Tag Archives: Maurice Clemmons

I Couldn’t Make This Stuff Up

And I assure you, I have a vivid imagination.

State of Washington Department of Corrections has lost an Arkansas felon. Sean Robinson, writing at the Tacoma News Tribune, fills us in on the details.

He’s William T. Forbes, one of 14 Arkansas parolees Washington is required to supervise under the terms of an interstate agreement.

Forbes is a fugitive – the only wayward parolee in the Arkansas group. His whereabouts are unknown; last known address in Moses Lake. An active warrant, valid anywhere in the country, calls for his arrest.

The Arkansas offenders, including Forbes, represent a sliver of the total; Washington supervises 2,393 out-of-state offenders, according to records from the state Department of Corrections.

It’s unclear how many of those offenders have violated the terms of their parole or absconded from supervision. The News Tribune recently requested a state-by-state breakdown from the Department of Corrections, with particular emphasis on Arkansas.

I especially love this part:

The numbers also reveal an apparent trade deficit. Washington’s exported offenders number 1,046 – less than half as many as the 2,393 the state received from elsewhere.

Corrections officials cite multiple reasons for the disparity.

“Offenders – like a lot of people across the country – are attracted to Washington’s quality of life,” said DOC spokeswoman Maria Peterson.

Other factors revolve around differences in state corrections law, officials say. Washington’s community supervision system differs from other states’, many of which use more traditional parole and probation systems. Some Washington offenders are from Washington originally, and have convictions here as well as elsewhere, Peterson said. She added that the interstate agreements governing offender supervision are not designed to create a 1-to-1 ratio among all states.

Right…our “community supervision system” differs from other states. I wonder if that isn’t some sort of code for “we just sort of shoo them out the door and hope they report in once in a while.”

Meanwhile, Governor Gregoire’s moratorium on accepting parolees from Arkansas is still in effect; smoke and mirrors of little substance that does little to protect the public, designed primarily to deflect attention away from her own abysmal record on public safety.

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Christine Gregoire. Glass House. Throwing Stones.

Scott St. Clair at Evergreen Freedom Foundation reports on bungled paperwork that may have contributed to Maurice Clemmons being released from jail a week prior to gunning down four Lakewood police officers.

Christine Gregoire’s Department of Corrections appears to be in a state of some disarray, putting her in no position to throw stones. Yet throw stones she did. It’s actually rather embarrassing to live in a state where the citizens would re-elect someone as incompetent as Gregoire.

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Gregoire’s Political Posturing Over Lakewood Shootings

An unfortunate series of break downs in the criminal justice systems in both Washington and Arkansas culminated in the execution of four Lakewood Police Officers by habitual criminal Maurice Clemmons. Governor Christine Gregoire response was to direct “state Corrections Chief Eldon Vail not to accept any new parolees from Arkansas until matters arising from the Maurice Clemmons case have been addressed and resolved,” in order tomake sure that the system is appropriate to protect Washington residents.”

That’s quite a load of holier-than-thou attitude, but I guess I should just be thankful she’s finally taking an interest, given that Washington’s Department of Corrections has such a dismal track record under her leadership.

Consider:

In August of 2006, a Seattle Police Officer was killed; in November of the same year, another Seattle Officer and a King County Sheriff’s deputy were killed, all by parolees living under State supervision who had violated the terms of their parole.

Then, just a few months later, in February of 2007, 83 felons were released from King County jails, before an administrative-hearing officer could rule on how they should be punished for violating the terms of their parole – what is called a conditional release.

DOC spokesman Gary Larson defended the Friday releases, saying the agency had exceeded the number of inmates in the release program who could be housed at the downtown Seattle jail and the Regional Justice Center Jail in Kent.

In its contract with King County, DOC pays for 220 jail beds, Hayes said. The jail system housed 304 DOC inmates last week.

Larson said DOC reviewed each felon’s case before the release.

“We feel we are making responsible decisions. We didn’t just say ‘you, you and you are free,’ ” Larson said. “We had no choice but to do something about the situation in the jail. We couldn’t put any more violators in there.”

Among those released were Jordan Kingbird, 34, a Level III sex offender whose criminal history includes rape, drug possession, theft and four counts of failing to register as a sex offender.

Level III sex offenders are those considered to be a potential high risk to the community and a threat to re-offend if provided the opportunity. The DOC said other Level III sex offenders were also among those released, but a spokesman said he didn’t have further details.

As a result of that incident, Gregoire ordered that the DOC stop the conditional release of felons; however just two weeks later, the DOC had reinstated the practice.

