Monday, December 12, 2005

Stanley Tookie Williams Denied Clemency by California Governor

Editor's Note: The racist death penalty claims another life despite the enormous evidence that Williams was not responsible for the murders he was convicted of carrying out. American society and political economy are no strangers to the murder of African people. What they have done to Tookie follows the centuries-old legacy of genocide and slavery.

The real redemption now is not for the tormented and oppressed but for the executioners who will face the ultimate wrath of historical judgement.

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Stanley Tookie Williams' lawyers file last-ditch appeal

Schwarzenegger denies clemency for former gang leader

SACRAMENTO, California (CNN) -- Hours after California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger denied clemency Monday for convicted killer Stanley Tookie Williams, lawyers for the Crips street gang co-founder filed a last-ditch appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court for a stay of execution.

Unless the Supreme Court intervenes, Williams is scheduled to die by injection at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday (3:01 a.m. ET) at San Quentin State Prison, near San Francisco.

Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, who met with Williams earlier in the day, criticized Schwarzenegger for deciding not to spare Williams.

Jackson said Williams, who was convicted of killing four people in two 1979 robberies in Los Angeles, had earned clemency and that Schwarzenegger's decision was about "making politicians look tough, but that does not make it right."

Schwarzenegger announced his decision not to commute Williams' sentence to life in prison without parole shortly after a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in San Francisco, rejected an affidavit from the convict's lawyers that suggested someone framed the onetime Los Angeles gang leader.

California's Supreme Court rejected an emergency request to stay the execution on Sunday. The state has executed only 11 inmates since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.

In their appeal to the 9th Circuit, attorneys pinned their hopes on the declaration of a new witness -- Gordon Bradbury von Ellerman -- a jail trusty detained with Williams in the Los Angeles County Jail from 1979 to 1980.

In the affidavit, von Ellerman said he was the cellmate of another trusty, identified as George "Roger" Oglesby.

Von Ellerman said Los Angeles Sheriff's Department personnel provided Oglesby with documents to aid him in testifying against Williams in return for reduced or dropped charges.

"I was personally aware that Los Angeles Sheriff's Department personnel would often provide information to these inmates so that they could help frame defendants for crimes," he said in the statement.

A statement from Schwarzenegger read: "The possible irregularities in Williams' trial have been thoroughly and carefully reviewed by the courts, and there is no reason to disturb the judicial decisions that uphold the jury's decisions that he is guilty of these four murders and should pay with his life."

Williams, who would be 52 on December 29, spent part of Monday with his attorneys and family members at San Quentin.

While in prison, Williams became an anti-gang crusader, but he has consistently refused to take part in a debriefing with authorities to provide them potentially valuable information about the Crips gangs, said lead prosecutor John Monaghan.

Williams has denounced gang violence and written children's books with an anti-gang message, donating the proceeds to anti-gang community groups.

He said he was trying to prevent young people from making the choices he did, which led to a life of crime and a death sentence.

Celebrities, teachers and anti-death penalty advocates have spoken on Williams' behalf, but Schwarzenegger questioned the sincerity of Williams' conversion to nonviolence.

"Stanley Williams insists he is innocent, and that he will not and should not apologize or otherwise atone for the murders of the four victims in this case," the governor wrote.

"Without an apology and atonement for these senseless and brutal killings, there can be no redemption."

A jury convicted Williams of killing a 26-year-old Los Angeles convenience store clerk in February 1979, shooting him twice in the back with a 12-gauge shotgun while the victim was face down on the floor.

The jury also convicted him of shooting and killing an immigrant Chinese couple and their 41-year-old daughter less than two weeks later while stealing less than $100 cash from their motel.
Both cases were handled in a single trial. Williams was sentenced to death in 1981.

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US ex-gang boss denied clemency The case has generated widespread debate in the US

BBC News

The governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, has denied clemency to former Crips gang leader Stanley "Tookie" Williams.

