Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Tale of Wayne Dumond

Wayne Dumond was convicted in 1985 for the rape of Ashley Stevens. In 1999, he was released after the parole board, under pressure from Huckabee, voted to do so. Two years later he was convicted of murdering a woman, who he also sexually assaulted. Dumond was also a victim of a vigilante attack, having been attacked and castrated after his rape of Stevens.

Now, normally this would just be usual tale of leniency being granted to the wrong person, the kind of thing which is inevitable in the criminal justice system. But Wayne Dumond wasn't just any criminal, he was a minor player in the grand epic of Clinton-era wingnuttery, and a cause célèbre of Freepers, a Village voice writer, authors, and most of all NY Post columnist Steve Dunleavy, who had made Dumond his personal cause and even went as far as claiming that Stevens wasn't raped.

What does all this have to do with Clinton? Well, Stevens is a distant relative of Clinton and this happened in Arkansas and... well, that was about it. Still, by the rules of the time, there must have been some grand conspiracy.

Huckabee has a wee honesty problem:

We note the governor accuses an unnamed "tabloid" of regularly speaking inaccurately of his "pardon" of Wayne Dumond. We know who he's talking about and we have done no such thing. We are well aware that he issued no pardon, but he did pull strings with the parole board to do the deed to let the killer out of prison to kill again. Check our article for yourself here. In this brief book passage, the Huckster also makes it appear that all the parole board members were Democratic appointees, though a a reappointee of his -- a lifelong Democrat who desperately wanted to hang onto the well-paying job -- was a key vote for Dumond's release and others who went with Huckabee would likewise be reappointed by Huckabee. In short, the book blames Dumond's release on Clinton and Tucker, overlooking his own loud and long advocacy of Dumond's cause, including through a right-wing tabloid columnist in New York using Dumond to beat up on Clinton, then popular. Huckabee has always looked good joining a parade. He could tell the truth here and not look so bad.

He could say accurately: He thought a wrong had been done to the castrated Dumond. He backed off executive clemency -- with its immediate release -- in the face of the victim's outcry. But he encouraged a supervised parole because he thought Dumond was rehabilitated and had served long enough. He was wrong in his judgment of the man's character he came to find out. He's sorry.

No breath will be held for this outcome. Indeed, Huckabee's book erroneously says Dumond died in prison in Missouri without having been convicted of another murder and with questions unanswered. But he was convicted of a killing in Missouri, with the help of DNA evidence. He did die before a second similar murder could be pinned to him there but he was the prime suspect.