In case you missed it yesterday, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee announced another run for the White House. In an already crowded GOP field, there are many questions surrounding whether Huckabee can successfully make it through the primary. Putting the horse race aside, pundits seem to be forgetting a very important and devastating decision Huckabee made during his time as governor.
In 2000, despite objections from prosecutors, Huckabee granted clemency to a man named Maurice Clemmons. Background from the Arkansas Leader:
Several prosecutors around the state are upset with Gov. Huckabee for grant- ing clemency to violent criminals, but he is blaming the prosecutors for often not seeking the maximum penalty and keeping felons locked up longer.
Until now, Huckabee has refused to comment on his controversial policy of making violent prisoners eligible for parole– they include murderers, armed robbers and rapists, who often return to a life of crime after they’re freed – but in a statement to The Leader this week, he lashed out at prosecutors for not doing more to keep prisoners behind bars – to which Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley had this response: “That’s a load of baloney.”
“I’m offended as a prosecutor and as a citizen. He can blame the prosecutors, but ultimately he’s the man responsible,” Jegley says. “He’s the only one who can sign on the dotted line.”
Jegley cites numerous examples of Huckabee’s freeing felons who go on committing more crimes and wind up back in prison.
Maurice Clemmons received a 35-year sentence in the early 1990s for armed robbery and theft. His sentence was commuted in May 2000, and he was let out three months later.
The following March, Clemmons committed two armed robberies and other crimes and was sentenced to 10 years. You’d think they’d keep him locked up after that, but no: He was paroled last March and is now wanted for aggravated robbery.
If Huckabee decides to set these criminals free, Jegley says, at least “he ought to give an accounting. I can’t imagine why in the world they’d want them released from jail. There’s a good reason we’re afraid of them. The sad truth is that a significant number of people re-offend.”
Nine years later, Clemmons was arrested and charged for the murders of four Washington State police officers. The officers left behind husbands, wives and children
Maurice Clemmons, the 37-year-old Tacoma man being sought for questioning in the killing this morning of four Lakewood police officers, has a long criminal record punctuated by violence, erratic behavior and concerns about his mental health.
This is just one example of many. Huckabee has an alarming record of releasing criminals who end up re-committing serious and violent crimes like rape, assault and murder. That record should be up for scrutiny as he attempts, again, to make it into the White House.