Huckabee Defends Considering Redemption In Clemencies


Members of Rev. Billy Bennett’s family begged then-Ark. Governor Mike Huckabee not to grant clemency to James Maxwell who confessed to murdering Bennett in 1979, NBC News reports. The prosecutor strongly opposed reducing Maxwell’s sentence. Bennett’s wife, Edna, says Huckabee told her that Maxwell, who had worked at the Governors mansion, was a changed man, and had become a Christian. Huckabee commuted Maxwell’s sentence in 2000, noting he’d shown remorse. The parole board later freed him.”

Huckabee, a Republican presidential candidate, granted 1,023 commutations and pardons in 10 years as governor, twice as many as three predecessors combined. Prosecutor Larry Jegly, a Democrat, complains many were violent criminals. Huckabee acknowledged that “redemption” factored into his decisions. He says he is tough on crime, rejected most clemency requests and considered many factors in granting them. The candidate told NBC he looked at “the inmate’s institutional record, a sense of true remorse, and most of all, that there had been many many years passed from the time in which maybe a crime was committed.”


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