Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Starting a new blog

I am starting a new blog: The goal of the blog will be to determine who is telling the truth about important controversies of our time. The first post is an abbreviated version of the Mike Huckabee post below. (Abbreviated because not all of the post is appropriate to the new blog.)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Wayne Dumond case: Why Mike Huckabee cannot be believed

Wayne Dumond was a convicted rapist who was paroled while Mike Huckabee was Governor of Arkansas. After he was paroled, Dumond raped and murdered two more women.

Huckabee insists he did not influence the parole board's decision to parole Dumond. Several parole board members insist that he did. The decision to parole Dumond was a disaster, so each party has motive to blame the other. The question becomes -- who is telling the truth? Both sides have a motive to lie -- so the question is not as simple as some news reports make it seem.

What the interested viewer has to do is look at what the various parties did and said at the time. Anything they did or said after Dumond murdered two more women is useless as evidence. But contemporaneous evidence, when neither side had a motive to lie, will allow one to get to the truth of the matter.

In this case, there is plenty of contemporaneous evidence. This evidence proves beyond a reasonable doubt that Huckabee is lying.

So what is the contemporaneous evidence? First of all, in August, 1996, the board voted 4-1 to deny Dumond parole. But after they met with the newly elected Governor Huckabee, they changed their votes to 4-1 in favor. So something caused them to change their minds.

Then, on September 20, Huckabee announced his intention to grant executive clemency. He faced a firestorm of protest from the victim, and from Dumond's other rape victims. Huckabee met with the board in a closed session, and, on January 16, 2007, the board changed its mind and voted 4-1 to grant parole to Dumond.

So, to believe Huckabee's story, one would have to believe all of the following:

(1) The four board members who say Huckabee wanted them to grant parole are lying.
(2) Three board members just happened to change their minds between August and January, without any pressure from the Governor.
(3) Although Huckabee had announced his intention to grant executive clemency, and faced a firestorm of protest over that announcement, and had, by law, to announce whether or not he was going through with clemency by January 20, it is just a coincidence that the Parole Board relieved him of that responsibility by voting to grant parole on January 16.

But that's not all. Shortly before the January 16 meeting, Dumond was transferred to a different prison in the Arkansas system. If that hadn't happened, his case could not have been considered at the January 16 meeting, and Huckabee would have had been forced to make a decision regarding clemency. So was this transfer a mysterious coincidence?

Still not convinced? Huckabee's former top Butch Reeves, who personally attended the fateful Parole Board meeting, has this to say:

The clear impression that I came away with from the meeting was that [Huckabee] favored Dumond's release.

And if you don't want to take the left-wing Huffington Post's word for that, here is a similar account on ABC News.

But wait, there's more. In 2004, after Dumond had been convicted of murder in Missouri, Huckabee announced his intention to grant clemency to convicted murderers Denver Witham, Dennis Lewis, and Glen Martin Green, and Don Jeffers.

So, to the above three points, we have to add three more. If one believes Huckabee's story, one also has to believe that:

(4) The conveniently timed transfer of Dumond to a different prison was just a coincidence.
(5) Either Butch Reeves is a liar, or both ABC News and the Huffington Post are lying about what Reeves said, and
(6) Huckabee, who in 2004 had a habit of trying to get murderers released from prison, didn't try to do the same thing with the Parole Board in 1996-7.

Perhaps that's not enough for you? There is also the fact that contrary to standard Parole Board practice, the Board did not keep notes of the fateful meeting with Huckabee shortly before Dumond's release.

Need more evidence? The Board also had a standard policy of not reconsidering parole denials for at least a year -- but it made an exception in Dumond's case.

Regardless of your political persuasion, if your powers of deductive reasoning have not deserted you, you can only come to one conclusion about the Dumond case: Mike Huckabee did ask the Parole Board to parole Wayne Dumond.

The question then becomes -- is this enough reason to decide that Huckabee should not be our next President? I believe it is. The Dumond case and the 2004 communtation proposals show two things about Huckabee.

(1) Huckabee doesn't know when to refrain from using his power. As Governor, the smart thing to do with a case like Dumond's is to allow the system to do its job. If you have a strong reason to believe the system is doing the wrong thing, you can intervene, but you had better be sure you are correct. If you aren't sure, or can't know one way or the other, you should leave the system alone.

(2) Huckabee is slow to learn from his mistakes. After Dumond was convicted of murder in Missouri, Huckabee should have realized that trying to get rapists and murderers freed from prison was a bad idea. But he went on to try to do the same thing four times in 2004.

Mike Huckabee should not be our next President.