Huckabee granted more clemencies than six neighboring states combined?

posted at 10:05 pm on December 5, 2007 by Allahpundit

I’m really not trying to pile on the guy. I don’t think it was some huge deal that he didn’t hear about the NIE for 24 hours. I don’t even think the Dumond fiasco would have been a huge deal if he’d owned up to it and confessed a lapse in judgment. But we’ve had to live with the other big four for the past 11 months and he is, after all, the new national frontrunner, so Huck is the man of the hour.

Via Dan Riehl, here’s what this new hour’s bringing:

Here are the figures for neighboring states since 1996, when Huckabee took office (and keep in mind the population of these states is nearly 20 times ours):

>> Louisiana – 213.
>> Mississippi – 24.
>> Missouri – 79.
>> Oklahoma – 178.
>> Tennessee – 32.
>> Texas – 98 (in-cludes 36 inmates released because they were convicted on drug charges with planted evidence).

Total: 624 vs. Huckabee’s 703.

Governors in neighboring states almost never grant killers clemency, while Huckabee has commuted the sentences of a dozen murderers.

Those are 2004 figures. I was skeptical so I googled around to see if I could find confirmation. Here you go, from two months ago. The Nashua Telegraph’s numbers are slightly different for Huck’s first eight years — “only” 669 clemencies, among whom were 11 convicted murderers — but they’re otherwise in sync. When pressed for an explanation, Huck offered the following:

Huckabee told The Telegraph that number is misleading because the prison population exploded during his tenure. He said his rate was on par with most of his predecessors.

“Compared to previous governors, it really wasn’t that disproportionate,” Huckabee said. “The truth can’t hurt me on this one.”…

The 669 commutations or pardons Huckabee handed out from 1996-2004 were more than Clinton and the state’s two previous governors granted in an 18-year period.

But an Arkansas Democrat-Gazette analysis over 44 years found Huckabee’s commutation rate was about the same as two Democratic Arkansas chief executives who later became U.S. senators and was less than two other governors serving in the 1960s.

Maybe it’s just an Arkansas thing? (Or maybe not.) I’d be curious to know if those two Democratic governors had many convicted murderers on their clemency rolls. And also curious as to why, oh why, a Republican governor would ever have a clemency rate as high as a Democrat. Follow the link to the Telegraph and scroll down for rationales. One is crowded prisons, which might explain early release for a drug offender but not for a murderer. The other is a belief in “redemption.”

Exit question: Are we actually going to have a Republican nominee who’s soft on crime?

Update: 2004 flashback — Prosecutor begs Huck to stop granting clemencies.

Update: Commenter Vizzini does the math. Over eight years, Huck granted clemency once every four days.


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703? Good Lord.

SoulGlo on December 5, 2007 at 10:08 PM

You say hello, and I say buh-bye.

Exit question: Are we actually going to have a Republican nominee who’s soft on crime?

No.

thirteen28 on December 5, 2007 at 10:09 PM

He just wants Mumia to be free. Then he will be at peace

bbz123 on December 5, 2007 at 10:12 PM

Exactly why I want a President willing to answer to his maker then point his maker to his record. Have some gumballs…….or a least some gum.

Limerick on December 5, 2007 at 10:13 PM

If he takes Iowa, I’d put the odds at 40% or so. Scary, dude. Go Mitt, go! (at least for Iowa).

RW Wacko on December 5, 2007 at 10:13 PM

Outside of substance, of which there is plenty, this is all adding up to a narrative that will soon overtake him, if he doesn’t start addressing it directly, assuming is isn’t already too late.

Weight of Glory on December 5, 2007 at 10:14 PM

Nope.

Jaibones on December 5, 2007 at 10:14 PM

BTW, does Mitt’s “Willie Horton” moment seem small in comparison now or what?

thirteen28 on December 5, 2007 at 10:16 PM

You know whos not soft on crime? Fred.

Cuffy pointed out in another thread this interesting bit from Fred in that Charlie Rose interview.

When asked about the use of torture on detainees, Fred said that he would do “Whatever is necessary” to protect American lives.

Its a nice contrast to Huckabees call to shut down Gitmo and McCain calling for the end of waterboarding as an interrogation technique.