In a memo to the DOC after the Feb. 23 releases, the governor ordered the agency to stop all conditional releases. Gregoire said that when offenders are returned to prison because of a violation, “the offender must serve the full term of custody. Anything less sends the wrong message to the violator and threatens public safety.”

But Gregoire said Tuesday that her concern was conditional releases done solely because of overcrowding.

“My point to them was you can’t let people out simply because there’s no room at the inn,” she said.

I wonder if Gregoire was able to deliver that little bit of excuse making with a straight face. More importantly, I wonder if she felt that the conditional release of felons was “appropriate to protect Washington residents.”

And who can forget the bizarre story of David Torrence, who, upon release from prison, was fitted with an electronic tracking device and, because of a lack of appropriate housing, was given a sleeping bag and told to sleep under a bridge near the town of Snohomish. Five miles from the home of the woman he was convicted of raping in 1995. That would be the woman who wasn’t notified of his release from prison, because forewarned is forearmed ignorance is bliss, right?

After only three days, Torrence cut off his tracking device and fled the state – in what is one of the most ironic twists imaginable – to Arkansas. He eventually turned himself in and returned to Washington to serve another year for violating the terms of his parole. Then, doubling down on the irony:

A sex offender who was allowed to live under a Snohomish County bridge when he could not find housing has been sentenced to a year in jail and given other terms that will allow him to move to Arkansas.

I couldn’t determine Terrence’s current whereabouts with any degree of certainty. I did find this information on the King County Sheriff’s Department website. As you can see, he’s “non-compliant” and his location is unknown. I hope the women in Arkansas are locking their doors.

Gregoire’s statement is brazenly hypocritical, intended to focus the blame on Arkansas, as if her administration and her Department of Corrections hadn’t granted early releases to thousands of felons and had a spotless record with regard to parolees and public safety. Arkansas’s parolees are the least of our worries.

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Mike Huckabee’s Having A Dukakis Kind Of Day

I wonder if Mike Huckabee’s conscience is bothering him tonight.*

Maurice Clemmons, the 37-year-old Tacoma man being sought for questioning in the killing of four Lakewood police officers this morning, has a long criminal record punctuated by violence, erratic behavior and concerns about his mental health.

Nine years ago, then-Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee granted clemency to Clemmons, commuting his lengthy prison sentence over the protests of prosecutors.

“This is the day I’ve been dreading for a long time,” Larry Jegley, prosecuting attorney for Arkansas’ Pulaski County said Sunday night when informed that Clemmons was being sought in connection to the killings.

More on Huckabee’s cavalier use of his pardon power while governor can be found at Ace of Spades HQ.

While there’s no possible way to justify Huckabee’s actions and it’s tempting to place all the blame on him, it looks as though there’s plenty of of opportunity for some finger pointing here in Washington, too.

Clemmons had been in jail in Pierce County for the past several months on a pending charge of second-degree rape of a child.

He was released [on bail] just six days ago, even though he was wanted on a fugitive warrant out of Arkansas and was staring at eight felony charges in all out of Washington state.

snip…

He was married, but the relationship was tumultuous, with accounts of his unpredictable behavior leading to at least two confrontations with police earlier this year.

During the confrontation in May, Clemmons punched a sheriff’s deputy in the face, according to court records. As part of that incident, he was charged with seven counts of assault and malicious mischief.

In another instance, Clemmons was accused of gathering his wife and young relatives around at 3 or 4 in the morning and having them all undress. He told them that families need to “be naked for at least 5 minutes on Sunday,” a Pierce County sheriff’s report says.

It’s a crazy world if our criminal justice system can’t protect us even from people as clearly dangerous as Clemmons.

More at The Other McCain, where you’ll also find details on how to contribute to the slain officers’ memorial fund.

Via @redhk

*Update: Apparently The Huckster’s conscience was bothering him, as he was compelled to release this disingenuous statement regarding his role non-role in Clemmons’ release from prison.

He was recommended for and received a commutation of his original sentence from 1990, this commutation made him parole eligible and he was then paroled by the parole board once they determined he met the conditions at that time.

A real man might have written, “He was recommended for a commutation of his original sentence, which I granted,” not, “He was recommended for and received a commutation…” as though it was some sort of magical process over which he had no control.

It’s hard to fault a man for showing mercy but  for public officials there are limits to compassion. Huckabee should man up and accept his share of responsibility.

The Other McCain has more about what motivated Huckabee.

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