Thursday, October 21, 2010

Seattle Weekly: We Blamed Wrong AR Governor

In a shocking admission, the Seattle Weekly concludes that Washington and national press have blamed the wrong Arkansas governor for the murder of four police officers in 2009. This is in response to the final installment in a series from the Seattle Times:

After Maurice Clemmons shot and killed four Lakewood police officers last November, the world went looking for someone to blame other than the gunman. It found Mike Huckabee, who made for a convenient target. But it turns out that the world, in all its infinite wisdom, had scapegoated the wrong Arkansas governor.

Thanks to the Seattle Times latest entry in the remarkable series on what led up to the shootings, we now know that if any elected official in Arkansas deserves some blame for Clemmons massacre it's not Mike Huckabee, whose only crime was to reduce the sentence of a teenager forced to serve 100 years for non-violent crimes, it's current Governor Mike Beebe.

Last summer, Clemmons was in jail for a number of felony charges, including child rape. His home state of Arkansas had issued a no-bail fugitive warrant, meaning he couldn't get out no matter how much money he offered.

As reported by Jonathan Martin and Ken Armstrong, Clemmons turned to someone he referred to his old lawyer Stephen Morley. To Clemmons, Morley was a "heavyweight" with the connections he'd need to get sprung. He was also a total sleaze.

A onetime traffic judge in North Little Rock, Morley had resigned from the bench in 1997 in the face of 26 disciplinary charges. Adultery accounted for two of the allegations: He was accused of cheating on one wife, getting a divorce, marrying the mistress, then cheating on her.

Morley was also accused of punching both wives in the stomach while they were pregnant.

Somehow, despite the pregnant-lady punching, Morley still had his hands in a number of important pockets. Including Gov. Beebe's liaison to the Arkansas parole system, who he referred to as his "real, real, real good connection" in the statehouse mansion.

Two weeks later, the no-bail warrant was dropped. And shortly thereafter, Clemmons posted bond.

Read the whole thing...

The question is: Will the national media pick up this development in the story?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Huckabee Sets the Record Straight

In response to a recent slew of articles and commentaries on the tragic shooting of four police officers in Washington — several of which unfairly blamed him for his commutation of Maurice Clemmons — Huckabee sets the record straight in an email to POLITICO:

The senseless and savage slaying of 4 police officers in Lakewood, Washington has raised many questions as to why the alleged murderer was even on the streets. My name has figured prominently in many of the stories because I commuted his 108 year sentence to a term of 47 years back in 2000. I take full responsibility for my decision then. Unfortunately, many of my fellow conservatives don’t seem to want to take responsibility for reporting the facts surrounding the case.

The Maurice Clemmons presented in a commutation request in the year 2000 was much different than the one who was being sought for the killings of the police officers.

The case before me was of a 16 year old who received a disproportionate sentence of 108 years for burglary and robbery charges. He had served 11 years in Arkansas prison by that time, which is more time actually served than most similar cases would have netted in sentencing alone. Under Arkansas law, governors don’t parole anyone. The Post Prison Transfer Board does. That board can recommend clemency, and in this case recommended by a 5-0 vote that his sentence be reduced. This was one of 1000-1200 cases I reviewed each of the 10 ½ years as Governor. 92% of the time, any request for clemency was denied. Most of the ones granted were for clearing a person’s record for a minor offense from 20 years previous, so they could move on with their life, get a job, and become a productive member of society. The trial judge in the case supported the commutation. During the legally required 30 day public comment period before action on the case was complete, there were no objections registered by my office by any authorities, despite claims of the local prosecutor that he “was afraid something like this would happen.”

Interestingly, if he was so afraid, then he has failed to explain why in 2004 when Clemmons was back in prison for a parole violation, his office failed to pursue charges and in fact DROPPED them, allowing Clemmons to go free, move to Washington, and for reasons beyond me, continue to avoid extradition back to Arkansas or be kept by Washington authorities as he displayed signs of psychotic behavior. I am responsible for the commutation in 2000. I would not have commuted his sentence in 2004 after the re-arrest or in any of the years following. I can explain my decision in 2000. I cannot explain the decision of the very vocal prosecutor in Little Rock who seems to avoid answering the questions as to why he didn’t keep Clemmons in prison in 2004 or get him brought back to Arkansas for his repeated parole violations, or why the no-bail warrant was waived while he was in Washington.

There are some glaring facts that some conservative talkers seem to ignore:

1. He was never PARDONED. Amazingly, that word has been used to describe my actions 9 years ago. He was never even considered for a pardon.

2. The commutation didn’t release him. It made him PAROLE ELIGIBLE. He had to meet the conditions of parole for the parole board, who in fact paroled him. He had been in prison for 11 years at the time of his release.

3. Despite news reports, there are no records that the prosecutor, law enforcement, the Attorney General, or victims objected to the commutation. The only responses my office had record of during the public comment period were support letters from the trial judge, and members of the community.

