[News] Text of Tookie Decision

Anti-Imperialist News News at freedomarchives.org
Mon Dec 12 16:18:42 EST 2005


"The dedication of Williams' book "Life in Prison" casts significant doubt
on his personal redemption. This book was 
published in 1998, several years after
Williams' claimed redemptive experience. Specifically, the book is dedicated
to "Nelson Mandela, Angela Davis, Malcolm X, Assata Shakur, Geronimo Ji Jaga
Pratt, Ramona Africa, John Africa, Leonard Peltier, Dhoruba Al-Mujahid,
George Jackson, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and the countless other men, women, and
youths who have to endure the hellish oppression of living behind bars." The
mix of individuals on this list is curious. Most have violent pasts and some
have been convicted of committing heinous murders, including the killing of
law enforcement.

But the inclusion of George Jackson on this list defies reason and is a
significant indicator that Williams is not reformed and that he still sees
violence and lawlessness as a legitimate means to address societal
problems."

STATEMENT OF DECISION
Request for Clemency by Stanley Williams
Stanley Williams has been convicted of brutally 
murdering four people during two
separate armed robberies in February and March 1979. A California jury
sentenced him to death, and he is scheduled for execution on December 13, 2005.
During the early morning hours of February 28, 1979, Williams and three others
went on a robbery spree. Around 4 a.m., they entered a 7-Eleven store where
Albert Owens was working by himself. Here, Williams, armed with his pumpaction
shotgun, ordered Owens to a backroom and shot him twice in the back while
he lay face down on the floor. Williams and his accomplices made off with about
$120 from the store’s cash register. After 
leaving the 7-Eleven store, Williams told
the others that he killed Albert Owens because he did not want any witnesses.
Later that morning, Williams recounted shooting Albert Owens, saying “You
should have heard the way he sounded when I shot him.” Williams then made a
growling noise and laughed for five to six minutes.
On March 11, 1979, less than two weeks later, Williams, again armed with his
shotgun, robbed a family-operated motel and shot 
and killed three members of the
family: (1) the father, Yen-I Yang, who was shot 
once in the torso and once in the
arm while he was laying on a sofa; (2) the mother, Tsai-Shai Lin, who was shot
once in the abdomen and once in the back; and (3) the daughter, Yee-Chen Lin,
who was shot once in her face. For these murders, Williams made away with
approximately $100 in cash. Williams also told 
others about the details of these
murders and referred to the victims as “Buddha-heads.”

Now, his appeals exhausted, Williams seeks mercy in the form of a petition for
clemency. He claims that he deserves clemency because he has undergone a
personal transformation and is redeemed, and because there were problems with
his trial that undermine the fairness of the jury’s verdict.

Williams’ case has been thoroughly reviewed in 
the 24 years since his convictions
and death sentence. In addition to his direct appeal to the California Supreme
Court, Williams has filed five state habeas 
corpus petitions, each of which has been
rejected. The federal courts have also reviewed his convictions and death
sentence. Williams filed a federal habeas corpus 
petition, and the U.S. District

Court denied it. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed this decision.1
Williams was also given a number of post-trial 
evidentiary hearings, and he and his
lawyers had the opportunity at these hearings to present evidence that was not
heard at trial. The jury’s decision has withstood these challenges.
In all, Williams’ case has been the subject of at 
least eight substantive judicial
opinions.2 Prior to the filing of the clemency petition, the state court habeas
process was completed on June 21, 1995 when the California Supreme Court
denied Williams’ fourth state habeas corpus petition.3 The federal court habeas
process was completed on October 11, 2005 when the United States Supreme
Court denied Williams’ writ of certiorari.

