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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 8:40 pm 
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Cross-posted at Rightspeak, I explain what I think Huckabee should do about the clemency issue.

****

As a Huckabee supporter, the whole clemency issue worries me. I don't think it is as fatal as some supporters of other candidates seem to think (hasn't moved Huckabee one bit in the polls), I honestly think there are more people out there than previously thought who can understand how he was thinking and sympathize with him.

Having said that, there are some people who won't. I think that those people are mostly in the south, a region known for being tough on crime (with death penalty etc being common), and Huckabee will win the south anyway since he is a southern conservative (the only major candidate from the south).

Still, you never know what an attack ad might do. An ad showing pictures of the police officers who died, or even worst, of the grieving family, may be hard to respond to.

Here is my advice to Gov. Huckabee: No more clemencies, no more pardons, no more commutations or whatever it's called. Promise that you as a president would never pardon anyone, not during any circumstances. Show that you have learned your lesson.

No-one thinks that Huckabee enjoyed seeing those police officers get killed, I'm sure he felt horrible about it. And people understand this too; no-one thinks that he wanted to get anyone killed. All he has to do now is to show that he really does regret it and will do anything, even something as radical as never issuing any new pardons as president, to make sure it never happens again.

Huckabee wasn't responsible for those deaths. Maurice Clemmons was. Washington State bears more guilt than Huckabee, but as long as Huckabee can be associated with Clemmons in some way, he'll have to respond. Perception matters in elections.

Will this completely repair any damage caused by the clemencies? No, of course not, but people may get tired of hearing of it if you hammer it long enough, especially if Huckabee has already stated he'll never pardon anyone. Just like cap-and-trade is unlikely to hurt Pawlenty, now that he has turned around completely on the issue (in light of new evidence which seems to contradict the man-made global warming hypothesis). No, it's not the same thing, but the best way to make an issue die away is to just apologise and promise never to repeat the mistake. If you can do so credibly (and Huckabee is good at appearing credible), it's not too hard to earn the voters' forgiveness. If Huckabee were to promise not to issue any pardons as president, who wouldn't believe him? Like I said, it's not like he wants anyone to get killed, if he says that he has learned from experience, that will be hard to dispute.

What do the rest of you think? Would it be enough of Huckabee to simply promise never to pardon anyone if he becomes president, or what does he have to say?


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 9:40 pm 
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I disagree. Part of a Presidents and a Governors job according to our Constitution is to issue pardons. Huckabee often followed the advice of parole boards and judges. IMO he needs to let people know the double standard on sentencing poor and/or minorities, how prisons were overcrowded, the expense of incarceration especially if they had to build new prisons. Being tough on crime is fine if there's plenty of money to be tough with.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 9:53 pm 
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I'm 100% with Donna.

John,

Use this..


The New York Times reported way back in in 2001 that there are about 2,000 clemency orders issued annually by Governors. (Clemency can include pardons, sentence commutations, and other orders lessening punishments.)

Here's what my research shows on these three in particular before and after the NYT findings..

Governor Romney (2003-2007)-0
Governor Reagan (1967-1975)-575
Governor Huckabee (1996-2007)-1033

Hey, Mitt said no to every single one for political purposes. Even refusing to pardon National Guard Lt. Anthony Circosta, who had been convicted of assault at age 13 for "shooting another boy in the arm with a BB gun, a shot that didn't break the skin," according to the AP. After returning from duty in Iraq, Circosta wanted to become a police officer but needed to have his childhood charge pardoned first. Romney basically said he should just get lost!

Governor Huckabee only granted clemencies to approximately 246 convicts in 10 1/2 years. That's around 2 per month.. after reading, studying, and discussing their individual and unique cases, like a 16 year old black male being given a 108 year sentence for one burglary and the stealing of a purse (without a gun) that Huck rightfully cut in half.

The remaing 787 in the 10 1/2 years were given pardons AFTER they had served their sentences and were released.

They requested a pardon so they could get a job.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 9:57 pm 
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And/or this..



