December 1, 2005

This Might Kill Capital Punishment

Hatched by Dafydd

I'm speaking of the Stanley "Tookie" Williams case, of course. If this goes on, it may very well spell the end of the death penalty in the United States.

Wait, Dafydd -- are you miffed because Tookie Williams hasn't yet been granted clemency? Not in the least; in fact, I would urge the Governator not to grant clemency in this case. So the guy "turned his life around" in prison and "redeemed himself." I'm not impressed... honestly, I'm not. Here's the argument for clemency on a nutshell:

Williams was condemned for killing Yen-I Yang, Tsai-Shai Chen Yang and Yu-Chin Yang Lin in the motel robbery, and for gunning down Albert Owens, a 7-Eleven clerk, in a separate crime.

While in prison, Williams has campaigned for an end to youth gang violence while co-authoring anti-gang books for youngsters. Supporters have nominated him several times for the Nobel Peace Prize.

But now that he's on death row, he's reformed! Hasn't killed a man-jack since he was convicted. And he wrote anti-gang books. Really, what's the argument here -- now that he's got all that out of his system, he'll be good from now on?

Or maybe I think Tookie Williams is actually innocent... do I? Perhaps I buy the argument that his attorneys just made to the California Supreme Court:

Lawyers for Williams, author of a series of anti-gang books for children, wanted to re-exam ballistics evidence that showed his shotgun was used to kill three people during a 1979 motel robbery.

The defense claimed the forensic evidence was "junk science," but prosecutors said that allegation was "based upon innuendo, supposition and the patent bias of (Williams') purported expert."

Again with the books? What's this obsession with literary talent? Shades of Norman Mailer and his own pet murderer, Jack Abbott. Abbott was convicted of writing fraudulent checks; then, while in prison, he murdered another inmate. Receiving a sentence of nineteen years, Abbott, a "revolutionary" devotee of both Mao and Stalin, thought he might shorten that time by enlisting the aid of famed author and bloviator Norman Mailer. In 2002, Dorothy Rabinowitz wrote in the Wall Street Journal/OpinionJournal:

The letters Abbott subsequently wrote moved him to feelings of awe, Mr. Mailer reported in a 1981 New York Review of Books piece--awe, and admiration at the prisoner's writing and thinking and moral vision. In Abbott's letters he had found, "a potential leader, a man obsessed with a vision of more elevated human relations."

Hardly any wonder, then, that Abbott soon became the object of an effort by celebrated members of the literary establishment bent on springing him from prison. His patrons were moved by the certainty that they had stumbled on a visionary who must be freed to write and think, not just for his sake but, above all, for ours. A liberated Abbott could go about enriching our society and culture with his talents, which included, Mr. Mailer explained, a bold, and comprehensive vision of society.

This "comprehensive vision of society" lured scores of Left-listing artistic dears to Abbott's side, standing side by side with that literary "genius," Norman Mailer. Mailer savored the paeans and kow-tows attendant upon the introduction he wrote to Abbott's book, In the Belly of the Beast -- a twice-narcissistic collection of letters exchanged between the two gargantuan egos. Mailer at his worst, most fatuous, and most preening: "not only the worst of the young are sent to prison, but the best -- that is, the proudest, the bravest, the most daring, the most enterprising, and the most undefeated of the poor." Gag me with a skeleton key.

In due course, Jack Henry Abbott won parole, thanks to Mr. Mailer, who instructed the Utah Board of Corrections in Abbott's talent and literary promise, as did an editor from Random House. Released to a halfway house in June 1981, Abbott was surrounded by influential admirers, guest of honor at celebratory dinners, subject of stories in People magazine, and "Good Morning America."

Roughly a month later, it all came to an end, along with the life of 22-year-old actor and writer Richard Adan. The newly married manager of his father-in-law's Manhattan restaurant had made the mistake of telling Abbott that the washroom was for the staff and not for customers. The thinker obsessed with a vision of more elevated human relations proceeded to knife Adan to death in an argument over a toilet. Adan was left to die on the sidewalk.

Abbott was eventually captured and sentenced to life in prison. He finally managed to fulfilled one of his sentences, as he hanged himself in February, 2002, with his prison bedsheets. Good night, sweet poseur-ponce; parting is such a brief candle.

I don't know if Stormin' Norman is involved in the literary orgasm of adulation sprayed across Tookie Williams -- Nobel laureates, also-rans, and wannabes are lining up by the truckload to beg Arnold Schwarzenegger to spare the Tookie's life. Maybe he's but one of the furtive 48,000 who have "signed" an online petition for clemency. Mailer may be reticent -- once burned -- but he may as well be present at least in spirit, joining the "bevy of Nobel laureates and celebrities" flinging themselves to the ground and moaning (one more for the camera now!) that they're not worthy of the redeemed authentic writer of the magnificent series of anti-gang books for children, the man who has turned his life around and not killed a soul while on ice (more peaceful than Jack Abbott -- at least after getting those four terminations out of his juices).

