The Los Angeles Times has Oldest Inmate on Death Row Petitions Gov. for Clemency
The state’s oldest death row convict asked Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for clemency Tuesday, a day after the governor rejected a bid for mercy from Stanley Tookie Williams, allowing the Crips co-founder to die by lethal injection.
Clarence Ray Allen, 75, said he was too frail to be put to death Jan. 17 as scheduled. In 1980, while serving at Folsom State Prison for arranging the 1974 murder of his son’s girlfriend, Allen ordered the killings of eight witnesses against him in a related market burglary case in Fresno. His hit man killed a witness and two market employees.
n his petition, Allen claims that his physical infirmities, including a recent heart attack, have left him nearly deaf and blind and warrant a reprieve.
“He prays for that mercy because he is aged and infirm, suffering from chronic diseases that have been aggravated by the grossly inadequate medical treatment he has received at San Quentin and that have left him unable to walk, nearly blind, hard of hearing, and so physically incapacitated that his execution for the purpose of incapacitating him from the commission of further crime is manifestly unnecessary,” his attorney, Michael Satris, wrote to Schwarzenegger.
Although Satris also questions Allen’s guilt, the petition presents Schwarzenegger â€” who has rejected all three petitions for clemency that have come before him â€” with a far different claim: that physical infirmities are grounds for clemency.
The Los Angeles Times has Aging, Ill Inmate Is Next in Line for Execution
His situation is dramatically different from that of Williams, a co-founder of the Crips gang, who has been the subject of an unusual, highly visible clemency campaign. Full-page newspaper advertisements and speeches from clergymen, celebrities and activists proclaimed that Williams has redeemed himself through his anti-gang activities.
In contrast, Allen has not displayed any visible public support, and the last appeals court to review his case characterized his crimes as the very type the death penalty was designed to address.
But Allen’s attorneys have raised a question that is likely to recur, with the “graying” of death rows around the country and the concomitant health problems afflicting many elderly inmates: Is it appropriate to execute someone who is old and infirm?
There are now five condemned men in California who are over 70 and nearly three dozen in their 60s. Since California reinstated capital punishment, 31 men have died on death row of natural causes and 11 have been executed. The oldest person executed in California in the modern era was 62-year-old Donald Beardslee, who was killed earlier this year.
Though there has been sharp debate in recent years over the execution of individuals for crimes committed as juveniles, there is no law anywhere in the country setting an upper age limit for execution. And although governors and parole boards have occasionally granted clemency to condemned inmates because of mental illness, no death sentence has been commuted based solely on age or illness.
It is the moronic and idiotic delay in the legal process that has allowed this criminal to live all of these years so he could become infirm.
This is another NO-BRAINER for Governor Schwarzenegger.
Justice for Allen’s victims and carry out the law – BIG JAB – on January 17th.