On Clemmons Case:

Mike Huckabee said from Fox News, "I was making it based on the case of a 16-year-old black male who was given 108 years, which was far more of a sentence for a robbery than most people would get for murder. There was a whole string of things that went wrong in the case of Maurice Clemmons. He went back to prison after his parole and he should've stayed there. But later, both Washington state and my successor messed up the paperwork, and he wasn't held."

You think Obama is going to bring that up? Get real.


--

The Maurice Clemmons Case: We Blamed the Wrong Arkansas Governor

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.

http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/dailywee ... e_we_b.php

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 10:03 pm 
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I agree he's not guilty, it's all very unfair. I hate the way media has spun this thing.

But promising not to issue another pardon (at least not for anyone convicted for violent crime or something like that) would be a way to satisfy a lot of people. A way to show remorse over how things after all played out (though I have no doubt in my mind Huckabee feels horrible about the police shootings Clemmons did, though he isn't guilty of them).


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 10:08 pm 
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Parole records under Romney, Patrick similar

Data on releases reveal little about politics

February 07, 2011 By Jonathan Saltzman

The Christmas weekend slaying of a Woburn police officer by a recently paroled inmate renewed criticism in some quarters that Democratic Governor Deval Patrick, who had been in office two years when Domenic Cinelli was freed, is soft on crime.

But over the past 20 years, the percentage of inmates paroled while serving a life sentence like Cinelli’s peaked in 2004, when all seven members of the state Parole Board had been appointed or reappointed by Republican governors, according to data obtained from the agency. Mitt Romney, a Republican, was governor that year but did not have a majority of the appointees on the board until late 2005.

Under both Romney and Patrick, the statistics show, the board had years when it approved 40 percent or more of so-called “lifers’’ for early release.
Image

In contrast, the board in the 1990s under Governor William F. Weld, a Republican, never paroled more than 23 percent of lifers and in his last year paroled only 6 percent. Weld is the former US attorney who famously vowed to “reintroduce Massachusetts prisoners to the joy of busting rocks.’’

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massac ... k_similar/

http://cache.boston.com/bonzai-fba/Glob ... 9_5000.gif

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 11:22 pm 
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With all due respect John, why would you post that over at Rightspeak? Seriously, the only people who frequent that site are Romney supporters. And you just opened up the door for them to blast Huckabee on an issue that they have no intention of doing any true research on. Watch the comments and you will see.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 11:27 pm 
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I don't think Governor Huckabee did anything wrong in the Clemmons case. He did the job he was paid to do and he made the best decision he could make with the facts he had before him. No one could expect him to know this guy would go off his rocker some 10 yrs. later. This does not bother me in the least and I don't think it is an issue at all with anyone who would be a potential Huckabee supporter.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2011 12:38 am 
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Mike can certainly apologize but in a way that does admit guilt because I don't believe he was responsible for what Clemmons did. He can say he will be much more skeptical in issuing pardons in the future since this happened, but to promise never to pardon again? I think that would be foolish to give one's word not knowing what situation in the future might demand a different action. What if he gave his word and there was a very clear case of someone deserving pardon?

Never say never. To promise something and not carry it through would be typical political rhetoric. I don't think Mike is the kind of person to flippantly promise his word on something just to get votes.

As he said during one of the debates for 2008 while answering the evolution-creator question, (I paraphrase): if the people are looking for someone who doesn't believe in God, there are plenty of other candidates whom they could choose from but as for him, this is where he stands and he can do no other. He might say: if you want a non-compassionate leader who will not take into account all the information about a situation and make an informed decision, there are plenty of other candidates who will act in the politically expedient no-risk-to-self manner. As for himself, this is where he stands and he can do no other.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2011 10:01 am 
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I actually think Wendero is right. However, I don't think that is Huckabee's position. I believe he has been pretty consisant in saying his decision on Clemmons was the correct decision.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2011 12:10 pm 
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ArkansasJohn wrote:
I actually think Wendero is right. However, I don't think that is Huckabee's position. I believe he has been pretty consisant in saying his decision on Clemmons was the correct decision.


