Huckabee Explains Clemmons Pardon on Fox, O'Rielly Show
Mike Huckabee defended the pardon of suspected cop killer Maurice Clemmons on Fox's Bill O'Rielly.
When asked to explain his decision Huckabee said to O'Rielly "In the case of this particular individual..... they [parole board] recommend to me as governor for commutation that would give parole eligibility....In this case the judge was also recommending on a 5 to 0 vote [for commutation]. "
Mike Huckabee's Clemency for Maurice Clemmons demonstrates major failures in the US parole system. Maurice Clemmons was pardoned by then Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, with unanimous approval by the parole board. Huckabee granted Maurice Clemmons clemency after he reached out to the Governor. However, Clemmons was released even after repeated parole violations.
Mauirce Clemmons was arrested in 1989 when he was 17 for aggravated robbery and theft. He was sentenced to 95-years in prison but Gov. Mike Huckabee commuted his sentence and made him immediately eligible for parole in 2000.
Clemmons said in the request for clemency:
"Where once stood a young (16) year old misguided fool, who's (sic) own life he was unable to rule. Now stands a 27 year old man, who has learned through 'the school of hard knocks' to appreciate and respect the rights of others. And who has in the midst of the harsh reality of prison life developed the necessary skills to stand along (sic) and not follow a multitude of do evil, as I did as a 16 year old child."
However, after his release in 2000, Clemmons violated his parole the next year by committing a robbery. He received a 10-year sentence but was once again paroled in 2004. Earlier this year he was held in jail for a child rape charge, but was released last week after posting bail, despite 7 more felony charges.
Huckabee released an official statement on Sunday night:
The senseless and savage execution of police officers in Washington State has saddened the nation, and early reports indicate that a person of interest is a repeat offender who once lived in Arkansas and was wanted on outstanding warrants here and in Washington State. The murder of any individual is a profound tragedy, but the murder of a police officer is the worst of all murders in that it is an assault on every citizen and the laws we live within.
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. He was recommended for and received a commutation of his original sentence from 1990, this commutation made him parole eligible and he was then paroled by the parole board once they determined he met the conditions at that time. He was arrested later for parole violation and taken back to prison to serve his full term, but prosecutors dropped the charges that would have held him. It appears that he has continued to have a string of criminal and psychotic behavior but was not kept incarcerated by either state. This is a horrible and tragic event and if found and convicted the offender should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. Our thoughts and prayers are and should be with the families of those honorable, brave, and heroic police officers.
In the comments below, some readers thought Huckabee should admit his own mistakes instead of blaming others:
As I read this statement many share in the responsibility for allowing a dangerous man to roam the streets. It lists many except Mike Huckabee. I would have been more impressed if Mr. Huckanee took some responsibility instead of naming everyone else. Either name all or don't list anyone. One can forgive crimes without releasing them to the public.
The statement was also on Mike Huckabee's Twitter feed.
Earlier this month, Huckabee come out top in a USA Today / Gallop poll, beating Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin:
In poll responses on whether the prospects are "qualified to be president," only Huckabee reaches the 50% watermark; Romney is just behind, at 49%. Palin is seen as unqualified by a 2-1 ratio, 62%-31% — including a negative rating by a third of Republicans, two-thirds of independents and eight in 10 Democrats.
Huckabee will be appearing on O'Reilly Factor tonight.
Will be on O'Reilly Factor tonight.
Seattle Times obtained Maurice Clemmons' parole documents over the years.
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