Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Mike Huckabee's history of caving to right-wing extremists cause for extreme concern

Before you jump onto the Mike Huckabee bandwagon, make sure you look at the complete history of this Arkansas governor. CBS News reports that Huckabee actively intervened in the parole hearings of a convicted rapist to release the man. The man went on to rape and murder another woman. Huckabee's reason for releasing the man: just as Bill Clinton was rising to national prominence, right-wing journalists and talk show hosts claimed the man was "railroaded" because he had raped a distant cousin of Clinton's, and the cousin was not "believable." This, despite mountains of evidence against the man.

From CBS:
In 1985, [Wayne] DuMond was convicted of the rape of a 17-year-old girl with a connection to then-Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton: She was the governor's distant cousin and the daughter of a major campaign contributor.

As Clinton rose to national prominence, the case came to the attention of his critics. Journalists and talk show hosts questioned the victim's story and suggested that DuMond had been railroaded by the former governor. Steve Dunleavy, a New York Post columnist, took up the case as a cause, calling DuMond’s conviction "a travesty of justice."

The story also came with a tabloid-ready twist: DuMond said that while awaiting trial, masked men broke into his house and castrated him. Though there were doubts about the story, it engendered sympathy for DuMond among Clinton foes.

DuMond's sentence had been set at life in prison, plus 20 years. In 1992, Clinton's successor in the Arkansas governor's mansion, Jim Guy Tucker, reduced that sentence to 39 years, making DuMond eligible for parole.

When Huckabee became governor in 1996, he expressed doubts about DuMond's guilt and said he was considering commuting his sentence to time served. After the victim and her supporters protested, Huckabee decided against commutation. But in 1997, according to the Kansas City Star, Huckabee wrote a letter to DuMond saying "my desire is that you be released from prison." Less than a year later, DuMond was granted parole.
So Huckabee takes an active role to set Dumond free, despite warning from his victims that he would rape and do much worse again. From the Arkansas Times:
Only six weeks after Dumond moved to Missouri, Carol Sue Shields, of Parkville, Mo., was found murdered in a friend’s home. She had been sexually assaulted and suffocated.

In late June 2001, Missouri authorities charged Dumond with the first-degree murder of Shields. The Clay County, Mo., prosecutor’s office asserted that skin found under Shield’s fingernails, the result of an apparent struggle with her murderer, contained DNA that matched Dumond’s.

Missouri authorities also say that Dumond is the leading suspect in the rape and murder of a second woman, Sara Andrasek, of Platte County, Mo., though he has not yet been charged with that crime.

Andrasek was 23. Like Shields, Andrasek had her brassiere cut from her body; Dumond cut Stevens’ bra off before he raped her.

“It’s as if he wanted to leave us his calling card,” a Missouri law enforcement officer said.
When asked about this case today, Huckabee denies taking part in Dumond's release, claiming former Gov. Jim Guy Tucker made Dumond eligible for parole and saying the Post Prison Transfer Board made the decision on its own to free Dumond.

However, from that same Arkansas Times article:
“I signed the [parole] papers because the governor wanted Dumond paroled. I was thinking the governor was working for the best interests of the state.”
—Ermer Pondexter, ex-member of the board of pardons and parole

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