In light of the brouhaha over the Seattle man who allegedly killed four cops after being freed from a 95-year sentence in Arkansas, the governor of Washington said Wednesday that he’s halting the entrance of all convicted criminals paroled from Arkansas.
Gov. Christine Gregoire said that the interstate system must be reviewed carefully to ensure that what happened in the case of Maurice Clemmons never occurs in her state again.
Clemmons, who was shot dead by Seattle Police last week, allegedly ambushed and killed four officers from nearby Lakewood. Then-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee commuted Clemmons’ sentence in 2001, despite the convict’s copious criminal record. Clemmons later returned to prison, but was released again in 2004. When the police shootings occurred last week, Clemmons was a suspect in a child rape case, freed on a 150,000 bond.
"I am so troubled that today I've asked to discontinue, under interstate compact, accepting any individuals from Arkansas until we can have a further review of not only the interstate compact system and whether it's really living up to its responsibilities, but the question of whether Arkansas is living up to its responsibilities, and I have a major questions in my head about that," Gregoire said.
Currently, Washington supervises about 2,500 parolees from other states, including 15 from Arkansas, according to the state Department of Corrections. Roughly 1,000 Washington parolees are supervised by other states under the same agreement.
But Arkansas corrections officials say they followed proper protocol.
"They had the warrants to keep [Clemmons] in jail," said Arkansas corrections spokeswoman Rhonda Stuart. She said, however, that the state would review its policies. "Arkansas reviews every case – not just this tragedy – and will sit down and try to determine where improvements can be made."