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December 3, 2009 at 3:59 PM

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Mike Huckabee and the criminal-justice system

Posted by Letters Editor

Released prisoners should shack up with the parole board

The tragic death of four Lakewood police officers is exacerbated by the early release of the alleged murderer [“Persuasive appeal helped Clemmons win clemency,” News, Dec. 1].

Doubtless some prisoners truly rue their crimes, and are ready to rejoin society.

But let’s envision a system where parole board members take direct responsibility for any person to whom they give early release. Let’s have the released prisoner live in a parole board member’s home for the first month.

Would a parole board member with children be willing to have a released pedophile or rapist living in their home? Let them visibly demonstrate their belief in the reformation of a prisoner. If not, then why are these boards releasing such people early to prey on society again?

And let’s not forget defense lawyers through a similar program. If their client gets off on a serious charge, let the client live in the lawyer’s house for a while. We might see the conviction rate of dangerous people increase, instead of them getting off on legal technicalities dredged up by the defense.

— Roel Hurkens, Victoria, B.C.

Voters should hold local judge accountable

While I think former Gov. Mike Huckabee should be held accountable, what about the local judge who overruled another judge’s determination not to grant bail and granted Maurice Clemmons the ability to go out and murder [“Person of interest let out of Pierce County Jail one week ago,” page one, Nov. 30]?

The state judiciary is allowed to hide behind sentencing guidelines instead of them determining the sentencing, thus making them accountable to no one. Here is a perfect example of why they should be held accountable. The decision this judge made had serious consequences to the detriment of four officers, their families and their community.

Who will hold them accountable? The voters. The voters should know who this judge is so if the electorate chooses, he can be fired.

There was every reason to deny bail to Clemmons: He was a three-striker, he demonstrated violence toward police and family members (i.e. sexual assault) and he had violent and unpredictable outbursts.

Arkansas blew it and the Washington state judiciary system blew it.

— Sam Granato, Yakima

Blame resides right here, in Washington state

Let’s talk about the Washington criminal-justice system, or the lack of it.

I am shocked The Seattle Times is talking more about the Arkansas parole granted to Maurice Clemmons than it is about Washington state’s failures. He was released from custody here just days ago.

He was released from custody here despite an outstanding fugitive felony warrant from Arkansas. He was released from custody here despite seven additional felony charges in Washington state. He was facing a child-rape charge committed against a 12-year-old relative. He was facing a life sentence in this state’s three-strikes law if convicted of the child-rape charge.

Why is our state granting bail to a person charged with child rape? Who was the judge who granted this bail after it was previously denied by another judge?

The ultimate blame here is not with Arkansas or former Gov. Mike Huckabee. It is with our own Washington state judicial system. Let’s place the blame where it belongs. Clemmons was being held in our system on eight felony charges.

— Ronald Czarnecki, Everett

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