November 30th, 2009
02:16 PM ET
4 years ago

Huckabee: Justice system 'failed miserably' with Clemmons

Mike Huckabee commuted Clemmons' sentence when he was governor of Arkansas in 2000.
Mike Huckabee commuted Clemmons' sentence when he was governor of Arkansas in 2000.

(CNN) – Mike Huckabee took to the radio airwaves Monday to explain why, as governor of Arkansas in 2000, he commuted the nearly 100-year prison sentence of Maurice Clemmons, the man suspected of murdering four police officers in Washington state.

Clemmons was sentenced to 95 years in prison in 1989 for a host of charges, including robberies, burglaries, thefts and bringing a gun to school. Huckabee cited Clemmons' young age - 17 at the time of his sentencing - when he announced his decision to commute the sentence, according to newspaper articles. Clemmons was paroled in August 2000, after 11 years in prison.

On the Monday morning episode of "The Huckabee Report" - the Republican's daily radio commentary - he pointed to "a series of failures in the criminal justice system in both Arkansas and Washington state" as the reason Clemmons was allowed to re-enter society. Repeating what he said in a statement released Sunday night, Huckabee noted that the Arkansas parole board granted Clemmons' parole after he received the commutation.

"He was arrested later for parole violation, taken back to prison to serve his full term, but prosecutors dropped the charges that would have held him," Huckabee told listeners. "It appears that he has continued to have a string of criminal and psychotic behavior, but was not kept incarcerated by either state."

Huckabee, who is considering a making second presidential run in 2012, also spoke to Fox News radio about his decision.

"If I could have known nine years ago, looked into the future, would I have acted favorably upon the parole board's recommendation? Of course not," he said. "One of the things that is horrible and just, again, one of the realities you have to confront is the criminal justice system is far from perfect, and in this case it failed miserably on all sides."


Filed under: Mike Huckabee
soundoff (83 Responses)
  1. Pee Wee

    Before the name calling starts, what would you do if you were in his shoes? The parole board makes a recommendation and you see that the guy was sent up when he was seventeen, would you not feel he should be given a second chance?

    The guy was primarily a thief that took a gun to school. Maybe he was an armed robber. What would you do?

    If you blast Huckabee and try to blame these deaths on him and say he has "blood on his hands" perhaps we should follow what you intimate by your negativity and lock everyone guilty of DUI and anything more serious for life.

    Have a nice day!

    November 30, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  2. Dan

    Way to pass the buck, Mike...

    November 30, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  3. FALSE NEWS...not really the news .. just propaganda from hate mongers to the no brainers

    this dufus Huckabee is just trying to cover his behind; after failing the people of Arkansas and letting this convicted felon on the loose!!!

    pray Huckabee...this crime would have just gone away!

    November 30, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  4. Marc

    Isn't this the man that let ,Maurice Clemmons, the killer who did in those 4 policemen in Washington, go free from a 95 year prison sentence for multiple criminal activity. With judgment like that and he wants to be president? Please!

    November 30, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  5. Gary

    ANYONE who contributed to this man's release should be held responcible.
    It's time the courts, the lawyers and the parole boards be held responcible for their actions.
    Innocent people have rights, murderer's Do Not.
    When a jury say's " 95 years " it's 95 years.
    Mike Huckaby contributed to these murders.

    November 30, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  6. Pete

    But no responsibility on your part though, right Huck?

    November 30, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  7. Jim

    i wondered what he'd say about this ...

    November 30, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  8. SocialismBad

    So Huckabee shows some compassion to a young offender. Itshows conservatives have a heart. Just like the Democrats are showing compassion to the their own criminals now in Congress by not throwing them out.

    November 30, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
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