JACKSONVILLE, Florida (CNN) - Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said Wednesday he was aware of Maurice Clemmons' long and violent criminal history when he commuted the then-teenager's 108-year prison sentence - but he couldn't have foreseen the deadly consequence of his act.
"You're looking at this nine years later and trying to make something as if I can look in to the future," Huckabee said, before a speech at Jacksonville University.
Related video: Huckabee on clemency decision
"I wish I could have. Good Lord, I wish I had that power. I wish I could have done that. But I don't know how anyone can do it," he said.
Clemmons, 37, was fatally shot Tuesday by police in Seattle, Washington, after a two-day manhunt that began after he allegedly killed four officers at a coffee shop
Huckabee has come under fire because, as governor of Arkansas in 2000, he signed a clemency order for Clemmons. That made Clemmons eligible for parole, which was granted.
The prospective 2012 GOP presidential candidate said he was aware of the long string of crimes that had put Clemmons behind bars, but based his decision on the teenager's age: 16 at the time.
"I read a stack this thick," he said, holding his hands several inches apart. "I looked at the file. Every bit of it. And here was a case where a guy had been given 108 years. Now, if you think a 108-year sentence is an appropriate sentence for a 16-year-old for the crimes he committed, then you should run for governor of Arkansas."
Clemmons served 11 years of his sentence before he was released.
Clemmons moved from Washington to Arkansas as a youngster. There, he had several run-ins with the law, and was eventually handed the hefty prison sentence for a host of charges - including robberies, burglaries, thefts and bringing a gun to school.
CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) – Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich appeared in court Tuesday afternoon to hear corruption charges against him. Bail was set at $4,500, and Blagojevich was then released on his own recognizance.
He also had to forfeit his passport.
CROWN POINT, Indiana (CNN) - More than 2,000 voter registration forms filed in northern Indiana's Lake County by a liberal activist group this week have turned out to be bogus, election officials said Thursday.
The group - the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN - already faces allegations of filing fraudulent voter registrations in Nevada and faces investigations in other states.
And in Lake County, home to the long-depressed steel town of Gary, the bipartisan Elections Board has stopped processing a stack of about 5,000 applications delivered just before the October 6 registration deadline after the first 2,100 turned out to be phony.
"All the signatures looked exactly the same," Ruthann Hoagland, a Republican on the board. "Everything on the card filled out looks exactly the same."
The forms included registrations submitted in the names of the dead - and in one case, the name of a fast-food restaurant, Jimmy Johns. Sally LaSota, a Democrat on the board, called the forms fraudulent and said whoever filed them broke the law.