The broader lesson here is that governors and presidents generally should leave clemency decisions for violent offenders to trained parole boards. Sure, there is good reason for giving chief clemency powers to chief executives ... But murderers and rapists are a different matter. A single executive, with hundreds of other responsibilities, is unlikely to be familiar enough with each case and each personality to determine if an individual convict is a threat to strike again. If a judge and jury, upon due consideration, imposed a certain sentence on a violent criminal and an expert parole board has not seen fit to reduce the sentence, a governor or president treads on thin ice in overruling them. It's an injustice that four officers of the peace had to die to teach Mr. Huckabee that lesson.First, Mr. Clemmons was not a "murderer" or "rapist" when Gov. Huckabee commuted his sentence to make him eligible for parole. Second, Huckabee's commutation was in fact recommended to him by a unanimous vote of a parole board. Third, a parole board (not Huckabee) then granted parole, allowing directly for Clemmons' release.
In sum, the Washington Times is altogether clueless when it suggests Huckabee had anything at all to learn along the lines suggested in the editorial. Indeed, had he needed any such lesson, he would have simply PARDONED Clemmons on the spot and set him free. But he did not do that. He trusted the parole board to make the best decision - since it had more and better information - regarding parole for Mr. Clemmons.
And that is why we say this: No mercy for the blockhead who wrote this editorial.