Barring a last-minute intervention by federal courts, Williams, 51, will be executed on Tuesday.
Earlier on Monday, California's Supreme Court and a federal appeals court both refused a stay of execution.

A high-profile campaign with celebrity backing has fought to save Williams, who denies four murders in 1979.

"After studying the evidence, searching the history, listening to the arguments and wrestling with the profound consequences, I could find no justification for granting clemency," Mr Schwarzenegger said.

"Stanley Williams insists he is innocent, and that he will not and should not apologise or otherwise atone for the murders of the four victims in this case. Without apology and atonement for these senseless and brutal killings, there can be no redemption," he said.

"Based on the cumulative weight of the evidence, there is no reason to second-guess the jury's decision of guilt or raise significant doubts or serious reservations about Williams' conviction and death sentence," the governor added.

Mr Schwarzenegger could have commuted the death sentence to life in prison without parole.
The California National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said it was saddened by the governor's decision.

"We believe this is a serious blow to our effort to fight gangs," its president, Alice Huffman, said.


Correspondents say a reprieve from the federal courts is considered unlikely.

Williams, co-founder of the notorious gang, is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection at 0001 (0801 GMT) at San Quentin prison, north of San Francisco. Local authorities are planning to tighten security outside the prison, where hundreds of protesters are expected.

During his 24 years in jail, Williams has won praise for his anti-gang books, earning Nobel Peace Prize nominations for his teachings.

His high-profile supporters have included Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx, rap star Snoop Dogg - himself a former Crips member- Bishop Desmond Tutu and the Reverend Jesse Jackson.

However, the relatives of some of his victims have insisted he does not deserve clemency because he has not owned up to his crimes and refused to inform on fellow gang members.

Tookie Williams case: Your views

BBC News

Should the former gang leader Tookie Williams be executed?

California’s Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger has denied clemency to former gang leader Stanley "Tookie" Williams.

This comes after California's Supreme Court and a federal appeals court both refused a stay of execution.

A co-founder of the notorious Crips street gang, Williams denies murdering four people in 1979.
He is scheduled to be executed on Tuesday at 0001 (0801 GMT) at San Quentin prison, near San Francisco.

Should Tookie Williams be executed? Or is use of the death penalty never acceptable? Send us your comments.

Published: Monday, 12 December, 2005, 21:20 GMT 21:20 UK

Added: Monday, 12 December, 2005, 21:59 GMT 21:59 UK

"Tookie" Williams clearly has reformed himself and his previous activies and had a positive influence on local community and is more of a positive force on the streets of California than not only his former self, but also more than most average citizens. If the death penalty is intend to remove those from society who are dangerous, it shouldn't take the life of such a postive figure of reform and hope.
John Cook, Winfield, Kansas

Added: Monday, 12 December, 2005, 21:53 GMT 21:53 UK

What's the point in killing Tookie? He's already been there for 24 years! The State has already taken his life. They're not gaining anything by killing him. What they're doing is sending a message to every poor black kid in California that it doesn't matter what they do; they can't change their circumstances.
Julia, Ann Arbor

Added: Monday, 12 December, 2005, 21:52 GMT 21:52 UK

I am disgusted by this. It has been two decades since tookie was sentanced to die. He has made positive contributions towards the stream of life since then. What will anyone get from his death? What is to be lost by him being allowed to live? I feel heart-broken to live in such an unprogressive nation.
James Smith, Austin Texas

Added: Monday, 12 December, 2005, 21:51 GMT 21:51 UK

The death sentence is barbaric in principle, irrespective of the circumstances surrounding this man.
Misc, New York

Added: Monday, 12 December, 2005, 21:51 GMT 21:51 UK

I am against the death penalty. In recent years there have been some positive developments which may lead to the curtailment and someday complete demise of this punishment in the US. I am not sure that this is such a good case to win the hearts and minds of the public, however, who still have to be careful what colours they wear for fear of being shot dead on a busy street by the gangs he once inspired.
Mr Fox, San Francisco