Yeah that was shameless Fred pimping. But its still a cool interview.

amish on December 5, 2007 at 10:17 PM

Typical idiot conservative (can I coin that phrase?) who thinks that sucking up to liberals wins him favors.

All it does is make liberals have contempt and disdain for his weakness, and make all the real conservatives hate his ass.

Trust me. If the libs can’t have Billary in the White House they’d love this schmuck. He’s Jimmy Carter in reverse.

thareb on December 5, 2007 at 10:18 PM

Also, I told my wife about the Wass article, and included the necessary caveats about the board members being democrats and appointed by democrat governors, including Bill Clinton, to see what She thought, and whether their political affiliation mattered. She just looked at me and said, “Did he want the guy to be free?” to which I said, yes. She then shook her head in disgust and went back to reading. I got the point.

Weight of Glory on December 5, 2007 at 10:19 PM

Good lord. With Iraq, immigration, health care and social security to contend with, is crime really the issue on which the GOP nomination momentarily turns?

-Allahpundit on Nov. 25

Looks like it.

Big S on December 5, 2007 at 10:22 PM

Hopefully he’ll get Willie Hortown3d with this, and we can quit worrying about Huck.

Bad Candy on December 5, 2007 at 10:23 PM

And also curious as to why, oh why, a Republican governor would ever have a clemency rate as high as a Democrat.

Because the Huckster is a liberal. A liberal guided by religious conviction!

jaime on December 5, 2007 at 10:26 PM

Both Clintons have announced their support of Huckabee. Need anyone say more?

wordwarp on December 5, 2007 at 10:28 PM

No,Republican’s are not soft on crime,
let’s leave that up to the Liberal’s,
besides don’t the democrats have a track
record of murderer’s getting out,and then
reoffending!

canopfor on December 5, 2007 at 10:29 PM

Every article of his I ask the same question, how the hell can a conservative support him? Is it because he is super religious, because we all know its not because he is conservative.

muyoso on December 5, 2007 at 10:29 PM

muyoso on December 5, 2007 at 10:29 PM

Its because he’s poorly known, combined with his friendly demeanor, its hard to convince people what bad news Huck is. You sometimes really have to clock someone with the truth for them to see it.

Bad Candy on December 5, 2007 at 10:32 PM

muyoso on December 5, 2007 at 10:29 PM

God, guns, and gays, my friend. The three biggest issues facing the U.S.A.

Big S on December 5, 2007 at 10:32 PM

Huck is stuck….

in the muck….

he may be dead as a duck…

back up the truck…

he’s outta Huck luck..

and I never said f@ck Huck… or Huck s$cks

not once.

Always Right on December 5, 2007 at 10:33 PM

Oh, and after months of social cons and gunowners feeling like they were being forced to accept Rudy, they have a guy who finally looks like what they want, the pendulum swung the other way. Lets hope it swings back enough that we end up with a candidate that won’t fracture the coalition.

Bad Candy on December 5, 2007 at 10:36 PM

Exit answer: No.

km on December 5, 2007 at 10:37 PM

Exit question: Are we actually going to have a Republican nominee who’s soft on crime?

This one’s gonna hurt.

drjohn on December 5, 2007 at 10:39 PM

God, guns, and gays, my friend. The three biggest issues facing the U.S.A.

Big S on December 5, 2007 at 10:32 PM

Sneer all you want, but you’re nothing without them, and they’re nothing without you. Rudy and Huck would both be disasters, Huck because he’d cause splitoffs from moderates, law&order types(amnesty), libertarians, free marketeers, and maybe hawks. Rudy would cause gunowners, social and religious cons to split off. I think both would be disastrous to the coalition. It has to be Mitt or Fred.

Bad Candy on December 5, 2007 at 10:40 PM

I bet Rudy is really happy Huck is getting all of this attention. I haven’t heard anything about Rudy’s mistresses’ dog being walked by police officers for a few days now.

FloatingRock on December 5, 2007 at 10:45 PM

Exit question: Are we actually going to have a Republican nominee who’s soft on crime?

You’re talking about Mike “Pass the Buck” Huckabee, right? With such a rich field of bureaucrats and government employees that the federal government is, there is no way any “soft on crime” problems would ever end up being Huck’s fault.

