Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Slime Behind the Smile : Mike Huckabee - serial rapist pardoner.

As disturbing as it was to find out from the Huffington Post that Mike Huckabee allegedly pardoned Wayne Dumond due to some anti-Clinton hysteria alleging a "frameup," in what appears to have been a particularly irrational Clinton bashing exercise gone horribly, horribly wrong, it turns out that it really wasn't that hard to convince Huckabee to let a serial rapist and probable recidivist go free.

It turns out that - over howls of protests from parole boards, victims families and prosecutors of both parties - you deserved clemency if just clutched a bible and professed to be "born again" with the degree of sincerity it seems born-again Republicans expect from one another. That, or if you raked leaves at the Mansion really well. "Or at least, that was one wry observation from a prosecutor who clearly wasn't willing to go so far as to say that clemencies are for sale.

And indeed, it may well be that he's dumb enough to piss in his AG's cornflakes for free.

There is a long, long list of offenders Huckabee has granted clemency to, many who have re offended. Several of these persons had been sent to prison for life without the possibility of parole by a jury of their peers.

Now, I'm all too well aware of the sorts of things that may occur that lead to someone being unjustly convicted - I'm rather a fan of DNA and The Innocence Project. But in such cases, there should be a very high standard - which The Innocence Project meets, by re-examining DNA evidence.

But this is not about a governor carefully reviewing a case and finding grounds for reasonable doubt - in Huckabee's case, the process appears to be whimsical, insensitive and entirely inexplicable to the legal community.

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.
___ "He doesn't take giving clemency very seriously," complains Saline County Prosecuting Attorney Robert Herzfeld, who will push for new legislation next year to make the clemency process less secretive.


One particularly sore point is his arrogance; signally and contrary to the Arkansas state constitution, he refuses to explain his reasons for granting clemency.

Herzfeld successfully sued to keep a murderer named Don Jeffers behind bars (at least for a while longer) after Huckabee granted him clemency without explanation as required by law: "On granting an application (for executive clemency), the Governor shall include in his written order the reasons therefore҆."
___Attorney General Mike Beebe, in nullifying the pardon, agreed that the governor had erred when he didn't give reasons why he had pardoned Jeffers and didn't even contact the prosecutor or the victim's family about how he felt about the pardon.
___"It was a tremendous victory," says the 30-year-old prosecutor. "This was not only the first time a prosecutor had filed a lawsuit against a governor but had actually won." Jeffers had strangled a Bryant man during a home burglary in 1980 and is serving a life sentence without parole for murder and 25 years for armed robbery after he plea bargained to avoid the death penalty.
Reportedly, the fact that a felon has lied on a clemency application doesn't concern Huckabee;

He [Herzfeld] is fighting clemency for an-other Saline County killer named Denver Dual Witham, who is also serving a life sentence without parole.
___In 1974, Witham and a cousin beat their victim to death out in the woods with a lead pipe – and beat him repeatedly so that the victim's face was smashed almost beyond recognition. "His entire face was gone," the prosecutor says.
___He accuses Witham of lying on his clemency petition to make it seem that he had killed his victim in "a barroom brawl" – as if that had made the crime less awful.
___"He's a liar," Herzfeld says of Witham, who could face perjury charges because of his whitewashed clemency application.
___Herzfeld says Witham, who plays in the prison band, hid five previous felonies from his clemency application and had threatened the previous sheriff.
___"This is the person the governor wants to let out of prison," the prosecutor says. "No word yet on whether the governor will change his mind or go ahead and grant clemency to this convicted murderer who lied on his clemency application and made threats towards former public officials," Herzfeld told us.
___"The governor has to wait 30 days from the date he announced his intent to grant clemency on May 21. My guess is that the governor will release his decision on Witham late this Friday afternoon before the long holiday weekend."


I've no idea what's happening in regards to this case, but I can't imagine what could possibly cause a reasonable Governor of either party to overlook such abuse of process that it could even become an issue. It would not be "could face" but "would face" perjury charges, and I'd take a personal interest in insuring that the inmate's circumstances changed for the worse. I would pretty much assume that response of any governor of any party.

This is apparently a long-running scandal in the Governor home state, but it's apparently news to the GOP leadership, who still apparently distrust that "internet thingie" enough to do a quick Google to find any emergent scandals. Heck, never mind that; his actual positions on the issues contain something to offend just about everyone.

Of course, over at the Daily Kos, devout Democrats hold prayer vigils in hopes of his nomination, observing that a candidate that splits the Republicans between the Religious Right and everyone else AND who has Willie Horton as an invisible running mate is pretty much a free pass for any Democratic candidate with a pulse.

The problem for the GOP is they can't really take down Huckster because most of the things that are so crazy about him actually help him with the evangelical base. Even the rape-murderer he pushed let go can be spun that he thought the guy changed from being 'born again'. Huck's views on AIDS victims being quarantined, and being homosexual means you are a public health risk are of course apalling to us and the majority of Americans, but to the evangelical base, this won't hurt him at all. So now the GOP is left with their establishment candidates, flawed as they are, (Giuliani, Romney, McCain, and Thompson) battling and splitting up the non-evangelical base as Huck takes the lionshare of the evangelical base. It's a recipe for disaster for the GOP. Now with the frontrunner's bullseye on him, story after story will come out in the media of his crazy and kooky views, but those stories won't turn off the evangelical GOP base, just everybody else.
I concur. And my hunch - and that's all that it is, a hunch - is that it may well end up with Ron Paul getting the nomination. Not because of his high positives (I'd call them moderate positives) but because of the overwhelming negatives carried by everyone else. Even those turned off by his anti-war stance may well vote for him rather than giving Hillary (or whoever) a walkover.

Many say (with probable accuracy) that "he can't win the nomination," but I'm starting to think that it's a case where everyone else is going to lose worse.

I swear to Ghu, I do feel for the average, traditional moderate American Conservative, they really must be wondering where their leaders found this pack of jokers. Not one really viable candidate - and I reluctantly include Ron in that; there's no way in any normal election that he'd be getting the attention he's getting.

I'm surprised there isn't a movement underway to impeach the Republican National Committee.

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