I wonder if Mike Huckabee’s conscience is bothering him tonight.*
Maurice Clemmons, the 37-year-old Tacoma man being sought for questioning in the killing of four Lakewood police officers this morning, has a long criminal record punctuated by violence, erratic behavior and concerns about his mental health.
Nine years ago, then-Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee granted clemency to Clemmons, commuting his lengthy prison sentence over the protests of prosecutors.
“This is the day I’ve been dreading for a long time,” Larry Jegley, prosecuting attorney for Arkansas’ Pulaski County said Sunday night when informed that Clemmons was being sought in connection to the killings.
More on Huckabee’s cavalier use of his pardon power while governor can be found at Ace of Spades HQ.
While there’s no possible way to justify Huckabee’s actions and it’s tempting to place all the blame on him, it looks as though there’s plenty of of opportunity for some finger pointing here in Washington, too.
Clemmons had been in jail in Pierce County for the past several months on a pending charge of second-degree rape of a child.
He was released [on bail] just six days ago, even though he was wanted on a fugitive warrant out of Arkansas and was staring at eight felony charges in all out of Washington state.
He was married, but the relationship was tumultuous, with accounts of his unpredictable behavior leading to at least two confrontations with police earlier this year.
During the confrontation in May, Clemmons punched a sheriff’s deputy in the face, according to court records. As part of that incident, he was charged with seven counts of assault and malicious mischief.
In another instance, Clemmons was accused of gathering his wife and young relatives around at 3 or 4 in the morning and having them all undress. He told them that families need to “be naked for at least 5 minutes on Sunday,” a Pierce County sheriff’s report says.
It’s a crazy world if our criminal justice system can’t protect us even from people as clearly dangerous as Clemmons.
More at The Other McCain, where you’ll also find details on how to contribute to the slain officers’ memorial fund.
*Update: Apparently The Huckster’s conscience was bothering him, as he was compelled to release this disingenuous statement regarding his role non-role in Clemmons’ release from prison.
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.
A real man might have written, “He was recommended for a commutation of his original sentence, which I granted,” not, “He was recommended for and received a commutation…” as though it was some sort of magical process over which he had no control.
It’s hard to fault a man for showing mercy but for public officials there are limits to compassion. Huckabee should man up and accept his share of responsibility.
The Other McCain has more about what motivated Huckabee.