prosecutors go on offensive
trade jabs over sentencing, pardoning of killers, other thugs
prosecutors around the state are upset with Gov. Huckabee for granting clemency to violent criminals, but he is blaming the prosecutors
for often not seeking the maximum penalty and keeping felons locked
now, Huckabee has refused to comment on his controversial policy of
making violent prisoners eligible for parole they include murderers,
armed robbers and rapists, who often return to a life of crime after
they're freed but in a statement to The Leader this week, he
lashed out at prosecutors for not doing more to keep prisoners behind
bars to which Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley
had this response: "That's a load of baloney."
"I'm offended as a prosecutor and as a citizen. He can blame the
prosecutors, but ultimately he's the man responsible," Jegley says.
"He's the only one who can sign on the dotted line.
"All he has to do is look in the mirror and say, 'I let (convicted
rapist) Wayne DuMond go free who then killed at least once and probably
Jegley says the governor ignores the will of the people when he reduces
a life sentence without parole that was handed down by a jury.
"He has obviously disregarded the jury's decision. It's a crying
shame that a sitting governor would be so insensitive to victims' right
and disregard the system," says Jegley, who points to several clemency
cases where felons went free and then committed more crimes.
In addition, Jegley, Saline County Prosecuting Attorney Robert Herzfeld
and others have accused Huckabee of violating the state Constitution
when he commutes sentences without explanation. The Constitution requires
the governor to give reasons why he grants clemency to criminals.
"He doesn't do it," insists Herzfeld, who recently had a clemency
overturned because Huckabee did not explain why he commuted a murderer's
Here is Huckabee's response to critics:
"Have Robert Herzfeld, Larry Jegley and the other prosecuting attorneys
prosecuted every crime to the full extent the law allows? In other words,
have they in every case pursued the maximum penalties? Did they ever
plea bargain? How often? What's the percentage of cases in which they've
accepted less than the maximum penalties allowed by law?
"My point is this: They used their discretion to decide they would
ask for less punishment than the maximum sentences. They exercised their
personal judgment. In about 10 percent of the cases before me, I might
use my discretion based on recommendations of the Post Prison Transfer
Board, the testimony of officials, prison records, etc.," Huckabee
"In those cases, I'm doing the same thing Herzfeld, Jegley and
others have done using my judgment. The difference is that we
never know about their plea bargains and the thought processes they
used. I have to give public notice, contact all officials and then have
a 30-day public comment period.
"I'm thinking of trying to get the law changed so prosecutors are
required to give notice to all involved, have a 30-day public comment
period and seek input prior to a plea bargain or any decision to seek
less than the maximum sentences allowed by law," Huckabee says.
Prosecutor Jegley is furious with the governor's justification for pardoning
"That's pathetic. It's as bogus as any $3 bill out there. Plea
bargains are a necessary part of the criminal justice system,"
Jegley says, but once a sentence is handed down, the governor shouldn't
"Life without parole should mean life without parole," he
insists."The governor's use of clemency power in refusing to explain
his turning over the will of the people deprives the general public
of due process."
Herzfeld says, "The governor's statement makes absolutely no sense.
It is another example of the governor's disconnection on this issue,
and his lame attempts at shifting blame. In the two primary clemency
cases I have been working on, the defendants are serving life in prisonthat
is the maximum penalty possible for first degree murder, the crime for
which they were both convicted.
"After seven months of fighting the governor to keep murderers
behind bars, I am still continually amazed at his actions and words
regarding clemency. He just doesn't get it."
Jegley cites numerous examples of Huckabee's freeing felons who go on
committing more crimes and wind up back in prison.
Maurice Clemmons received a 35-year sentence in the early 1990s for
armed robbery and theft. His sentence was commuted in May 2000, and
he was let out three months later.
The following March, Clemmons committed two armed robberies and other
crimes and was sentenced to 10 years. You'd think they'd keep him locked
up after that, but no: He was paroled last March and is now wanted for
If Huckabee decides to set these criminals free, Jegley says, at least
"he ought to give an accounting. I can't imagine why in the world
they'd want them released from jail. There's a good reason we're afraid
of them. The sad truth is that a significant number of people re-offend."
The victims' families, Jegley says, "deserve an explanation. I
look into people's eyes who've suffered the unspeakable. I believe they
"People are paying attention," the prosecutor says. "They
don't like it. People ask me, 'Why is he letting criminals out of prison?'
I tell them I don't know why. I have no earthly idea how come. Maybe
he doesn't know what common folk think."
Jegley says although he'll never know why Huckabee is releasing hardened
criminals, it often helps if they're assigned to the Governor's Mansion.
"If you do a good job raking the governor's leaves," Jegley
says, "you can go free."
Clemency for Saline County murderers.
B.B. goes home then to funeral
King didn't seem his usual old self last weekend when he was performing
in his hometown of Indianola, Miss.
___ He put on two fine shows in one evening,
but he seemed a bit distracted. [FULL
Clintons in lovefest with Bush
there's anything more unappealing than watching politicians mud wrestle,
it's watching them pretend they like each other.
insincerity, Presi-dent Bush praised his predecessor on Monday during an
unveiling of the Clintons' official (and utterly mediocre) White House portraits.
World-class blues played near here
couple of great blues musicians showed up at Sticky Fingerz in Little Rock
on Thursday night.
___ Michael Burks, probably Arkansas' most talented
young bluesman, dropped in to catch Deborah Coleman and her band and he
Reagan had won in '76
of words and thousands of images have filled newspapers and television screens
since the passing of Ronald Reagan on Saturday.
colleagues, politicians and scholars have discussed every facet of his remarkable
life: How he started out poor, became a Holly-wood star, found a second
career on television, then a third as a corporate spokesman, and yet another,
more spectacular career as a politician.
His life has been thoroughly examined this week, but one crucial period
and its consequences are virtually overlooked: His losing out to President
Ford for the Republican Party's presidential nomination in 1976, which,
it could be argued, helped the Soviets stay in power for several more years.
These Vets couldn't go to unveiling
Albert Jonikas couldn't make it to the dedication of the World War II memorial
over the weekend.
an 84-year-old veteran of the Second World War who saw action in the Pacific
- Iwo Jima, Saipan, Okinawa, which was near where the Japanese surrendered
- but he doesn't get around much anymore. [FULL