Dusty on December 5, 2007 at 10:46 PM

Prosecutor wants moratorium on clemencies
Friday, Jul 16, 2004

LITTLE ROCK – Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley on Thursday asked Gov. Mike Huckabee to stop granting clemencies for violent criminals because of the unprecedented number of early prisoner releases during the governor’s eight years in office.

Jegley said Huckabee has granted 669 clemencies since he became governor in 1996. The previous three governors, Bill Clinton, Frank White and Jim Guy Tucker, granted a total of 507 clemencies during their 18 years in office, Jegley said.

“In eight years the governor has granted 31 percent more (clemencies) than the previous three governors did in 18 years in office,” Jegley said.

Last week, Huckabee issued proclamations granting clemency for Denver Witham, who is serving life in prison for a 1974 murder in Saline County, and for John H. Claiborne, who is serving 375 years in prison for a 1994 kidnapping and armed robbery conviction in Pulaski County. Both men are still in state custody and are waiting parole hearings before the state Post Prison Transfer Board. A board spokeswoman said those hearings probably would be in August.

Also last week, the governor announced he planned commute Dennis Lewis’ sentence of life in prison without parole to time served contingent upon the successful completion of a pre-release program. Lewis was convicted of capital murder in Washington County Circuit Court in 1975, for shooting a Fayetteville pawnshop owner. Earlier this month, Huckabee issued notice of intent to grant clemency to Glen Martin Green of Jacksonville, who was sentenced to life in prison in 1975 after pleading guilty to first-degree murder.

- and on and on and on and on and on and on –

MB4 on December 5, 2007 at 10:47 PM


Exit question: Are we actually going to have a Republican nominee who’s soft on crime?

No.

Griz on December 5, 2007 at 10:47 PM

I don’t think it was some huge deal that he didn’t hear about the NIE for 24 hours.

I do, not being up on serious current events is a serious, lapse.
Some of that time picking a guitar might be better spent learning about whats going on in the real world.

Huckabee granted more clemencies than six neighboring states combined?

His soul wouldn’t let him lock up bad guys, not some even really bad guys.
Tough on illegal immigration, yeah that’s likely.

Speakup on December 5, 2007 at 10:48 PM

His soul made him do it.

Valiant on December 5, 2007 at 10:50 PM

FloatingRock on December 5, 2007 at 10:45 PM

I disagree, he’s dreading it, but not because of his mini-scandals, its because Hillary is looking much less inevitable, which means people don’t feel stuck with Rudy, and they ran to the candidate least like him…which was Huck. Unfortunately, Huck’s every bit the RINO Rudy is, he’s just a different breed of RINO.

Bad Candy on December 5, 2007 at 10:50 PM

Because the Huckster is a liberal. A liberal guided by religious conviction!

jaime on December 5, 2007 at 10:26 PM

I can not think of anything more dangerous.

MB4 on December 5, 2007 at 10:51 PM

Oh, and after months of social cons and gunowners feeling like they were being forced to accept Rudy…

Bad Candy on December 5, 2007 at 10:36 PM

I’m one of the Bill of Rights voters and I have no idea what Huck’s position on the 2nd amendment is. Based on what I know about him, I would guess he’s soft on the 2nd amendment. I think that it’s the religious zealots who’ve been boosting Huck, not so much people who support the Bill of Rights.

