Huckabee: 'I looked at every case file' in Clemmons case

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's has received much criticism for his decision to commute the sentence of a suspected police killer, but he took responsibility for his choice Monday night.

Huckabee -- who sought the GOP presidential nomination in 2008 -- told Fox News' Bill O'Reilly that he carefully reviewed the case file of 37-year-old Maurice Clemmons, who was shot and killed by police in Seattle early Tuesday morning. Huckabee did not place sole blame on the state parole board, who recommended that his sentence be commuted.

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"I looked at every case file, and I had about 1,200 of these a year. This is what people need to understand. 92% of the time, they were denied. But in this case, the judge in the case was also recommending, and the parole board -- on a 5-0 vote -- because at the age of 16, the sentence he got for the crimes he committed back in 1989 was excessive for anything else," Huckabee said on "The O'Reilly Factor."

Huckabee -- who is a potential 2012 presidential candidate -- granted Clemmons clemency in 2000 despite the fact he had five felony convictions on his record at the time. Clemmons had served over 10 years in jail of a 95-year sentence for various felony convictions. Clemmons was 18-years-old in 1990, when he was sentenced.

Clemmons later was charged with seven felonies in Washington state before he allegedly shot and killed four police officers on Sunday.

Debate about Huckabee's political future swirled yesterday after it was revealed that he played a major role in the release of Clemmons. On Sunday before speaking publicly about the shooting, Huckabee said it's "less likely than more likely" he'll run for president in 2012.


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