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Huckabee Haunted by Clemency Record:  New York Times writer Kate Zernike reports on former-Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee's decision to grant clemency to Maurice Clemmons nine years ago.  When Huckabee granted clemency he cited Clemmons age - 16 when he began the crime spree for which he was sentenced to more than 100 years in prison - as a reason for the grant.  Yesterday, Clemmons became the prime suspect in the killing of four uniformed police officers on Sunday.  In one decade as governor beginning in 1996, Huckabee granted clemency twice as many times as his three predecessors combined.  Clemmons applied for clemency in 2000, writing to Mr. Huckabee that he had fallen in with a bad crowd, in a bad neighborhood, and "had learned through the 'school of hard knocks' to appreciate and respect the rights of others."  While Huckabee has declined requests for an interview about the matter, a statement from his political action committee's press team stated that should Clemmons be found responsible for the shooting,"it will be a result of a series of failures in the criminal justice system in both Arkansas and Washington State." Another article by the Associated Press can be found here.

"Terror by Trial Lawyer":  Wall Street Journal writer William McGurn opines on the Senate Judiciary Committees decision to hold a hearing on the Notice Pleading Restoration Act of 2009.  Introduced by Arlen Specter (D., Pa.), this bill could undo a recent Supreme Court ruling that gave us this common sense standard: Before you can sue someone, you have to have a plausible claim they did something wrong.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce opposes the bill, saying it would impose a hefty "litigation tax" on American business and encourage frivolous lawsuits.  The bill will also make it easier for a terrorist to sue military and federal law enforcement officers.  That is what Javaid Iqbal, a Pakistani Muslim detained after September 11th tried to do.  He was designated a person of "high interest," and detained under restrictive conditions.  After pleading guilty and serving time, he was released and sent back to Pakistan.  Once free, Iqbal filed a lawsuit against more than three dozen federal officials and corrections officers, including Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller.  The complaint alleged that they had discriminated against him based on race, religion or natural origin.  The Supreme Court ruled that while Iqbal was free to sue those who he says abused him, but he needed to assert a plausible claim with "factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the conduct alleged."  McGurn comments that "this may not sound like much," but is concerned that Senator Spector's bill will impede top U.S. officials' ability to prosecute the war.

War Trauma Becomes Issue in Capital Cases:  New York Times writer Adam Liptak reports on a death penalty lawyer's failure to present evidence of the trauma his client suffered in combat, and the Supreme Court ruling requiring a new sentencing hearing for the man.  The decision, Porter v. McCollum,  makes it clear that lawyers for clients facing the death penalty must present evidence of post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from military service if it is available.  The 15 page unsigned opinion was critical of Porter's attorney, Sam Bardwell.  The Court did not believe that Mr. Bardwell had conducted a "thorough - or even cursory - investigation," and determined his decision not to investigate "did not reflect reasonable professional judgment."

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Regarding the fact that Maurice Clemmons’ original crime spree age (16) was cited by Huckabee to turn him loose to murder four police officers at the age of 37:

This is just one more example to pile on many others* illustrating the flaw in the argument that the Supreme Court should declare unconstitutional Life Without Parole for viciously violent juveniles. If the Supreme Court does so, more innocent people will pay with their lives.


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