Jose Padilla Prosecution and Pre-Indictment Delay
SexLaw and Consent

Tookie Williams' Pending Execution

Doug Berman is the source for information on the Williams' execution.  Her has links to court documents in these posts:

Having read all the court documents, I have these tentative thoughts:

  • According to the L.A. County District Attorney's office, redemption is impossible.  Once a person is sentenced to death, he can never escape that sentence.  That's a fair enough argument, as far as these things go.  But I've actually heard prosecutors argue that the death penalty need not be abolished because, in the appropriate case, a death sentence can be commuted.  That argument, hot air though it always was, now doesn't even deserve to pass through one ear to go out the other.

  • Having been around a lot of prisoners, I'm not convinced that Mr. Williams is a changed man.  Prisoners almost always find some schtick - some way to make people think they've changed.  Those of us who have believed in people convicted of violent crimes and then have been burned, likely view Mr. Williams' change of heart with some skepticism.

  • Should it matter whether whether Williams' heart has changed, given that he has done so many good deeds?  This is a tough question.  When deciding whether to grant Williams clemency, what should matter most - works and one's heart?
  • The argument that there are some doubts about whether Williams killed the people he was convicted of killing aren't persuasive.  After all, as the founder of the Crips, he did enough dirt that he "deserves" to be where he is at.  As a legal purist, I  don't believe this; but the people he needs to persuade do.  Even if he didn't kill those four people, he should claim responsibility.  Sometimes you have to "cop" to something you didn't do to avoid an unjustly harsh punishment.  It's not fair, but with one's life in the balance, it should be survival over all.