ArkansasJohn, just out of curiosity, what makes you think the approach Wendero has suggested would be a better one for Mike to take?

Also, since you're from Arkansas and may have insights other people here don't, wasn't there some sort of feud going on between people in the prosecutor's office and Mike which might be part of the reason why Mike is getting blamed for what happened with Clemmons? Can you shed any light on that?

Thanks!

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2011 12:33 pm 
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Not sure I can shed any more light than anyone else reading the news but I think Huckabee has a pretty generous pardon/clemmency policy as governor. He was more generous than I would have been which is why I would prefer he say that he would not grant pardons as President.

It seems like the "feud with prosecutors" was because of his policies on pardons.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2011 12:45 pm 
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Quote:
The New York Times reported way back in in 2001 that there are about 2,000 clemency orders issued annually by Governors. (Clemency can include pardons, sentence commutations, and other orders lessening punishments.)

Here's what my research shows on these three in particular before and after the NYT findings..

Governor Romney (2003-2007)-0
Governor Reagan (1967-1975)-575
Governor Huckabee (1996-2007)-1033

Hey, Mitt said no to every single one for political purposes. Even refusing to pardon National Guard Lt. Anthony Circosta, who had been convicted of assault at age 13 for "shooting another boy in the arm with a BB gun, a shot that didn't break the skin," according to the AP. After returning from duty in Iraq, Circosta wanted to become a police officer but needed to have his childhood charge pardoned first. Romney basically said he should just get lost!

Governor Huckabee only granted clemencies to approximately 246 convicts in 10 1/2 years. That's around 2 per month.. after reading, studying, and discussing their individual and unique cases, like a 16 year old black male being given a 108 year sentence for one burglary and the stealing of a purse (without a gun) that Huck rightfully cut in half.

The remaing 787 in the 10 1/2 years were given pardons AFTER they had served their sentences and were released.

They requested a pardon so they could get a job.


craig, this is awesome research/info. could you post/link the documentation so we have it ready to deploy when needed?

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2011 3:12 pm 
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My solution to the clemency issue is this: information bomb. This 'bomb' will be detonated when the clemency issue reaches critical mass. What I mean by this is that there will come a point when the headline pops up on Drudge, and all the bloggers, talk radio guys will be talking about it. That's when you let loose your previously prepared ordinance.
I'm talking a website designated "The Truth About Clemmons" featuring a time line of the Governor's actions, as well as those of the prosecutors and law enforcement. People can be influenced better visually, so we should have a video professionally edited and drive home the points-"Huckabee did not pardon.." "Trial judge agreed..." and so forth. Also, introduce a higher ratio of post-Huckabee occurrences in the Clemmons story to flood the viewers mind with facts, so any residual blame placed goes to a higher ratio of other people.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2011 1:13 am 
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The problem with saying he won't issue any pardons as POTUS is that it is a de facto admission of guilt (ie. guilty of faulty judgment) - it translates into "I made a mistake to issue all those pardons & I don't have the judgment for such actions so I will not use the power legally given to me because I can't be trusted with it"
That's political suicide.

The biggest problem with this issue is that it brings GH's judgment into question; the answer is to reassure people about his judgment, not to confirm their doubts and promise to abstain from the use of it.

(how much would you trust someone who sought the office of POTUS, admitted to being unreliable with at least one aspect of that power, but promised they wouldn't touch it? I'd have a far bigger problem with that kind of response than the issue itself.)


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2011 10:37 pm 
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The problem with all the suggestions is we are trying to counter an emotionally charged issues with facts alone. The facts need to be measured and restated in an emotionally connecting way.

He really needs to have a couple of different television ads that highlight a handful of the murderers that were executed under his watch. Also 2 or 3 bullet points repeated that highlight not only the number of executions under his watch, but other significant achievements related to law enforcement.

In markets that are more liberal; run ads that highlight several success stories of people that the GH pardoned and the positive impact it had on them, their families and communities.

Governor Huckabee brings a measured and reasoned approach to leading.


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