowed to form such decisions.

  • allaire

    If you keep everyone locked up without a chance everyone will call you merciless. If you give people a second chance and let them out and something bad happens everyone will call you weak and wrong for doing it. However, if the person granting the freedom is allowing the notion of religion, or one thing, to consistantly outweigh other concerns that is wrong. After all just becuase we say we’re religious doesn’t mean we’re good people. When you’re looking for a way out, almost everything on this earth will find the way to do it. It’s not wrong to not give up on people providing they’re not using you, but some people just can’t make it. You might also note that the less prisoners there are the less expensive it can be for the citizens. Not everyone should be locked up. Just ask California.

  • Magee1

    To DwightCollins What the “F” does this article have to do with Obama? Get over it. You lost. There is a “brother” in the White House. I know what you are all about. You are a right wing-wingnut. Bunch of nut bags who can not get past the fact that thier brand of politics is way to far from the norm. everything and I mean everything is Obama’s fault.

  • democratus

    Separation of church and state…Anybody ever heard of that? Huckabee should definately not be able to be president. His very judgement is seriously in question.

  • logcabin1836

    The Republicans crucified Dukakis for his Willie Horton pardon. Now Mr. Huckabee will have to brace himself for his 1,000 pardons, some of whom resulted in the rape and murder of women, and now the deaths of 4 brave police officers. Huckabee in 2012?….he better think twice.

  • kenk3

    We can only hope that somehow, Huckabee is prosecuted and punished for his awful decisions.

  • coloradodog

    Well, what’s the problem? The alleged killer “came from a good Christian family” What more do you need?

  • JimMaclean

    “There’s nothing any of us could ever do,” Huckabee said Sunday on CNN when asked to reflect on the horrific outcome caused by the prisoner’s release. “None of us could’ve predicted what [Dumond] could’ve done when he got out.” Does this sound familiar?

  • TinMan2

    The specific reasons for granting clemency in this case didn’t seem so outrageous at the time. The prisoner was young, and had not murdered anyone. He was able to work and a maintain long term committed relationship. He was also paranoid and delusional. That is not a crime. It is severe mental illness. Why wasn’t this caught in prison. I really doubt Clemmons conned anyone. He probably belonged permanently in a mental hospital to begin with. Why wasn’t this diagnosed?

  • spotch

    I love how everyone who swears up and down about the importance of faith informing political decisions disappears when these decisions involve things like mercy or helping the poor or promoting peace. Talk about cherry picking. What happened in this instance is tragic, and maybe he made a terrible decision (or a number of them even), but for a Republican to have the guts to NOT just go with the flow by mindlessly kneeling at the altar of “lock em up and throw away the key” seems like a huge deal to me. Heck, this may be the closest thing we’ve seen in years to a politician actually listening to his moral compass when making a decision, as opposed to just CLAIMING that’s what he’s doing in a cynical attempt to get votes. But I guess we’d all be much more supportive if this were a story about how a good christian politician (who’s cheating on his wife) wants to pass a ‘defense of marriage’ act to protect the sanctity of an institution that he continually shreds we would be cheering from the rooftops.

  • muawiyah

    JIMMACLEAN ~ The Dumond case keeps getting thrown up as meaningful here.That’s the one where Bill Clinton’s young cousin was supposedly raped by Dumond while Bill was governor. Initial reports were that Bill had the sheriff in charge of the jail where Dumond was held CASTRATED. That was never clearly demonstrated but the sheriff did keep Dumond’s testicles in a jar in his office.Jim Guy Tucker, as corrupt as Bill Clinton, was the next governor on the list who had some involvement in this case. Even though most of the news stories regarding this situation have “expired” and are available only through expensive trips through newspaper archival collections, you can search the net and find some interesting stuff.But, alas, Dumond is old history and no longer available to be kicked around. He died in prison of natural causes in his early 50s.Oh, yeah, ad “The Huck” had intended to turn the guy loose after 11 years in prison but the parole board beat him to the punch and turned him loose provided another state deal with him, which Missouri did, up to a point, and then he was let loose, commited more crimes, but was caught and locked back up.Some of the parole board members claiming “Oh, Huck pressured me so” are the same people who wanted Dumond turned loose so bad their groins ached.Now, regarding this second case, he was out for something like 9 years after “The Huck” commuted his sentence(s) before he was once again involved in serious crime. He was caught by Washington state and put into jail.There’s a lot more detail than that, but suffice it to say the 4 officers he killed were still alive and well at that time. Washington state then FREED him on a bond of $100,000.

  • mbc7

    One standard for politicians, religious, non-religious, Democrats, Republicans. If you pardon a cold-blooded killer, your political career is OVER. Hope he does well at FOX. On the other hand, the one standard rule means Republicans should survive sex scandels, unless they involve underage partners or paid prostitutes. The John Edwards affair probably is probably the dividing line, with Edwards-like offenses terminal.

