NEWS BLOG (WSAU) When a judge sentences a man to 106 years in prison, the message is clear. This person is not supposed to walk the streets ever again.
That was the sentence for Maurice Clemmons, a violent rapist with a long rap sheet. 106 years.
The reason why he is no longer behind bars 10 years later is why Mike Huckabee will never be President. As Governor of Arkansas, Huckabee issued an unusually high number of commutations. He commuted Clemmons' sentence to 45 years, making him eligible for parole. When he came up for parole, he was eventually put on supervised release. He was obviously not supervised enough, as he traveled cross-county to be with family members, was in possession of a firearm, and was able to kill four police officers in cold blood in Washington State.
Huckabee faces two problems here. The first is arrogance. He substituted his judgement of this case for that of the trial judge. It was the trial judge who reviewed the criminal indictment, weighed the evidence, listened to the witnesses, weighed the defendants remorse, and considered the jury's verdict. It's that judgement that should have controlled Clemmons' sentence. The governor, on the other hand, has no first-hand experience from the trial, and relies on the outside opinion of his pardon board.
Huckabee's second problem is religion. As an ordained minister, he has talked often about redemption of the human spirit.He believes that God touches souls and changes mens' hearts. There's little doubt that these personal beliefs are behind Huckabee's use of power as Governor concerning crime and punishment. While Huckabee is entitled to his beliefs, they are not balanced with his other duties--to uphold the rule of law and protect public safety.
Four cops are dead at the hand of a man who was supposed to be in prison for the rest of his life. The public will find this unacceptable, and they are right.
Operations Manager-Midwest Communications, Wausau