FloatingRock on December 5, 2007 at 10:54 PM

I’m admittedly a Romney supporter, but I don’t mind Huckabee so much… as a VP. I love his straight talk and values appeal. That being said, as a conservative, Huck’s fiscal record presents a weak spot for him. His policies were often far too bleeding-heart for those of us that have grown tired of rampant spending. It’s a tough call; I look at Huckabee and see a man that truly lives according to his ideals. I was raised in a family that shared many of his Christian values, and Huckabee comes off as the type of man that one would always want to have in his or her corner, the type of man that puts compassion for others at the top of his agenda. But in that compassion lay the problem: I trust him to always follow his Christian moral compass. The problem is that when it comes to issues of taxes, spending , crime, and national security, my compass points to a different North. Having a conscience is one thing, having a guilty conscience that forgives murderers or proposes to spend American tax-dollars on things like college-tuition for illegal immigrants -is another thing, entirely. Wanting to close Gitmo to appease the court of global public opinion is even more ludicrous. Economically, he’s a populist, not a conservative. He abandons conservative values and ignores the taxpayers to finance whatever his moral compass tells him is the Christian thing to do. Forgiveness, turning the other cheek, and zealous charity are great values for a Baptist Minister, but I’m not so sure these are qualities I want in my Commander-in-Chief. It’s the kind of moralistic thinking that can be disastrous in the complex world of foreign policy, an area in which Huckabee is undoubtedly weaker than most. I want to know that if we’re attacked, I have a leader that will retaliate with the full brute strength of the U.S. Military. I want to know that we won’t spend countless hours negotiating with a rogue dictator while threats to American lives continue to grow. Huck is no Hawk. Now I’m certainly interested in hearing him rebut these claims, but the more sandbags that drop, the softer he looks to me. I don’t know if it’s possible to be “too moral,” but Huckabee seems to govern by emotion, not practicality.

Medicated on December 5, 2007 at 10:55 PM

Bad Candy on December 5, 2007 at 10:50 PM

Huck and Rudy are the two leading Republican candidates, not RINOs. Perhaps it’s you who is out of step with the party.

Big S on December 5, 2007 at 10:57 PM

FloatingRock on December 5, 2007 at 10:54 PM

GOA seems to like him, and they’re pretty absolutist on 2A issues.

Bad Candy on December 5, 2007 at 11:01 PM

Bad Candy on December 5, 2007 at 10:50 PM

Huck and Rudy are the two leading Republican candidates, not RINOs. Perhaps it’s you who is out of step with the party.

Big S on December 5, 2007 at 10:57 PM

The party will catch up.

MB4 on December 5, 2007 at 11:02 PM

Big S on December 5, 2007 at 10:57 PM

No, I see two stubborn sides who are on edge and ready to rip the conservative coalition in two if they don’t get a good bit of what they want in the candidate for 08.

Bad Candy on December 5, 2007 at 11:03 PM

I’m admittedly a Romney supporter, but I don’t mind Huckabee so much… as a VP. I love his straight talk and values appeal. That being said…

Medicated on December 5, 2007 at 10:55 PM

LOL! No offense meant, Medicated, but watch this video to see some of Huck’s “straight talk”.

FloatingRock on December 5, 2007 at 11:07 PM

Medicated on December 5, 2007 at 10:55 PM

Sorry, the link in my comment above was to my most recent comment in the other thread. I was referring to the video up at the top of that thread.

FloatingRock on December 5, 2007 at 11:10 PM

Huckabee isn’t a conservative… he’s a religious progressive.

Lehosh on December 5, 2007 at 11:15 PM

Huck and Rudy are the two leading Republican candidates, not RINOs. Perhaps it’s you who is out of step with the party.

Big S on December 5, 2007 at 10:57 PM

Having two liberal parties is a scary thought, but you may be right. I only hope that it’s a short lived response to the tumultuous times we live in and that at some point in the not too distant future, before it’s too late to preserve America, people will realize that Conservative principles are the only thing that can save us from a cruel and dangerous world.

FloatingRock on December 5, 2007 at 11:19 PM

GOA seems to like him, and they’re pretty absolutist on 2A issues.

Bad Candy on December 5, 2007 at 11:01 PM

Considering Huck’s soft spot for criminals I’m surprised he’s a strong second amendment supporter… not that it changes my opinion of him.

FloatingRock on December 5, 2007 at 11:24 PM

One commutation every four days. Amazing.

Goodnight, Huck.

Vizzini on December 5, 2007 at 11:31 PM

Huckabee isn’t a conservative… he’s a religious progressive.
Lehosh on December 5, 2007 at 11:15 PM

I second that. At NRO, Jonah Goldberg has taken to describing him as a rightwing progressive, which is also accurate. He is definitely more in tune with William Jennings Bryan than Ronald Reagan.

Also, this talk from commenters (and others) about him being OK for VP, please remember something. An elected VP is presumptively the next nominated candidate from the party. Do we really want to go through this all over again in 8 years?

Nessuno on December 5, 2007 at 11:33 PM

BWAHAHAHA! Welcome to the bright lights of media scrutiny, Huck.

