(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."