Dorothy Rabinowitz, who wrote the Wall Street Journal piece on Jack Abbott, must be spinning in her Barcalounger for having written this in that same article:

Causes célèbres of this sort--in which literary talent is advanced as the reason to free a violent felon--aren't likely to come around again anytime soon.

Once as tragedy, once as farce, Ms. Rabinowitz.

(In a creepy coincidence, she is most famous for agitating for the freedom of a man who was probably falsely convicted of child molestation during that bizarre, only-in-America rage of prosecutions of the 1980s -- which included here in California the McMartin Pre-School legal atrocity. Rabinowitz's cause, however, was an evidently innocent man named (really!) Gerald "Tooky" Amirault. So it goes.)

But I wander. No, I don't think Tookie Williams is innocent. I'd have to side with the numerous state and federal trials and appeals that have ruled against the man, each and every one. That's not what I'm on about; that's not the thing that threatens the very existence of the death penalty, not even if Tookie Williams were as pure as the driven laundry detergent.

It leapt out at me as I read the David Kravits AP story on the Tookster, a 600-point headline flashing blood red, the frequency calculated to seize epileptics in their tracks:

Williams, condemned in 1981, has maintained his innocence. Among his claims is that fabricated testimony sent him to death row. He also says prosecutors violated his rights when they dismissed all potential black jurors from his case.

Oh. Didn't get it? Well, my training is in math, and I tend to notice numbers before letters. Let me try it again:

Williams, condemned in 1981, has maintained his innocence.

1981 was the first year of Ronald Reagan's presidency. It was a year after I transferred from UCLA up to UC Santa Cruz, and the year I finally ceased working with my back and started working with my brain. It was a year before my BA and the year of the first Space Shuttle launch -- Columbia, STS-1, on April 12th, if you're interested.

It was twenty-four years ago. And the gentleman still seems to be here.

If anything does in the death penalty, it will be the squeamishness of the executioner, the unwillingness of the state actually to carry out the verdict it's willing to render. We perhaps will come to a day when the population of death row exceeds that of the lifers, when we haven't executed a single person in a decade, and we simply throw up our hands in frustrated surrender. That would be a tragic day, for I believe that simple justice demands that we do not allow murderers, at least the worst of them -- or the best, in Norman Mailer's perverse universe -- to continue to enjoy what they've stolen from another. Fiat justicia, ruat coelum.

But maybe that day won't come. Thank God, there will always be a Texas.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 1, 2005, at the time of 4:59 AM

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» Should Tookie Die? Cast Your Vote from California Conservative
“A growing debate over the planned execution of Stanley Tookie Williams hinges partly on his claim that he founded the notorious Crips street gang then renounced a criminal life in a quest for redemption,” reports Reuters. “Williams... [Read More]

Tracked on December 3, 2005 11:19 PM

» Quick Hits from Stop The ACLU
Big Lizards has the Tookie Williams Post for the day. Publius Pundit has a great post on Hong Kong’s march for democracy. M. Sheldon Show is welcoming their cousin home from Iraq. Bilges has an interesting post on the death penalty. ... [Read More]

Tracked on December 4, 2005 10:46 AM

» Tookie Williams should pay for his crimes with his life from Those Bastards!
I'm usually anti-death penalty in a lot of cases. Many are convicted more for reasons of not having the resources to defend themselves than the crimes they actually committed. All things being equal, would O.J. Simpson and Robert Blake be walking free ... [Read More]

Tracked on December 5, 2005 1:23 AM

» Tookie Delookie from Big Lizards
Is it just me? According to the Associated Press, A lawyer for convicted murderer Stanley Tookie Williams asked the state Supreme Court to stay his execution, saying the Crips gang co-founder should have been allowed to argue that someone else... [Read More]

Tracked on December 11, 2005 2:09 PM


The following hissed in response by: David

"Thank God, there will always be a Texas."

One can pray that be so.

Maybe the solution would be to enlarge the borders of Texas...


The above hissed in response by: David [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 1, 2005 4:56 PM

The following hissed in response by: Walter E. Wallis

The solution may well be to cut off all funding after the first round of appeals, compensating defense then only on evidence of real innocence, not just "He didn't mean it."

The above hissed in response by: Walter E. Wallis [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 3, 2005 9:03 PM

The following hissed in response by: RonC

Criminal loving leftists most love the worst of American criminals and fight to get them paroled or pardoned or released or their sentences overturned or awarded the highest honors bestowed by some leftist institution.

