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Former cop rips pardon

Leader staff writers
>>> IN SHORT>>> However Helen Spencer died, her murderer should spend the rest of his life in prison for his brutal acts. [FULL STORY]

Huckabee's dubious achievement
Governor sets record for clemencies

____Gov. Huckabee is on a roll: He has freed more convicts than all of his recent predecessors combined – more than 10 times as many as Gov. Clinton during a 10-year period from 1983 to 1992.
____ Huckabee has issued more clemencies in the last 18 months than he did during his first six years in office. This feverish pace of clemencies suggests that he'll free hundreds of convicts before he leaves office in January 2007.
____ In the face of in-creasing criticism from victims' families and law-enforcement officials, you'd think our incredible shrinking governor would take a breather from signing clemency papers, but he's doing just the opposite: Like a child who will not behave even after he's reprimanded, Huckabee, to prove he's boss, keeps issuing more and more clemencies– 214 pardons and 40 commutations since last year, and, all told, 567 pardons and 102 commutations since he took office in 1996, for a total of 669 and still rising. He'll end up with more than 1,000 clemencies –that is, combining pardons and commutations.

____ He likes issuing clemency papers the way other people enjoy fishing and camping: It's his hobby. We have analyzed the record, and what we've found will shock you.
____ Let's put the scandal of Huckabee's clemencies in perspective:
____ Even that lying, liberal, no-good, cheating Bill Clinton has a better record on pardons and commutations than Huckabee. True, when young Clinton became governor in 1979, he did what Huckabee is doing now: In his first two-year term, Clinton went on a tear and commuted the sentences of 66 convicts and pardoned 72 others.
____ He lost his re-election bid in 1980 in part because of his generous clemencies. But when he came back in 1982, he'd learned his lesson and did just nine commutations and 279 pardons during the next decade.
____ Frank White, the Republican who defeated Clinton for one term, issued just four commutations and 35 pardons. Gov. Jim Guy Tucker, who succeeded Clinton when he was elected president in 1992, granted about the same number of clemencies in the next four years: just seven commutations and 35 pardons .
____ Politicians of all stripes realized in the 1980s and 1990s that there was a price to pay if they kept freeing murderers and rapists, who were usually serving life sentences without parole before they were pardoned. It was also around that time that the rights of victims were recognized across the nation. Families were suddenly consulted about pardons and clemencies.
____ Huckabee has reversed that trend, ignoring victims' families and lending a sympathetic ear to killers, rapists and drunks, especially if a minister from Huckabee's circle vouches for their jailhouse conversion.
____ Last week alone, he issued 12 clemencies, several over the objections of local prosecutors, and, in one local case, even over the objections of the usually pliable Post-Prison Transfer Board. The board unanimously disagreed with Huckabee and a minister friend that former Air Force Sgt. Glen M. Green, who is serving life without parole, didn't mean to kill a pregnant woman, and even if he did, he has been rehabilitated.
____ Last week's clemencies are as strange as the others. Arkansans are shaking their heads in disbelief that Huckabee would free a monster like Glen M. Green, a former sergeant at Little Rock Air Force Base, who beat a pregnant Gravel Ridge woman with a martial-arts weapon, raped her and then drove over her with his car in Lonoke County.
____ Lonoke County Prosecutor Lona McCastlain and the Jacksonville police aren't too happy with Huckabee, but that doesn't bother him because his friend, the Rev. Johnny Jackson, says Green is a good guy.
____ Huckabee also likes Denver Witham, a fellow musician who plays in the Cummins Prison band and is serving life without parole.
____ Witham, who was also granted clemency last week, beat his victim with a lead pipe during a robbery in a Saline County cemetery.
____ Huckabee and his staff will not discuss his clemencies, except for a brief statement he issued to the Leader last month claiming that he acts on only 10 percent of the cases that are put before him.
____ But, as we have shown, even that 10 percent translates into hundreds of pardons and commutations.
____ Victims' families fear there will be many more in the coming months, but they're organizing to stop Huckabee before he cleans out the prisons. Some victims' families are so unhappy with Huckabee, they're demanding that he resign.
____ This scandal should haunt him for the rest of his term and probably for the rest of his life. His shameless refusal to explain his actions and his insensitivity toward victims' families tell a lot about the man's character.
____ Through a combination of ig-norance and arrogance, Huckabee has alienated both Republicans and Democrats – probably more of the former, who are angry that a supposedly conservative governor has brought shame on their party.

Next: Grassroots opposition to Huckabee.

--- Past Articles

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. [FULL STORY]

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. [FULL STORY]

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]