Friday, December 09, 2005

Arnie, we used to love you, can you please save Tookie?

[Ed note: Remember when we used to love "Ahnold"? Back in the days of "The Terminator", "Conan The Barbarian", "Commando", "Predator", "True Lies" and a bunch of other flicks? He was Da Man, and the manlies man we knew. It's a shame he's sold out to big-business and habitually lies to the press about it, and it's a shame he's no longer a man of the people. However, even if it's a good PR-move, this would be a chance to redeem himself in our eyes. I'm quite shocked and pleased this case has gained this much attention and have a hip hop activist friend working quite hard to raise awareness of it, but it all boils down to one man having the power to spare the life of another after 25 years on death row. I hope he makes the right call here, I miss liking Arnie, and even though he'll be a bastard next week, for one day I'd like to cheer for him again...]

Demonstrators calling for California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to grant clemency to convicted killer Stanley Tookie Williams rally at the California State Capitol in Sacramento, California December 8, 2005. (Lou Dematteis/Reuters)

Yahoo! News

Schwarzenegger ponders high-profile death row case

By Adam Tanner Fri Dec 9, 4:05 AM ET

SACRAMENTO (Reuters) - California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger could decide as early as Friday whether to spare the life of Stanley Tookie Williams, the former Crips gang leader set to be executed by lethal injection next week.

Schwarzenegger heard from defense lawyers and the prosecution in a closed-door clemency hearing on Thursday. Aides said he will resolve whether to impose a lesser sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole by Monday, the day before the scheduled execution.

Williams has won celebrity supporters and a well-organized publicity campaign after writing a series of books urging youth to avoid following his footsteps and getting involved with violent gangs like the Crips.

"My hope lies in God above anything and everything else," Williams told Reuters in an interview at San Quentin State Prison last month. "I have faith and if it doesn't go my way, it doesn't go my way."

"I am not the kind of person to sit around and worry about being executed," he said. "I'm sure there are detractors who would like to hear that I am weeping. ... I fear nothing except God."

The core issue of this clemency is whether a murderer can earn redemption in the eyes of society for his actions after the crime. U.S. governors typically stay executions because of doubts over evidence in the case or fairness of the trial rather than because of perceived redemption.

Prosecutors say Williams acted especially brutally in the 1979 murders in which he killed a shop clerk and a family running a motel in robberies for small amounts of money. They also condemn his role with the Crips, a gang that now has thousands of members nationwide.

"Mr. Williams wants out of prison. This has nothing to do with redemption," said John Monaghan, assistant head deputy district attorney in Los Angeles.

Williams maintains that he did not commit the murders and was targeted because of his gang activities, which he has since renounced. Supporters say he is of much more value to society alive than dead because he can continue to warn young people about the dangers of gangs.

If his life is spared, Williams would be moved from death row at San Quentin, north of San Francisco, perhaps to a more remote state prison.

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