The AP examines some of his commutations and pardons, finding he pardoned or commuted twice as many people as his three predecessors…combined.
The case he’s asked about most concerns the parole of a castrated rapist who later killed a woman.
Although the Republican presidential contender and Southern Baptist preacher plays down any personal involvement in that release, Huckabee granted 1,033 pardons and commutations in his 10 1/2 years as governor of Arkansas. The acts of clemency benefited the stepson of a staff member, murderers who worked at the governor’s mansion, a rock star and inmates who received good words from their pastors…
“It seems to be true at least anecdotally that if a minister is involved, (Huckabee) seems likely to grant clemency,” prosecutor Robert Herzfeld said in 2004 after successfully battling the then-governor over the release of a killer.
Whitewater figure David Hale, a government witness in the trial that forced Gov. Jim Guy Tucker’s resignation and let Huckabee ascend to the office, was pardoned after being sentenced to 21 days in a state insurance case. Huckabee complained it would cost too much to hold him. The price tag: $1,200.
Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards received a gubernatorial pardon for a 1975 traffic offense. Huckabee prepared the paperwork to clear the rock star’s good name after he met him at a North Little Rock concert.
He pardoned about one person every four days. Mike Beebe, his successor, has granted a total of 40 this year. Here’s some interesting cases:
James Maxwell, who killed a pastor of the Church of God in Arkansas. Maxwell worked at the Governor’s Mansion when Huckabee announced his intent to reduce his prison sentence.
Samuel W. Taylor, convicted on a drug charge. A prosecutor said the man had told him Taylor’s sister had gone to school with Huckabee. Huckabee said the sister didn’t influence the decision. Taylor subsequently was arrested on another drug charge.
Donald W. Clark, convicted of theft. Huckabee’s pastor recommended leniency for Clark, whose stepmother worked on Huckabee’s gubernatorial staff.
Robert A. Arnold Jr., who was convicted of killing his father-in-law. Arnold’s father, a former mayor of Hope, Huckabee’s hometown, said he was a casual friend of the governor.
A pastor who promoted Huckabee among blacks urged the governor to grant clemency to John Henry Claiborne, who was sentenced to 100 years for a 1994 armed robbery, according to a 2004 report in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Huckabee made Claiborne eligible for parole after receiving a letter from the Rev. Charles Williams, who told the newspaper he had helped win “many, many” clemencies from Huckabee.
That’s a sample. Meanwhile, Huck is busy touting himself as an “authentic conservative” and tough on illegal immigration.