The claim that Williams received an unfair trial 
was the subject of this extensive
litigation in the state and federal courts. The 
courts considered the sufficiency of
his counsel, the strategic nature of counsel’s 
decisions during the penalty phase of
Williams’ trial, the adequacy and reliability of 
testimony from informants, whether
Williams was prejudiced by security measures employed during his trial, whether
he was competent to stand trial, whether the 
prosecutor impermissibly challenged
potential jurors on the basis of race, and whether his jury was improperly
influenced by Williams’ threats made against 
them. There is no need to rehash or
second guess the myriad findings of the courts over 24 years of litigation.
The possible irregularities in Williams’ trial 
have been thoroughly and carefully
reviewed by the courts, and there is no reason to 
disturb the judicial decisions that
uphold the jury’s decisions that he is guilty of 
these four murders and should pay
with his life.

The basis of Williams’ clemency request is not 
innocence. Rather, the basis of the
request is the “personal redemption Stanley Williams has experienced and the
positive impact of the message he sends.”4 But Williams’ claim of innocence
remains a key factor to evaluating his claim of personal redemption. It is
impossible to separate Williams’ claim of 
innocence from his claim of redemption.
Cumulatively, the evidence demonstrating Williams is guilty of these murders is
strong and compelling. It includes: (1) eyewitness testimony of Alfred Coward,
who was one of Williams’ accomplices in the 7-Eleven shooting; (2) ballistics
evidence proving that the shotgun casing found at 
the scene of the motel murders
was fired from Williams’ shotgun; (3) testimony from Samuel Coleman that
Williams confessed that he had robbed and killed some people on Vermont Street
(where the motel was located); (4) testimony from James and Esther Garrett that
Williams admitted to them that he committed both sets of murders; and (5)
testimony from jailhouse informant George Oglesby 
that Williams confessed to the
motel murders and conspired with Oglesby to escape from county jail. The trial
evidence is bolstered by information from Tony Sims, who has admitted to being
an accomplice in the 7-Eleven murder. Sims did not testify against Williams at
trial, but he was later convicted of murder for 
his role in Albert Owens’ death.
During his trial and subsequent parole hearings, 
Sims has repeatedly stated under
oath that Williams was the shooter.

Based on the cumulative weight of the evidence, 
there is no reason to second guess
the jury’s decision of guilt or raise significant 
doubts or serious reservations about
Williams’ convictions and death sentence. He murdered Albert Owens and Yen-I
Yang, Yee-Chen Lin and Tsai-Shai Lin in cold 
blood in two separate incidents that
were just weeks apart.

But Williams claims that he is particularly 
deserving of clemency because he has
reformed and been redeemed for his violent past. Williams’ claim of redemption
triggers an inquiry into his atonement for all 
his transgressions. Williams protests
that he has no reason to apologize for these murders because he did not commit
them. But he is guilty and a close look at 
Williams’ post-arrest and postconviction
conduct tells a story that is different from redemption.

After Williams was arrested for these crimes, and 
while he was awaiting trial, he
conspired to escape from custody by blowing up a jail transportation bus and
killing the deputies guarding the bus. There are 
detailed escape plans in Williams’
own handwriting. Williams never executed this plan, but his co-conspirator
implicated Williams in the scheme. The fact that Williams conspired to murder
several others to effectuate his escape from jail 
while awaiting his murder trial is
consistent with guilt, not innocence. And the timing of the motel murders—less
than two weeks after the murder of Albert Owens—shows a callous disregard for
human life.

Williams has written books that instruct readers 
to avoid the gang lifestyle and to
stay out of prison.5 In 1996, a Tookie Speaks Out Against Gang Violence
children’s book series was published. In 1998, 
“Life in Prison” was published. In
2004, Williams published a memoir entitled “Blue Rage, Black Redemption.” He
has also recently (since 1995) tried to preach a message of gang avoidance and
peacemaking, including a protocol for street 
peace to be used by opposing gangs.
It is hard to assess the effect of such efforts 
in concrete terms, but the continued
pervasiveness of gang violence leads one to question the efficacy of Williams’
message. Williams co-founded the Crips, a notorious street gang that has
contributed and continues to contribute to 
predatory and exploitative violence. 6
The dedication of Williams’ book “Life in Prison” 
casts significant doubt on his
personal redemption. This book was published in 1998, several years after
Williams’ claimed redemptive experience. Specifically, the book is dedicated to
“Nelson Mandela, Angela Davis, Malcolm X, Assata Shakur, Geronimo Ji Jaga
Pratt, Ramona Africa, John Africa, Leonard Peltier, Dhoruba Al-Mujahid, George
Jackson, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and the countless other men, women, and youths who
have to endure the hellish oppression of living behind bars.” The mix of
individuals on this list is curious. Most have violent pasts and some have been
convicted of committing heinous murders, including the killing of law
enforcement.

