Calif. Governor Denies Clemency in First Execution

While taking a tough guy approach to the budget in order to keep his promise to reverse California's fiscal direction, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (search) is proving to be a man of conviction and compassion when it comes to crime and punishment.

Following recommendations from the state's Board of Prison Terms (search), Schwarzenegger has granted parole to eight murderers, all reportedly model prisoners who had been incarcerated for years. Another 15, he decided, should remain behind bars.

Criminal Justice Legal Foundation (search) President Mike Rushford said Schwarzenegger has granted parole in cases in which strong arguments existed to let the prisoners out.

Schwarzenegger, however, is not a softie when it comes to crime. He supports the death penalty and is facing his first state execution scheduled for next week. Amnesty International (search) is pleading for mercy for 18-year death row inmate Kevin Cooper, but the governor has decided to deny clemency, saying the evidence behind his crime — the murder of four people using a hatchet — was "overwhelming."

Click here to watch this fair and balanced report by Fox News' Claudia Cowan.