4. He was back in prison by 2001 and would have remained there until 2015 due to his parole violations had the prosecutor chosen to properly file the paperwork or enforced the warrants for him when he was arrested in Washington after being released in 2004.

5. The Clemmons of 2000 did not exhibit traits of psychosis and the kind of behavior that he would later express during several arrests in Washington state during the past year.

6. Religion had nothing to do with the commutation. It’s been erroneously expressed that my own personal faith or the claims of faith of the inmate factored into my decision. That is simply not true and nothing in the record even suggests it. The reasons were straightforward—a unanimous recommendation from the board, support from a trial judge and no objections from officials in a case that involved a 16 year old sentenced to a term that was exponentially longer than similar cases and certainly longer than had he been white, upper middle class, and represented by effective counsel who would have clearly objected to the sentencing. (His race, economic status, or education level are not excuses for his behavior because many people of color who are uneducated and living in abject poverty are civil, trustworthy, and honest to a fault and many well-educated, wealthy, white people are scumbags—think Bernie Madoff). But sadly, Arkansas has had numerous instances of disproportionate sentencing in which a probation and fine would be meted out to white upper class kids whose parents were able to obtain the services of excellent defense attorneys, while young black males committing the same crimes and represented by public defenders would end up with inexplicably long prison terms. Blacks comprise 15% of the state’s population, but 50% of the inmate population, some of which is due to the fact that their sentences are often longer and they are less likely to be paroled.

The two professions I value most in our society are soldiers and police officers, with fireman and schoolteachers right behind. Soldiers and police officers are the line between us and anarchy. The death of the four officers in Lakewood should never have happened. I regret that I ever saw the name of Maurice Clemmons and that I commuted his sentence and made him eligible for parole. That is my responsibility and it was based on the evidence before me in 2000. If presented the same facts today, I would have acted in the same manner. But once he violated that parole and his second chance in 2004, he should not have received the treatment he appeared to have received from the Arkansas prosecutor or the officials in Washington, who failed to send him back to prison and who let him go free on bail even after repeated violent outbursts and a rape charge from this past year. I take responsibility for my actions, but not for the actions of others, nor the misinformed words of commentators.

Read the original article here...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

NYT: Obama Aides Predict Huckabee as Nominee [UPDATED]

In a fascinating New York Times Magazine article entitled, "The Education of President Obama," presidential aides look to 2012 and handicap the race for the GOP nomination — with none other than Governor Huckabee coming out on top:

Obama’s aides say they will most likely set up their re-election campaign around next March, roughly the same as when Bush and Clinton incorporated their incumbent campaign operations. They are more optimistic about 2012 than they are about 2010, believing the Tea Party will re-elect Barack Obama by pulling the Republican nominee to the right. They doubt Sarah Palin will run and figure Mitt Romney cannot get the Republican nomination because he enacted his own health care program in Massachusetts. If they had to guess today, some in the White House say that Obama will find himself running against Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor.

Read the whole thing...

Update #1: A simple mention in an 8,000 word piece on the President, this nugget is being pulled out by numerous political news media:


“The Education of a President,” Peter Baker’s cover story in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, offers a few glimpses of what President Barack Obama and his top aides are thinking nearly two years after his historic election as the nation’s first black president.

Here are 10 takeaways:

1. Some of those around the president believe he’ll face former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in 2012, “if they had to guess today.”

Read the whole thing...


President Obama really expected he would be able to change Washington, it wasn't just campaign rhetoric.

And some in his White House expect the 2012 Republican presidential nominee will be Mike Huckabee.

Those are two of the most salient elements from Peter Baker's New York Times Magazine piece on Obama before the midterms.

Read the whole thing...

Mike Allen pulls a fascinating nugget from Peter Baker's upcoming, Sunday N.Y. Times Magazine feature, "Education of President."

Is this a case of public posturing or private concern?

If it's the latter, the irony is that top Democratic bigwigs give Huck a better shot than Republicans.

Read the whole thing...

Friday, October 8, 2010

Huckabee Keeping Iowa Options Open

After nearly a week of very little (significant) Huckabee news, POLITICO's Morning Score email alert serves up this exclusive on HuckPAC's activity in Iowa:

2012 EXCLUSIVE – HUCK’S MARKER: Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee put a total of $8,000 into Iowa last quarter, including $1,000 each to state Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey, attorney general candidate Brenna Findley and state Sen.-turned-congressional candidate Brad Zaun. Huckabee also gave $500 donations to eight state legislative candidates and to incumbent Reps. Steve King and Tom Latham. The $8,000 figure is less than a fifth of what Mitt Romney put into Iowa last week, but it’s money that shows Huckabee is at least leaving his options open in the state that made him a national figure in 2008.

Read the whole thing...