Mike Huckabee has responded to the killing of four police officers in Washington State by saying that if the suspect in the case — a man whose sentence Huckabee commuted in 2000 — is found responsible, “it will be the result of a series of failures in the criminal justice system in both Arkansas and Washington State.”
Huckabee’s statement, posted late last night on the Web site of his PAC, downplays any agency on the governor’s part in commuting the 95-year prison sentence of Maurice Clemmons, who had been convicted of aggravated robbery.
As Josh noted on the editors blog, Huckabee previously faced another controversy about a prisoner who won parole, Wayne Dumond.
Here’s Huckabee’s full statement:
The senseless and savage execution of police officers in Washington State has saddened the nation, and early reports indicate that a person of interest is a repeat offender who once lived in Arkansas and was wanted on outstanding warrants here and in Washington State. The murder of any individual is a profound tragedy, but the murder of a police officer is the worst of all murders in that it is an assault on every citizen and the laws we live within.
Should he be found to be responsible for this horrible tragedy, it will be the result of a series of failures in the criminal justice system in both Arkansas and Washington State. He was recommended for and received a commutation of his original sentence from 1990, this commutation made him parole eligible and he was then paroled by the parole board once they determined he met the conditions at that time. He was arrested later for parole violation and taken back to prison to serve his full term, but prosecutors dropped the charges that would have held him. It appears that he has continued to have a string of criminal and psychotic behavior but was not kept incarcerated by either state. This is a horrible and tragic event and if found and convicted the offender should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. Our thoughts and prayers are and should be with the families of those honorable, brave, and heroic police officers.