At the rate at which the revelations about his record are coming, I’d be surprised if Huckabee hangs on to even a third of the support he’s getting right now from most-Christian-flavor-of-the-month voters by the middle of January.

Watch for Huck’s social con support to dry up in the coming weeks and for Iowa to go to Romney without any serious competition from Huckabee.

Harpazo on December 5, 2007 at 11:38 PM

I’m really not trying to pile on the guy.

Good job AP. Keep up the good work of “not piling on”. With friends of Huck like yourself, I’d hate to meet his true enemies.

Oh yeah, I forgot…Huck deserves every bit of the scorn directed at him. His soul will undoubtably direct him to forgive and forget, unlike the voters, who will never forget.

I still think he looks like an uglier Kevin Spacey.

awake on December 6, 2007 at 12:00 AM

FloatingRock on December 5, 2007 at 11:24 PM

No, as much of a liberty minded guy as I am, the rest of his record is awful, I don’t need to embellish his record to show he’s a baaaaad choice.

Bad Candy on December 6, 2007 at 12:29 AM

Close Gitmo. Pardon the perps. And college for all good illegals. Can’t get more conservative than that!

Huckabee isn’t a conservative… he’s a religious progressive.

Lehosh on December 5, 2007 at 11:15 PM

Agreed

Having a conscience is one thing, having a guilty conscience that forgives murderers or proposes to spend American tax-dollars on things like college-tuition for illegal immigrants -is another thing, entirely
Medicated on December 5, 2007 at 10:55 PM

Well said

Guilt is the life force of liberalism. Responsibility is the foundation of conservatism

Clue to the guilt driven liberals who want to give away the store in my name, it is your guilt, not mine. I take responsibility for my own sins. You answer for yours. I will pay a policeman to shoot you if your sins hurt others but I won’t pay to sop up your guilt. Anyone who wants to give away my beloved country to sop up their guilt is my enemy. This is my home. Do not mess it up Huckster.

entagor on December 6, 2007 at 12:42 AM

Rudy and Romney are likely going to crush him on this. “I see your clemency for convicts and raise you waterboarding of suspects.”

Huck may well whip out the WWJD defense, but it won’t work.

If Huck goes up in the polls, get ready for the “soft on crime” attack ads.

Mark Jaquith on December 6, 2007 at 2:13 AM

Of the 669 commutations or pardons Huckabee handed out from 1996-2004, 668 of them had been hunted down and killed by Chuck Norris before January 27, 2007.

That last guy better make his peace, ’cause Chuck Norris will not be denied…

ScottMcC on December 6, 2007 at 2:21 AM

President Huck the Schmuck’s solution to the Gitmo problem? Pardon them, stupid!

MaiDee on December 6, 2007 at 6:02 AM

They were “God’s Children”.

Now who is Dicky Morris going to schlep for? I hope not Fred.

stenwin77 on December 6, 2007 at 6:49 AM

Not piling on? I’d hate to see it when the candidates are intentionally treated unfairly! Story after story, day after day, of nothing but rampant speculation and insinuation without any sort of substantive “proof” that the candidate is as evil as presented!

I think the comparison of clemency by state is absurd. Each state has its own laws, own processes. Each case has its own particular set of circumstances. Commutations and pardons are not akin to letting all the killers go free as has been implied in much of the coverage of the Dumond case. It simply isn’t relevant to lump all this stuff into a single number and declare that Huckabee must be the Devil’s spawn because his number is higher than everybody elses!

What is a valid concern and question is how Huckabee views the legal system and capital punishment. I suspect that the minister in him doesn’t agree with harsh sentences. Is this an indication that Huckabee, like Carter, would be soft when it comes to issues like national defense or border security? I suspect that it does. That debate/dialogue is far removed from this constant drumbeat of “gotcha” stories designed specifically to discredit Huckabee for reasons that are not evident on the surface. We need an honest debate on the candidates not this sub rosa campaigning for particular candidates by character assassination and absurd comparisons of “what the other governors were doing!”

