Governor goes own way on pardons

___Prosecutors across Arkansas have had their differences with Gov. Huckabee's generous pardons policy, but what bothers them the most is Huckabee's superior attitude when they dare to object.
___ The governor often doesn't even alert prosecutors when he commutes the sentences of killers serving life sentences without parole, but when prosecutors contact him, he's contemptuous of these professionals who know a lot more about criminals than Huckabee thinks he knows.
___ Prosecutors from both political parties find his clemencies and his patronizing comments equally appalling.
___ In his letters to prosecutors, he sounds irritated, as if he were above criticism, which he probably thinks he is.

___ The governor would prefer the public didn't know how many pardons he has issued since he took office in 1996.
___ Huckabee told us last month that he issues clemencies and commutations in only about 10 percent of the cases that come before him.
___ But Huckabee's office would not give us the exact number.
___ His spokesman said the governor's office does not keep a record of the pardons, which is unbelievable. You'd think something that important would at least be stored in someone's computer there.
___ We checked with the secretary of state's office, the official keeper of such records. Huckabee has granted more than 700 pardons and clemencies since he took office, which is a lot more than most people might have guessed.
___ You can see why prosecutors are unhappy with him, and since Huckabee is a lame duck, they predict a steep rise in the number of clemencies before he leaves office.
___ Huckabee almost never gives a reason for his clemencies, although he'll offer a hint now and then that the criminals have been rehabilitated, or he'll even suggest they're innocent and should go free, as he did in the case of convicted rapist Wayne DuMond, who then murdered a couple of Missouri women after his release.
___ He had considered offering DuMond clemency, but the public uproar and, yes, pressure from the local prosecutor resulted in Huckabee instead arranging a pardon for DuMond with the state Post Prison Transfer Board.
___ Huckabee thinks he is better informed than the prosecutors, and, what's more, he shows a complete lack of empathy for the victims and their families.
___ Instead, he'll let a foolish young man named Cory Cox, his deputy legal counsel and adviser on criminal justice, write an obnoxious letter like this one to Saline County Prosecutor Robert Herzfeld, who objected to one of Huckabee's pardons:
___ "The governor read you (sic) letter and laughed out loud," Cox wrote about a life-and-death situation that somehow amused Huckabee – or maybe he didn't really laugh out loud and Cox was just making it up, trying to sound clever.
___ Cox should have been fired in any case, either for disclosing the governor's morbid sense of humor or simply lying about it.
___ "He wanted me to respond to you," Cox continued, ending with this zinger: "I wish you success as you cut down on your caffeine consumption."
___ Why is young Corey Cox still on the state payroll?
___ And we wonder why state government is dysfunctional.

Next: How victims' families are mistreated

--- Past Articles

Prosecutors seek more openness on pardons

___When you talk to prosecutors around the state, many of them will tell you they're unhappy that Gov. Huckabee pardons criminals without letting law-enforcement officials or victims' families know why he's doing it, as he's required by law.

Huckabee, prosecutors go on offensive
___They trade jabs over sentencing, pardoning of killers, other thugs

___Several prosecutors around the state are upset with Gov. Huckabee for grant- ing clemency to violent criminals, but he is blaming the prosecutors for often not seeking the maximum penalty and keeping felons locked up longer.

B.B. goes home then to funeral
___B.B. 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.

Clintons in lovefest with Bush
___If there's anything more unappealing than watching politicians mud wrestle, it's watching them pretend they like each other.
___Oozing 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
___A 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 was impressed.

What if...
Reagan had won in '76
___Millions of words and thousands of images have filled newspapers and television screens since the passing of Ronald Reagan on Saturday.
___Friends, 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. [FULL STORY]

These Vets couldn't go to unveiling
___Uncle Albert Jonikas couldn't make it to the dedication of the World War II memorial over the weekend.
___He's 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 STORY]