  • DwightCollins

    “Everything has a primary cause. Huckabee was the primary cause of the death of four police officers. His trying to spread the blame when the prosecutors did everything they could to dissuade him is a shame.

  • sherri66

    Gov Huckabee didn’t base his decision to commute a 108 year sentence to 47 years on his religious beliefs, he based it on what the Judge and Prosecutor in the case recommended. I doubt anybody thinks that a 16 year should receive 108 years in prison for 2 acts, one of entering a house where no one was home and stealing, and the other for holding a person up (without a gun) and demanding money. Child rapists and killers don’t get 108 year sentences. To blame Mike Huckabee for this senseless tragedy is just plain wrong. And only some liberal writer could somehow tie his commuting a 108 year sentence to 47 as having anything to do with his religious beliefs. As Governor of Arkansas he he had between a 1,000 and 1,200 of these cases come across his desk each year. Blaming him for what at the time seemed logical – reducing a disportionate sentence to the crime – is just stupid and heartless. I feel absolutely horrible forthe families of these slain police officers and I feel really bad for an honest, dedicated, truly wonderful man who is being blamed for something that is in no way his fault. People should think before they judge so easily, what decision would you have made given the same circumstances? I know I would have commuted the sentence, I don’t have a crystal ball to see the future and neither did then Governor Huckabee. And for further clarification he didn’t base his decision on his religious beliefs. So give him a break and think about the families who are suffering so much pain right now.

  • DwightCollins

    if a 16 year old commits over 3 felony’s…

  • sherri66

    Governor Huckabee did what I think any reasonable person would have done. He didn’t PARDON anybody. He commuted a 108 year sentence down to 47 years allowing for the possibility of parole. Seeing that the person was 16 when he committed his crimes, which were for entering a house and stealing and for holding up a woman for money without a weapon and getting a 108 year sentence, Governor Huckabee (after the judge and prosecutor in the case submitted the request) made his decision based on the fact that this man’s sentence was completely disproportionate to his crimes. Murderers and rapists don’t get nearly that much time and this person at the time of his crimes was 16 years old. If Governor Huckabee had had a crystal ball and could see into the future he wouldn’t have made his decision. And his decision had nothing to do with his religious beliefs. How come everything comes back to that? We should only be thinking of the brave police officers who were senselessly slain and their grieving families. To blame Mike Huckabee for a decision he made 9 years ago as Governor is just obtuse. Governor Huckabee received over 1,000 of these cases a year, and he took each one seriously. It’s not like he was rubber stamping violent criminals to be let back into society because he has compassion based on his religious beliefs. That is such a brainless argument. Mike Huckabee has been an inspiration in my life. He is a man with great honesty and integrity. There can be plenty of blame to go around (and the Governor takes his part – though, once again not something he should be blamed for) to heart. A family member of mine who is a recovering alcoholic broke into his grandmother’s house and stole some kitchen items. He was under the influence of alcohol at the time. He received 1 year in jail and 5 years probation. He has since turned his life completely around. Should he have served 108 years for his crime? Please! The judge in his case didn’t base his decision on anything but the facts, just as Governor Huckabee did. My thoughts and prayers are for the families of these brave slain officers. Blaming Mike Huckabee is just ludicrous and thoughtless.

  • DouginMoz

    The irony in these posts is hilarious. Conservatives, always convicted by liberals of being cold-hearted and merciless on crime, are now condemned for showing Christian mercy. While liberals, loathed by consevatives for the lavish lengths that they will go to liberate loathsome individuals, revel with glee that they can lop off the head of an opposing leader for a merciful belief beloved by liberals.Yes, there were prosecutors warning that Clemmons was dangerous. Do you not think that there were defense lawyers and maybe even family members to say that young Morey was a good boy caught up with the wrong crowd? There are always two opposing views in these cases. It is a tough decision and anyone that does it for any length of time will make mistakes. If someone like Huckabee is to be charged as suggested above, or ruined politically; you will guarantee that no one, no matter how unjustly condemned or truly repentant, will ever be allowed to be released; for the decision-makers will fear for their own skins and blind themselves to the hope of redemption

  • rcubedkc

    Another nail in Huckabuck’s political coffin.His actions of granting clemency to violent criminals because they claim to have found jeezus is just one more reason to NEVER vote for a repug, especially if they’re a religious fanatic like Huckabuck, bush, vitter, etc etc.

  • DaShuta

    I am glad Clemmons is dead because now the criminal justice system does not have to deal with him anymore. There won’t be anymore weak judges and politicians that can place Clemmons back on the streets so he can rape more babies and kill more cops. Too bad that 4 innocent police officers had to die for us to have this discussion. But, nothing is going to change. REST IN PEACE MY FELLOW BROTHERS AND SISTER!!

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