(Sacramento, California) For murders committed in 1979, Crips co-founder Stanley "Tookie" Williams will be executed in 2005. That's assuming the death warrant signed by Superior Court Judge William Pounders is carried out as scheduled on December 13.
Williams attained a level of celebrity while sitting on Death Row. After eight years as a condemned murderer, he became enlightened, renounced gangs, and started writing books which warned children about the gangster life. Subsequently, people were so impressed and enamored that Williams was nominated for the Nobel Prize.
The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Williams' latest appeal as did the U.S. Supreme Court. However, it's notable that the Ninth Circuit Court was impressed with Williams becoming civilized and indicated that his works could be the basis for clemency by the governor. Williams' lawyers must file a clemency request to Gov. Schwarzenegger by November 8.
My take is that there should be no clemency. Williams committed the crimes, was convicted, and sentenced to death by a jury of his peers. The fact that he found enlightenment on Death Row should have no bearing on the administration of the verdict. After all, what else was he going to do on Death Row? Not only that, but it took him eight years in confinement before he gave up his loyalty to the gang.
Taken to the extreme, no person would ever be executed if he/she found enlightenment in prison. The length of the appeals process makes it possible. Locked in a cell for more than two decades, Williams proved that if one writes books, one can get sympathy. Now, if the appeals process could be whittled down to a reasonable four years or less, then there wouldn't be time for convicts to gather Nobel Prize nominations and supporters from the general public nor encouragement from the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Companion post at Interested-Participant.