I’ll end with this one final thought that relates to the Dumond case. Whatever role Governor Huckabee had in the process is somewhat irrelevant when the state’s parole system is clearly flawed. The parole board’s granting parole on the basis that Dumond would leave the state is absolutely outrageous. If Dumond wasn’t a threat, why would he have to leave the state? Perhaps some of that clemency shown by Huckabee was based on a broken judicial system and nothing more.

highhopes on December 6, 2007 at 9:08 AM

Wow! No vote for Huck.

davenp35 on December 6, 2007 at 9:33 AM

The other is a belief in “redemption.”

And that’s why he scares many of us.

It’s one thing to believe in redemption. It’s another to put innocent lives at risk for that belief.

It’s my opinion that if a government can’t keep its people safe, then that government is completely useless.

Esthier on December 6, 2007 at 9:41 AM

Not piling on? I’d hate to see it when the candidates are intentionally treated unfairly! Story after story, day after day, of nothing but rampant speculation and insinuation without any sort of substantive “proof” that the candidate is as evil as presented!

Give me a break. This guy was a relative unknown until the recent debate and was left alone completely while all the other candidates had stories like this brought out.

Now, he’s the national front runner, and we’ve only got a short time before the election.

Esthier on December 6, 2007 at 9:43 AM

Well all of you conservatives…have you had enough of this “sheep in wolves clothing”?

right2bright on December 6, 2007 at 9:52 AM

Now, he’s the national front runner, and we’ve only got a short time before the election.

Esthier on December 6, 2007 at 9:43 AM

His campaign is on the upswing in a race that looked like the only options were which social liberal from the Northeast was going to be forced down the throats of conservative voters……but that hardly makes him the national frontrunner (on the basis of a couple polls).

I can’t help but note that you completely dismissed the substantive portion of my post and, instead, concentrated on telling me why it’s perfectly acceptable to pile on Huckabee. Maybe in your zeal to be snarky you missed this part:

What is a valid concern and question is how Huckabee views the legal system and capital punishment. I suspect that the minister in him doesn’t agree with harsh sentences. Is this an indication that Huckabee, like Carter, would be soft when it comes to issues like national defense or border security? I suspect that it does. That debate/dialogue is far removed from this constant drumbeat of “gotcha” stories designed specifically to discredit Huckabee

I don’t want a President that is soft on crime but I want to base my decision on something more than gotcha stories making the rounds before the primaries even begin. Care to make any sort of comment about THAT?

highhopes on December 6, 2007 at 10:02 AM

How is discussing Huckabee’s record a “gotcha” story? And we ARE in primary season. We vote very soon. If now is not the right time to look into his record, when is? AFTER we vote?

I have no idea what you want here, but it doesn’t seem very rational.

daviddunn on December 6, 2007 at 11:13 AM

How is discussing Huckabee’s record a “gotcha” story?

By the context and manner in which it is discussed.

This isn’t a very difficult thing to understand and it certainly is “rational” to call for LEGITIMATE discussions about the candidates record. I’ve made that very clear in my posts. What I object to is the way Huckabee and Romney, in particular, are being raked over the coals by those who are attempting to force Rudy on us. Things like the Dumond case are dredged up while Rudy’s explanations on why he should appeal to social conservatives are being left behind.

I’m not satisfied with Rudy’s assurances about where he stands on the issues but none of that discussion is going on because of all the hysteria that a Mormon might become President and employs a company that employs illegals….or an Arkansas governor calls himself a Christian leader and has a record of granting clemecy. There needs to be balance in this time of debate and dialogue.

Sorry if you think it irrational to expect more discussion about SCOTUS appointments than lawn care services but that’s just me. I’m sure there is an audience for the gotcha discussions but I’m simply not going to play that game.

highhopes on December 6, 2007 at 11:29 AM

Well it’s 703 votes he can count on. Oops, ex-cons aren’t supposed to vote are they.

countywolf on December 6, 2007 at 11:41 AM

11:41 if they get a pardon, they aren’t felons anymore (well, at least they have THAT felony wiped away, they probably still have others).

McCain wants to play nice with terrorists, Huck wants to pardon everybody, and it’s Giuliani who is a RINO? Rudy will personally torture high value terrorist suspects on live TV in prime time, and would probably personally conduct executions. Voting for a fool merely because he agrees with your theology is an abomination and no less than Martin Luther realized this. Rudy is hardline where it matters and he will appoint justices and officials that are solid on guns and the economy.

libertarianuberalles on December 6, 2007 at 1:08 PM