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Stanley “Tookie” Williams Watch: A Question of Mercy @ 10 AM Clemency Hearing?

A California Highway Patrolman detains protestor Phoebe Anne Sorgen, a Berkeley, Calif., peace activist, outside of San Quentin State Prison in San Quentin, Calif., Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2005. Sorgen, who was blocking the entrance of the prison, was protesting against the execution of condemned inmate Stanley Tookie Williams. Williams is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on Tuesday.

The Los Angeles Times has Williams Case a Question of Mercy

With legal claims rejected, the killer’s redemption may be key in clemency decision.

If Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger spares Stanley Tookie Williams from his scheduled execution at San Quentin State Prison next week, he will almost certainly be forced to anchor his decision in a rationale that has virtually disappeared from the modern clemency process: mercy.

Nationwide over the last 30 years, governors commuting death sentences have almost never cited a condemned man’s redemption as a reason to save his life. Rather, they typically act because of doubts about guilt, questions surrounding trial fairness, concerns about mental illness or worries that capital punishment disproportionately targets racial minorities.

In the Williams case, legal claims have been rejected repeatedly by courts. His bid for clemency is rooted entirely in what attorneys describe as his metamorphosis behind bars, from the co-founder of the murderous Crips street gang to a peacemaker who writes children’s books and preaches nonviolence.

If Californians are to believe in the rule of law, Governor Schwarzenegger must deny the clemency petition.

If Californians are to feel secure in their property and person, Governor Schwarzenegger must deny the clemency petition.

If the California Death Penatly law is to have any meaning, Governor Schwarzenegger must deny the clemency petition.

In deciding the fate of two other condemned men, the governor rejected clemency, finding no evidence compelling him to act. In January, after he denied clemency for triple murderer Donald Beardslee and allowed the execution to proceed, Schwarzenegger told journalists in his native Austria that the episode marked “the hardest day” of his life.

The law, meanwhile, offers little guidance. There are no rules when it comes to executive commutations, and previous governors characterize clemency decisions as among the most challenging and emotional they faced in office. The public clamor only exacerbates the pressure.

The Los Angeles Times has prepared a chart comparing different states clemency rates:

Listen to what former California Governors say about clemency……

“Clemency is an awesome responsibility,” said former Gov. Gray Davis, a Democrat who rejected bids from five men who were executed. While Schwarzenegger will clearly be “aware that the world is watching,” Davis said, the task is “a very solitary decision, a matter between the governor and his conscience.”

Former Gov. Pete Wilson agreed that “you don’t take lightly denying life to anyone.” On the other hand, he said, Californians have “expressed their approval at the ballot box of imposing the death penalty, and so I think anyone seeking clemency has a very difficult standard to meet.”

On Wednesday, lawyers for Williams summarized the line of argument they would be making at today’s hearing, which the governor will attend, and said they would be presenting Schwarzenegger with a letter from Williams. They declined to reveal its contents.

Beginning at 10 a.m. today, the governor will hear the presentation from Williams’ attorneys and one from the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. Schwarzenegger’s aides said he would make no comment, and they could not predict when he might make his decision.

Flap handicaps a Friday afternoon decision.

Stay tuned…….


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Stanley “Tookie” Williams Watch: Danny Glover – “I Think There is a Chance Arnold Schwarzenegger Will Grant Clemency”

Stanley “Tookie” Williams Watch: Political Risks

Stanley “Tookie” Williams Watch: Should California Governor Schwarzenegger Grant CLEMENCY? – The POLL

Stanley “Tookie” Williams Watch: Clemency Hearing to Include Claim there were Errors in Trial

Stanley “Tookie” Williams Watch: NOT Afraid to Die

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Stanley “Tookie” Williams Watch: Snoop, Hollywood Left’s Support for Tookie Props Killers Up as Heroes – Joseph C. Phillips

Stanley “Tookie” Williams Watch: California Supreme Court Refuses to Halt Execution

Stanley “Tookie” Williams Watch: NO REMORSE

Stanley “Tookie” Williams Watch: Tookie’s “Human Angel”

Stanley “Tookie” Williams Watch: Isn’t it The Truth By Cobb

Stanley “Tookie” Williams Watch: Schwarzenegger to Hold Private Clemency Hearing

Stanley “Tookie” Williams Watch: California Governor Schwarzenegger MULLS Clemency

Stanley “Tookie” Williams Watch: FLAP Over “Tookie Must Die”

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