Tuesday, December 1, 2009

How Clemmons Went From Prisoner To Alleged Cop Killer -- And Why It Matters For Mike Huckabee

Washington Police Killings
How Clemmons Went From Prisoner To Alleged Cop Killer -- And Why It Matters For Mike Huckabee
Justin Elliott | November 30, 2009, 5:17PM

Seattle Police search for Maurice Clemmons 11/29/09; Clemmons and Mike Huckabee (inset).

How did Maurice Clemmons, once sentenced to 100 years in prison in Arkansas, end up a free man and the prime suspect in the grisly killing of four Seattle area police officers Sunday?

Clemmons' story begins with a teenage crime spree, winds through his years as a young man spent behind bars and the commutation of his life sentence by Mike Huckabee, continues with more years in and out of prison and the degeneration of his mental state, and finally leaves off today with a massive search for a man police describe as armed and dangerous.

The story carries potentially big political ramifications for possible presidential contender Huckabee, who is now trying to deflect criticism of the commutation to the state parole board. That's in part because Huckabee's effort to downplay his role in the Clemmons commutation echoes his response in the case of another Arkansas parolee who went on to commit a gruesome crime.

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Topics: Maurice Clemmons, Mike Huckabee, Pardons, Washington Police Killings
Washington Police Killings
Huckabee Cites System's 'Failures' In Response To Washington Police Killings
Justin Elliott | November 30, 2009, 9:53AM

Mike Huckabee and Maurice Clemmons (inset).
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.

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