Ex-convict Maurice Clemmons was shot dead on Tuesday morning around 2:45 am. Clemmons was the main subject in the investigation of the killings of four Washington police officers. Clemmons opened fire in a local coffee shop killing the police officers who were catching up on paperwork. One of the male officers was able to shoot Clemmons in the abdomen before being shot himself. The most interesting fact about all of these unfortunate events is that Clemmons has a disturbing rap sheet and was once sentenced to a 108-year sentence.
Clemmons’ criminal history included at least five felony convictions in Arkansas and at least eight felony charges in Washington. He had a lengthy prison sentence altered in 2000 by former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who cited Clemmons’ youth. Governor Huckabee commuted Clemmons’ 108-year prison term to a sentence of 47 years, five months and 19 days. Huckabee’s commutation allowed Clemmons to be eligible for parole. Clemmons later violated his parole and was placed back into prison until his release date in 2004.
Clemmons was released from jail in Washington just seven days before his slaying of the innocent officers. Clemmons had been jailed in Pierce County on a pending charge of second-degree rape of a child. In 1989, Clemmons, then 18, was convicted for aggravated robbery, burglary, robbery and two counts of theft of property in the state of Arkansas. A year later, he was convicted of burglary, theft of property and possession of a firearm. Clemmons also had at least two confrontations with police earlier this year. Clemmons punched a sheriff’s deputy in the face and was charged with seven counts of assault and malicious mischief.
The thought that all of these events would not have occurred if he would have been forced to serve his 108-year sentence is disturbing. How many convicts have been able to be released back into streets? How would society really know who to trust in this case? Once again, the justice system has failed us.
Mike Huckabee was a presidential candidate for the 2008 elections and could possibly try again in the next election. Huckabee’s decision to release Clemmons on parole could definitely be bad publicity for him in a crucial time.