On Friday I listened to the man (on radio) that had been, for fifteen years (now retired,) in charge of all operations where Stanley Williams was, and still is imprisoned. In fact, the man was the Chief of Security, supervising all guards working death row, and in charge of maintaining watch over the very worst of prisoners on death row.

He related that Williams has never been allowed out of highest security confinement during his entire term of imprisonment, because he has continuously exhibited behavior that proved he was simply too dangerous. He stated that quite frankly, he viewed Williams as the ‘most dangerous criminal ever to be imprisoned in that institution’ and that if Williams was ever allowed outside of highest security, he was certain that Williams would kill again without hesitation at his first opportunity.

Contrary to the hype about Williams writing - or ‘co-authoring’ books - we now know that he never wrote a single word in any book. He merely signed a piece of paper that gave the real author permission to say that he was a ‘co-author’ (among, obviously, many other fictitious statements.) In other words, what is being said of Williams, by his leftist fans are absolute bald-faced lies.

This is demonstrable in more than one way - but the primary being that he is, and has always been held among a group of about twenty individuals (of the over 600 inmates on death row) that are considered extremely dangerous. They are not allowed to have anything in their cells whatsoever beyond a very strict and very limited list of material items - primarily highly-dangerous-inmate special clothing, and bed clothing, and temporarily a pan (only) from which they eat food. No pens, pencils, paper or anything other writing material of any kind is ever allowed within these cells.

The above hissed in response by: RonC [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 4, 2005 5:04 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


Contrary to the hype about Williams writing - or ‘co-authoring’ books - we now know that he never wrote a single word in any book....

[He is] not allowed to have... pens, pencils, paper or anything other writing material of any kind.

RonC, that's interesting; if you can find a link to that effect, I'll blog about it and credit you.



The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 4, 2005 5:38 AM

The following hissed in response by: RonC

The ACLU has been providing free trial lawyers for the most murderous of criminals for years - and free lawyers for any death-row inmate who will allow their kind of ‘help’ - with one objective - to make getting convictions, and imprisonment of the worst criminals as expensive to the state (and the taxpayer) as possible.

The ACLU has become very successful in achieving that goal - which now allows the ACLU to postulate their most powerful argument to protect criminals - that, ‘The death penalty simply costs too much to administer, and should be eliminated.”

Their (ACLU) figures - the cost to imprison death-row inmates in California averages 96 thousand dollars per year. Times the 600 current inmates, is $57.6 million per year - times the average 22 years per inmate, spent on death row, prior to being put painlessly to sleep, taxpayers will bleed $1.2 billion dollars to finally see justice done.

The solution? - first, hang all ACLU lawyers for creating this mess. Second, hang all convicted murderers after one failed appeal - time for completion and ruling on appeal not to exceed one year after initial conviction. Third, eliminate the ability for judges, Governors, and the President of the US to issue stays of execution, unless irrefutable evidence of innocence has been presented. Then, the death penalty would again be the effective deterrent it once was.

The above hissed in response by: RonC [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 4, 2005 5:44 AM

The following hissed in response by: RonC

"..if you can find a link to that effect.."

I've not searched for a link - but will do so, because I want to know more too. I've heard both of these items (Friday) on the radio (Roger Hedgecock show I believe, caller the former head of guards where Williams is.)

The second (no items of any kind) on another show early Saturday morning on my way home from work (do 4 to midnight at satellite earthstation) and I can't tell you who that was, as I don't normally listen to the show (possibly 'America in the morning'... or something like that) and did not stay tuned in long.

The above hissed in response by: RonC [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 4, 2005 5:53 AM

The following hissed in response by: mbecker908

Excellent commentary except for the inclusion of Ms. Rabinowitz' campaign on behalf of Mr. Amirault. I used to live in the PRM and am very familiar with the details of Mr. Amirault's case. There is no question that he was not guilty and a victim, along with his family who were also wrongly convicted of the same "crimes", of the most egregious example of prosecutorial misconduct in the history of jurisprudence.

Tookie Williams deserves the death penalty. Gerald Amirault deserves at least a link in your commentary to Ms. Rabinowitz' articles about his conviction.

The above hissed in response by: mbecker908 [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 4, 2005 8:12 AM

The following hissed in response by: RoseMarie2

Here is a link to my website about the ritual abuse panic that sent Gerald Amirault to prison. Did you know that there are still people in prison today, hysterically accused of bizarre molestation of young children? My website tells their stories.

