Schwarznegger Considering Clemency for Tookie Williams

Bump and Update: I'll be arguing to save Tookie's life on Los Angeles KKLA radio station (99.5 FM)tonight at 9:00 pm PT. You can listen live online here. It's a Christian radio network -- you would think that if they really believed in choosing life, they would oppose the death penalty, but apparently the show's host, who I'll be sparring with, does not.


A positive sign today for Stanley "Tookie" Williams -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is considering his clemency petition and will meet with Tookie's lawyers on December 8, five days before his scheduled execution.

The last California governor to grant clemency was Ronald Reagan in 1967. That may be a good sign, since Arnold no doubt would like to be further cast in Reagan's image.

More than 50,000 people have signed Tookie's petition. The Governor is listening. If you haven't signed it yet, please go here and add your name.

The founder of the Crips has been on death row for 24 years. While in jail, he became an anti-gang activist, wrote children's books and was nominated by a member of the Swiss Parliament for the Nobel Prize. If clemency is granted, he would remain in prison for the rest of his life, where he could continue his good works. He just wouldn't be killed.

Here is a fact sheet on Tookie's case (pdf). Mother Jones has this 2001 interview with Tookie.

Our voice is going to get louder and more frequent as Tookie's execution date gets closer. There are now more than 50,000 signatures on this petiton. Please add your voice and tell Governor Schwarzenegger to choose life.

Update: The Washington Post has an article today setting out arguments raised by Tookie's supporters and detractors for and against clemency.

The main argument against clemency seems to be retribution -- an eye for an eye -- a principle that (as Ghandi taught us) leaves the whole world blind.

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  • Tragic that only Republican governors have the political cover to even consider clemency. Stupid two party system. Am I right to assume (via chained definitions from answers.com) that this is clemency meaning commutation to life without parole?

    Re: Schwarznegger Considering Clemency for Tookie (none / 0) (#2)
    by oldtree on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:27 PM EST
    your position to protect a person so that they can continue to run an organized criminal operation that kills people, innocent or not, from behind bars is very odd. It seems to go against your implied message about the "politics of crime" It does seem to indicate that you are a part of the problem, not the solution.

    Re: Schwarznegger Considering Clemency for Tookie (none / 0) (#3)
    by roy on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:27 PM EST
    ... continue to run an organized criminal operation that kills people ...
    That accusation keeps coming up. Does anybody know where it comes from? Whether there's any evidence that Tookie is still commiting any crimes? Google is no help on the matter.

    Re: Schwarznegger Considering Clemency for Tookie (none / 0) (#4)
    by cpinva on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:27 PM EST
    oldtree, do you have actual, documented evidence that this is the case, not merely unsubstantiated claims by the prison? if so, please share it with the rest of the class, and Gov. Schwarznegger. i don't know if he is or isn't running an organized crime ring from prison. so far, however, i've not seen any substantiated evidence to show that he is.

    Jeralyn, I'm listening to you live right now over the net. I've never seen or heard you speak before, though I've read talkleft for years. You're doing an excellent job -- keep up the good work. (And remind me to call you if I ever need a criminal defense attorney . . . .) John at Legal Reader.com

    Thanks, John! And let's hope you never need to call me...

    Re: Schwarznegger Considering Clemency for Tookie (none / 0) (#7)
    by learned hound on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:28 PM EST
    I don't know whether on line petitions make any difference, but on the off chance that Gov. Schwarzenegger is even slightly influenced to grant clemency by one, I think it might be a really good idea to sign this one. After all, there really isn't anything left that can be done to spare Tookie now.

    Sorry...I'm fairly left leaning, but don't look to me for support for Tookie. Our country is rife with people like him that display no concern or respect for others and their life. Let's thin the herd a bit. My tax dollars will be better spent on WIC and road repairs than paying for his education, cable tv, and "3 hots and a cot" for the rest of his life. Let him die. Show him the equivalent compassion he showed his victims. Send the message, Governor-throw the switch and send this abomination back to the primordial darkness from whence it came. The sooner the better-THROW THE SWITCH!

    I don't support clemency for criminals. It does not matter what he did after he committed the crime. Whatever he did afterwards, the people he killed could not be returned to life. It seems to me that the supporters are trying to say that the world can't live without Tookie Williams. Well, if the world can live without the four victims he killed, I don't seem any reason why can't we live without him. In fact, we may live happily without him.

    I have just listended to a wonderful commentary by Wolf Blitzer on CNN explaining how it is OK to kill this man because the "overwhelming majority of Kaliforniens support the death penalty". Well, OK then, I guess that it must be OK. Just like the overwhwlming majority of Germans thought it was OK to kill off all the Jews and the overwhelming majority of Klansmen thought (think?) that it was (is?) OK to lynch uppity Nigras. I am so glad that was explained so well. I wonder how Herr Obergruppenfuhrer Ahnold will like the Lake of Fire?

    The death penalty for serious wrong doers has been around for a long time. It mostly comes from the old testament, God's Law, and the eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth and a life for a life. Of course there is a term used ,"To take no prisoners." Quick justice used to be the lynching party in the old West. Stoning and beheading in the ancient times was appropriate. We incinerated cities in WW II, gassed troops in WWI, in Viet Nam and we napalmed villages that were aiding the enemy. We torpedo ships and drown every one that survives the explosion and fire. Losers also faced slavery for life by the winning side. Finally, of course is the law of nature and that is SURVIVAL. All sides dehumanize their enemies by calling them demons, infidels, and devils. Death is the final solution. The German National Socialists did it and Stalin and Soviet Socialists (Communists) called it the purge. The conclusion is that You are with US or against US. The non believers are exterminated. A simple solution. The old testament God, Jehovah, the same God in Muslim theology, sets the example with famine, earthquakes, tidal waves, and plagues on the rule breakers. This is all scripture and stuff like "Death to infidels", the wicked, the evil, and being inspired by the DEVIL. This gets mixed up with Christianity to forgive every one ....and those that are POOR and weak are blessed! Jehovah carried a big stick like Teddy Roosevelt professed. It boils down that people through psychology obey rules by the consequences. It is the only thing that works. The fitness survive a little longer.

    Tookie Who?