Disclaimer:  Dee wishes to be straightforward with our readers. She and her husband have, and will continue to be, supporters of the former governor of Arkansas.  They have financially contributed to his campaign, helped host a dinner for him during the primaries, and have a cherished picture taken with him.  This post is not meant to be a criticism of the governor.  Or, if it is perceived that way, then it is a criticism that can be applied to Dee as well.  Mike Huckabee is a decent man and we like him very much.
“Nine years ago, then governor Huckabee, commuted the sentence of Maurice Clemmons who had been convicted in 1989 of robbery and theft, and he was serving a 108-year prison term when Huckabee commuted it to 47 years in 2000, making Clemmons eligible for parole”.   As many of our readers know, about a month ago, Clemmons shot and killed four police officers in the state of Washington and was finally killed himself

"If I could have known nine years ago this guy was capable of something of this magnitude, obviously I would never have granted a commutation," he told Fox News Channel host Bill O'Reilly on Monday night. "It's sickening."
The next two examples come to us from, which you may read in its entirety at:
“In another instance, an Air Force sergeant named Glen Green,  was sentenced to prison for life after confessing that he had raped and killed a teenage girl. After beating her with nunchucks, he violated her almost lifeless body, ran over her with his car and buried her in a swamp”.
Governor Huckabee overruled his parole board, and prosecutors and announced his decision to grant clemency to Green.  A public outcry arose and he wisely backed down from his announced decision.
The final example we shall cite (although there are others) involves the pardon of Wayne Dumond, a rapist and murderer who is now deceased.  As the article from Salon states, Dumond was sent to prison in Arkansas for raping a distant cousin of Bill Clinton.

  “During Clinton's presidency the Dumond case became an obsession among certain right-wing pundits and politicians, who insisted that Dumond had been framed and brutalized by the "Clinton machine."  When Huckabee became governor, he supported a parole for Dumond, winning applause from the Republican right — until the former prisoner raped and killed a young woman in Missouri.  Dumond later died in prison, under suspicion that he had murdered at least one other woman after his Arkansas release.”

Although we cannot judge a person's motives, we can at least look at some clues that may bring some partial understanding.  There have been a number of accusations that Huckabee often took the advice of some friends who are Baptist pastors (Huckabee is an ordained Baptist minister), who admirably serve the prison population.  These pastors apparently believed that the prisoners involved in this post had made life-changing decisions in regards to a profession of the Christian faith and had renounced their actions.

For expediency, we are using information from the Salon article.  However, this information is readily available at a plethora of web sites.

Salon states that “so many of his acts of mercy appeared to depend on interventions by fellow Baptist preachers and by inmate professions of renewed Christian faith.”  Salon reports that it became common knowledge amongst prisoners that the good governor was more apt to commute the sentences of those prisoners who became “born again”.

 Clemmons wrote the following in his successful 2000 clemency application.

 "I come from a very good Christian family and I was raised much better than my actions speak. I'm still ashamed to this day for the shame my stupid involvement in these crimes brought upon my family's name … I have never done anything good for God, but I've prayed for him to grant me in his compassion the grace to make a start. Now, I'm humbly appealing to you for a brand new start."
In the case of Wayne Dumond, Jay Cole, a Baptist minister and ultra-conservative, was a friend of Huckabee.  “Cole would tell the governor about his visits with the supposedly innocent Dumond, when the minister and the prisoner would read the Bible and pray together”.
Another one of Huckabee's preacher friends, Johnny Jackson, “was accused of persuading  him that this incredibly brutal killing had been an "accident" — and that Green had repented, come to Jesus and therefore should be freed”.
Now, to be fair to Huckabee, it is important to give his side of the story.  Dee recently watched his appearance on Fox and Friends.  During that interview Huckabee claimed that Clemmons had been given a sentence that was far in excess of the average length of imprisonment for similar crimes.  He professed that he was trying to be fair to this particular inmate.  The governor appeared to be quite sincere in his assertions.  He also expressed that the killing of the four police sickened him and offered his condolences to the families.
Apparently, many in the Arkansas media and government were aware of Huckabee’s tendency to believe the assertions of the criminals and their preacher advocates.  We believe that Huckabee may have fallen victim to the “the man became a Christian and now he is forgiven and cured of his life of crime”.  Tomorrow we will look at the consequences of this belief and how it is perceived, rightly or wrongly, by various segments of our society.
In the meantime, Dee wishes to share the story of another inmate, which influenced her thinking in regards to the death penalty.  Many are aware of the story of Karla Faye Tucker.  This is her biography from Wikipedia.

“Karla Faye Tucker (November 18, 1959 – February 3, 1998) was convicted of murder in Texas in 1984 and put to death in 1998. She was the first woman to be executed in the United States in 1984 and the first in Texas since 1863. Because of her gender and widely-publicized conversion to Christianity she inspired an unusually large national and international movement advocating the commutation of her sentence to life imprisonment a movement which included a few foreign government officials.”  Her crimes involved the exceedingly gruesome pickax murders of two individuals.

Just like many, I followed her story. She was a charismatic woman whose conversion seemed most sincere.  Many, including the warden and other prisoners, spoke glowingly of her ministry amongst the prisoners.  The more I listened to her, the more convinced I became that she was genuine.  Since her change occurred in 1983, her fourteen years of ministry while incarcerated appeared to point towards a true change of heart.  Funny thing about all of this is that Dee, a diehard believer in the death penalty, now became less enamored with this punishment.  Tomorrow, we shall elaborate on how my beliefs and how I view this story is affected by these clemency actions.
In fact, if Dee were to be brutally honest, she would have commuted her sentence to life imprisonment if it had been possible.  However, upon reflection, she realizes that only God knows Karla Faye’s heart.  Dee has great empathy for Huckabee but believes we all need to look at our faith realistically.  Just as Jesus did not heal all the sick, He does not prevent us from sinning.  Someday, someday…

But, her imprisonment changed the lives of many prisoners.  Her witness also led to the conversion of one of the victim’s brothers who actively campaigned on her behalf.  Perhaps we don’t see that God can even use the prisons and the death penalty to draw others close to Him.

We leave you with the parting words of Karla Faye who was executed on February 3, 1998.  She did more for the faith on death row than many slugs leading “upright” lives and sleeping in the pews.

From Wikipedia
“Yes sir, I would like to say to all of you — the Thornton family and Jerry Dean’s family — that I am so sorry. I hope God will give you peace with this. Baby, I love you. Ron, give Peggy a hug for me. Everybody has been so good to me. I love all of you very much. I am going to be face to face with Jesus now. Warden Baggett, thank all of you so much. You have been so good to me. I love all of you very much. I will see you all when you get there. I will wait for you."

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