I don’t find this surprising at all:
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has denied clemency for convicted killer Stanley Tookie Williams, who co-founded the Crips street gang.
Schwarzenegger announced the decision Monday shortly after a federal appeals court refused to block Williams’ scheduled Tuesday execution.
The court made its decision about nine hours before Williams is to receive a lethal injection.
I have a lot of reasons why I dislike and oppose the death penalty, and not one of them has to do with a concern for the fate of guilty men. I dislike the death penalty because it is irreversible, it is arbitrary, it is seemingly enforced in a haphazard manner, it seems to be more about race and class than guilt, it does not seem to prevent crime, and because I see no need to have a system that could kill one innocent man when we could keep them all imprisoned and avoid that risk.
Like I said- my opposition to the death penalty is not based on guilty men dying, and that is what Tookie Williams is. He probably had a hand in far more than just the four murders for which he will be executed, is responsible for who knows how many deaths and how much violence with the formation of the Crips (and some believe he was involved with them well after his incarceration), and I really feel little to no sympathy for him.
I am glad he ‘reformed’ after a while in jail, and I am glad he managed to do a few good things after being sentenced to death for his unspeakable crimes- maybe his God will take that into account tonight. But personally, I have a really hard time getting worked up over this case, and think there are far better cases to champion for those who dislike the death penalty than a multiple murderer who still refuses to admit his own guilt.
*** Update ***
Arnold’s official response is here, and here are some key aspects (.pdf):
he basis of Williams’ clemency request is not innocence. Rather, the basis of the request is the “personal redemption Stanley Williams has experienced and the positive impact of the message he sends.”4 But Williams’ claim of innocence remains a key factor to evaluating his claim of personal redemption. It is impossible to separate Williams’ claim of innocence from his claim of redemption.
Cumulatively, the evidence demonstrating Williams is guilty of these murders is strong and compelling. It includes: (1) eyewitness testimony of Alfred Coward, who was one of Williams’ accomplices in the 7-Eleven shooting; (2) ballistics evidence proving that the shotgun casing found at the scene of the motel murders was fired from Williams’ shotgun; (3) testimony from Samuel Coleman that Williams confessed that he had robbed and killed some people on Vermont Street (where the motel was located); (4) testimony from James and Esther Garrett that Williams admitted to them that he committed both sets of murders; and (5) testimony from jailhouse informant George Oglesby that Williams confessed to the motel murders and conspired with Oglesby to escape from county jail. The trial evidence is bolstered by information from Tony Sims, who has admitted to being
an accomplice in the 7-Eleven murder. Sims did not testify against Williams at trial, but he was later convicted of murder for his role in Albert Owens’ death. During his trial and subsequent parole hearings, Sims has repeatedly stated under oath that Williams was the shooter.
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’ convictions and death sentence. He murdered Albert Owens and Yen-I Yang, Yee-Chen Lin and Tsai-Shai Lin in cold blood in two separate incidents that were just weeks apart.***
Is Williams’ redemption complete and sincere, or is it just a hollow promise? 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. Without an apology and atonement for these senseless and brutal killings there can be no redemption. In this case, the one thing that would be the clearest indication of complete remorse and full redemption is the one thing Williams will not do.
Clemency decisions are always difficult, and this one is no exception. After reviewing and weighing the showing Williams has made in support of his clemency request, there is nothing that compels me to nullify the jury’s decision of guilt and sentence and the many court decisions during the last 24 years upholding the jury’s decision with a grant of clemency.
Therefore, based on the totality of circumstances in this case, Williams’ request for clemency is denied.
Hard to disagree with that.
More reaction from frequent commenter Mr. Furious.