Apparently the man suspected of executing four police officers in Washington State would be in prison in Arkansas today were it not for the fact that former governor Mike Huckabee granted him clemency back in 2000. That probably spells trouble for a guy who seems to still have political aspirations. But based on the few facts I have available, this looks like a reasonable use of clemency authority:
In 1990, Clemmons, then 18, was sentenced in Arkansas to 60 years in prison for burglary and theft of property, according to a news account. Newspaper stories describe a series of disturbing incidents involving Clemmons while he was being tried in Arkansas on various charges. [...]
When Clemmons received the 60-year sentence, he was already serving 48 years on five felony convictions and facing up to 95 more years on charges of robbery, theft of property and possessing a handgun on school property. Records from Clemmons’ sentencing described him as 5-foot-7 and 108 pounds. The crimes were committed when he was 17.
60 years for burglary and theft for an eighteen year-old seems incredibly excessive. In this case, of course, you can’t help but wish he were in fact still in prison. But it’s hard to see what about a record of involvement in burglaries would make you think this was a guy at risk of doing something like this.