And for the story of another man who wrote his way off of death row, visit my crimemagazine article on Edgar Smith,0825.htm

I'd like to see a reference to the assertion that Tookie Williams didn't write any books, too. Interesting.

The above hissed in response by: RoseMarie2 [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 4, 2005 9:48 AM

The following hissed in response by: MegaTroopX

The existence of Texas is about all that keeps California from essentially picking the Presidency; a thought that should bring shrieking terror into even the stoutest heart.

The above hissed in response by: MegaTroopX [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 4, 2005 11:12 AM

The following hissed in response by: Lastango

There is unfortunately nothing uniquely American about false prosecutions like the McMartin witch hunt; here’s one from Canada, and here’s another from France.

The French case collapsed just last week, too late to help one of the ten falsely convicted. He committed suicide in prison.

By the way, Gerald Amirault was not “probably falsely convicted” and is not “evidently innocent.” He was falsely convicted. He was and is innocent. Anyone who doubts this should research the topic.

The above hissed in response by: Lastango [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 4, 2005 11:19 AM

The following hissed in response by: Jon

"San Quentin spokesman Vernell Crittendon, speaking on behalf of the department, went further in an interview last week, saying he suspects Williams is orchestrating gangland crimes from his cell."

And from

"I think, the last 10 years, he has not attacked any persons on Death Row, and has not been in violation of, any serious rule violation," Crittendon said. During the previous 15 years behind bars, Williams record was more checkered. "Well, he's been involved in incidents that involved sexual abuse, battery, assault on staff, threatening staff, fighting, just to list a few of the incidents that he's been involved in."

The LA DA response to Tookie's clemency request is here There are also gruesome picture's of the Tookies victims and testimony of eye witnesses to the crimes and how Tookie said he wanted to murder them too. There are handwritten notes Tookie wrote for his planned jail escape where we was going to use silencers. It also lists a series of violent attacks on other inmates that ended in 1993.

There's some interviews with Tookie at
Here's a key part:

AMY GOODMAN: What are your thoughts on the death penalty, in general?

STANLEY TOOKIE WILLIAMS: The death penalty, it's not a system of justice, it is a system of – a so-called system of justice that perpetuates a, shall I say, a vindictive type of response, a vigilante type of aura upon it. We’re talking about something that is barbaric. We’re talking about something that – it doesn't deter anything. I mean, if it did, then it wouldn't be so many – especially in California, we're talking about over 650 individuals on death row. And if it was a deterrent, this place wouldn't be filled like this. And it's an expensive ordeal that – the money, as you know, the monetary means comes out of the taxpayers' pocket.

And for anyone to think that murder can be resolved by murdering, it's ridiculous. I mean, we look at all of the wars that we have throughout other countries and other nations, and all it does is – this violence, all it does is engender violence. There seems to be no end, but a continuous cycle, an incessant process of blood and gore that doesn't end. And through violence, you can't possibly obtain peace. You can, in a sense, occupy a belief of peace; in other words, through this mechanism of violence, you – it appears that because there is a standing army or standing police that is used in brutality or violence or a system that uses brutality or violence that that is going to totally eliminate or stop criminous behavior or criminous minds or killings or what have you, but it doesn't. "

Tookie claimed he started the Crips to stop gangland violence and that it grew out of control. His speaks of law enforcement as being barbaric and vigilante. It's almost as is he believes that the government is just another gang, and we shouldn't use violence to stop crime, because it's just too, you know, expensive.

The above hissed in response by: Jon [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 4, 2005 1:02 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


Gerald Amirault deserves at least a link in your commentary to Ms. Rabinowitz' articles about his conviction.

The Rabinowitz article in the WSJ to which I linked above also discusses the Amirault case.


By the way, Gerald Amirault was not “probably falsely convicted” and is not “evidently innocent.” He was falsely convicted. He was and is innocent. Anyone who doubts this should research the topic.

I didn't say I doubted it. I write carefully: until I'm prepared to argue the case, I don't express my opinion as fact.

The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 4, 2005 1:04 PM

The following hissed in response by: mbecker908

With respect to the Amirault, I didn't mean to imply that you had said he was guilty. You clearly say he is "evidently innocent". I posted the comment because of the reference to "Gerald 'Tookie' Amirault".

The article is right on point. Thanks for clarifying the link to the Rabinowitz article.

The above hissed in response by: mbecker908 [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 4, 2005 4:53 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


I posted the comment because of the reference to "Gerald 'Tookie' Amirault".

Because that's his name, dude. Do a Google search on Gerald.Tooky.Amirault (and note that Amirault is "Tooky," not "Tookie" -- Tooky Amirault, Tookie Williams).

It's just part of the lattice of coincidence that lies on top of everything.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 4, 2005 9:59 PM

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