As a general matter, I think there are far too few uses of executive clemency, commutation and pardon in our current criminal justice system. But here's a case of one gone awry that may end up having real political ramifications.
You may have heard that four police officers were murdered in what under different circumstances would look like a mob assassination in Washington state coffeehouse this morning.
The man local police are seeking for questioning is Maurice Clemmons, 37, a man with a lifetime history of violence, burglary, aggravated robbery, theft and rape.
Clemmons was serving what was essentially a life sentence in Arkansas before having his sentence commuted by then-Gov. Mike Huckabee.
"This is the day I've been dreading for a long time," Pulaski County prosecutor Larry Jegley told the Seattle Times when told Clemmons was a suspect in the quadruple murder.
Whatever you might think, say or write about this now, if Clemmons is indicted, the fact that Huckabee pardoned this guy is going to be played by Palin's supporters like the Willie Horton affair on steroids.
Of course, she'll keep her hands off of it.
Update - 8:30 p.m: The CW has now tweeted the following:
While in Washington State today my heart goes out to the WA police officers gunned down so tragically&senslessly. God comfort the families.
C4P has a post up. We'll see how the comments roam...
And, along with Palin, my heart truly does go out to these public safety professionals' families.
Update - 8:40 p.m: from C4P:
Scratch Huck. Now the Evangelicals will be looking for a candidate to unite behind. Could it be Jeb Bush? Tim Pawlenty? Mitt Romney?
That's HIS gameplan and conventional wisdom. He's a Minister. I think Sarah can clean up the Evangelical vote AND the Catholic vote (I'm a Catholic). Even without today's events I think she would have won Evangelicals, but Huck could have made inroads, maybe split off enough of them to throw it to T'Paw or Romney. I doubt it though.
Husckers has his "Willie Hortan" moment (heard that he might not run in 2012)
Romney is polling just below 50%
Sarah is looking good now :)
I posted this at Ace about Huckabee commuting the killer of the 4 cops.
Sanford - Appalachia tunnel...to Argentina
Newt - Scozzafava'ed
Cheney - Bush baggage
Mitt - Romneycare, coward
Huckster - Horton'ed out
Jeb Bush - Bush name
Petraeus - Apparently no interest
Jindal - too young, nerdy, and said he's out
Barbour - old, white, gray-haired Southerner
Crist - oh, please
Huntsman - Obamabot
Gary Johnson - Who?
Pawlenty - He of half a testicle and moderation
Who is left?
Thune - Who? VP? maybe if he behaves
Santorum - ? Be good and you get Veep spot
Who is left?
The Commonsense Conservative who walks the talk, and is fearless.
She'll get 55% of the vote, pull the 2004 states of Bush and pick up Wisconsin.
The only question is her Veep.
If anyone has time, post at Race42012 on latest Huckabee thread. Their attacking Palin, because, obviously this could be significant for her. Some idiot supports Jeb Bush, but he's a pretty nasty Palin hater.
[referring to Huckabee's newly issued press release on the shootings]
And it omits an explanation of why it mentions commutation - what does that have to do with Huck? - it doesn't say.
It seems to try to shift blame without accepting any responsibility, and to say that someone should be tough on the man in the future.
What man? It doesn't say.
Weird and inept.
It reminds me of Ted Kennedy's explanation for the famous event in his life. I was stunned at how poorly he "explained" that. I expected something less inept.
This statement by Huck's team is inept.