Added: Monday, 12 December, 2005, 21:51 GMT 21:51 UK

I think the use of the death penalty as a punishment is completely wrong, and for one thing the death penalty is by far the easy way out in comparison with solitary confinement for the rest of a prisoner’s natural life. It should also be mentioned what kind of message does it send to a society that two wrong makes a write. Also I think it should be said it was my understanding that it actually is more costly to the tax payer to put someone to death than it would to put them in prison for there entire life.
James Gawn, Swansea, United Kingdom

Added: Monday, 12 December, 2005, 21:51 GMT 21:51 UK

I don't think Tookie Williams deserves to die. Common after winning the Noble Peace Award. I believe that should prove that this man is no longer a killer even if he was a killer. Everybody deserves a second chance. I have read one of Mr. Williams book and it was truely motivating. You would never believe if you were told that book was written by a murderer. I think Arnold should read one of his books.
Ben, Greenbelt

Added: Monday, 12 December, 2005, 21:51 GMT 21:51 UK

He was a criminal, he does not deny it. He has repented, spoken out against street gangs, and was nominated for the nobel, but still the lawmakers want to kill him, to what end? to whose good? Arnies votes maybe?
Jay, malaga

Added: Monday, 12 December, 2005, 21:50 GMT 21:50 UK

It is a shame that the United States is demonstrating its power in unnecessary ways once again. Surely we have learned throughout the centuries that the execution of one man never stops the next man from killing. Many men live their lives on death row doing nothing. Unlike them, Mr. Williams has tried to deter teens from joining gangs. I remember my life very well in the southside of LA. Mr. Swazzenaggor needs a reality check to know how miserable life is over there. If black male teens in the hoods of the U.S. had more of a chance we wouldn't be in this mess;nope we'd rather spend billions on a useless war.
Megan, Niagara on the Lake

Added: Monday, 12 December, 2005, 21:50 GMT 21:50 UK

No, Mr. Williams should not be executed.Capital punishment is something we need to outgrow. Violence only begets more violence.This is also true of torture.
Lyle D. Linder, Franklin NY

Added: Monday, 12 December, 2005, 21:49 GMT 21:49 UK

Such a tough subject, full of differing emotions amongst different people. I'm generally in favour of the death penalty, but there are always exceptions. However, many who would be facing their maker, so to speak, probably would clean up their act....I just don't have a black and white view. Until you suffer personally from the murder of a loved one, or have a loved one on death row, it's hard to make the call!
Barbara Whitlock, Winchester Virginia, USA

Added: Monday, 12 December, 2005, 21:49 GMT
21:49 UK

Mr. Williams should be executed for the crimes that he committed. He was tried and convicted by due process and under law. It is good that he has turned his life around. His change should help him through his last hours. If there is an after life it might stand him in good stead.
Al Connelly, Ringwood

Added: Monday, 12 December, 2005, 21:47 GMT 21:47 UK

He should be punished for what he did and if that includes losing his life then so be it. He should have considered the four lives he took from this world.
Susan Pulliam, Greensboro

Added: Monday, 12 December, 2005, 21:46 GMT 21:46 UK

I feel that the death penalty should be only used with serious consideration and when there is no doubt (beyond the 'reasonable' doubt) of the crime.That said, this man has brought tremendous pain to so many families as a co-founder of a violent street gang. The fact that he has reformed and renounced the gang world is a good and admirable thing but does not wipe the slate clean.I am not a fan of the Governator, and see the irony in his having to make a decision about gun violence, but agree with his decision.
Paul Mahood, New York City, United States

Added: Monday, 12 December, 2005, 21:45 GMT 21:45 UK

I was heartbroken to hear that Williams won't recieve clemency. What is the role of clemency if even a man like Williams, who underwent a debateable trial, who turned around to help the society he left behind, and who has such overwhelming support from the country and the world, cannot possibly recieve it. There is no debate about his violent past, but who is the government of California to take a life?

Kesey, Toronto

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