Joe Conason adds some more background to Mike Huckabee’s pardon habits:
Huckabee has proudly declared on many occasions that he disdains the separation of church and state, insisting that his strict Baptist piety should serve as the bedrock of public policy. Nowhere in his record as governor was the influence of religious zeal felt more heavily than in the distribution of pardons and commutations, as his own explanations have indicated. During those years he granted more commutations and pardons than any governor during the previous four decades, many of them surely justified as a response to excessive penalties under the state’s draconian narcotics laws. But others were deeply controversial, especially because so many of his acts of mercy appeared to depend on interventions by fellow Baptist preachers and by inmate professions of renewed Christian faith.
Yet Mike Huckabee chose to execute Frankie Parker sooner, because Frankie Parker made the mistake of converting to the wrong religion.
I think it is important to call the public’s attention to Frankie Parker’s story. One might assume Gov. Huckabee was just gullible, or soft. But the way he handled Frankie Parker’s request for commutation reveals something much more sinister about the governor — that he had no compunction about exercising the worst kind of religious favoritism.
If Huckabee had simply not intervened in Parker’s sentence and allowed the execution to go ahead as scheduled, it wouldn’t have been so blatant. But Huckabee took the trouble to make the execution date six weeks sooner. And he did this even as Mother Teresa and many Buddhist monks and priests, including the Dalai Lama, wrote requesting that Parker’s sentence be commuted. I think that says something really ugly about Mike Huckabee.