But the inclusion of George Jackson on this list 
defies reason and is a significant
indicator that Williams is not reformed and that he still sees violence and
lawlessness as a legitimate means to address societal problems.7
There is also little mention or atonement in his 
writings and his plea for clemency
of the countless murders committed by the Crips 
following the lifestyle Williams
once espoused. The senseless killing that has 
ruined many families, particularly in
African-American communities, in the name of the Crips and gang warfare is a
tragedy of our modern culture. One would expect more explicit and direct
reference to this byproduct of his former lifestyle in Williams’ writings and
apology for this tragedy, but it exists only through innuendo and inference.

Is Williams’ redemption complete and sincere, or is it just a hollow promise?
Stanley Williams insists he is innocent, and that he will not and should not
apologize or otherwise atone for the murders of the four victims in this case.
Without an apology and atonement for these 
senseless and brutal killings there can
be no redemption. In this case, the one thing 
that would be the clearest indication
of complete remorse and full redemption is the one thing Williams will not do.
Clemency decisions are always difficult, and this one is no exception. After
reviewing and weighing the showing Williams has made in support of his
clemency request, there is nothing that compels 
me to nullify the jury’s decision of
guilt and sentence and the many court decisions 
during the last 24 years upholding
the jury’s decision with a grant of clemency.

Therefore, based on the totality of circumstances 
in this case, Williams’ request for
clemency is denied.

DATED: December 12, 2005 ___________________________________
ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER
Governor of the State of California

1 Some have suggested that the U.S. Court of 
Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has endorsed Mr. Williams request for
clemency. (Williams v. Woodford (2004) 384 F.3d 
567, 628.) However, a careful reading of the opinion shows that
Ninth Circuit panel merely noted that Williams’ 
redemption arguments were properly addressed to the Governor,
not the court, without expressing an opinion on 
the appropriateness of clemency.
2
People v. Williams (1988) 44 Cal.3d 1127 [direct 
appeal and state habeas corpus petition]; In re Stanley Williams
(1994) 7 Cal.4th 572 [state habeas corpus 
petition]; Williams v. Calderon (C.D. Cal. 1998) 41 F.Supp.2d 1043
[federal habeas corpus petitions]; Williams v. 
Calderon (C.D. Cal. 1998) 48 F.Supp.2d 979 [federal habeas corpus
petition]; Williams v. Calderon (C.D. Cal. 1998) 
1998 WL 1039280 [request for discovery for federal habeas corpus
petition]; Williams v. Calderon (C.D. Cal. 1999) 
1999 WL 1320903 [motion for relief of judgment on federal habeas
corpus petition]; Williams v. Woodford (9th Cir. 
2004) 384 F.3d 567 [affirming denial of federal habeas corpus
petition]; Williams v. Woodford (9th Cir. 2005) 
396 F.3d 1059 [denying petition for rehearing en banc, with
dissent].
3 On December 10, 2005, Williams’ counsel filed a 
fifth habeas corpus petition in the California Supreme Court. On
December 11, 2005, the Court unanimously denied his petition.
4 Williams’ Clemency Reply, p. 10.
5 Williams’ perennial nominations for the Nobel 
Peace Prize and Nobel Prize in Literature from 2001-2005 and the
receipt of the President’s Call to Service Award 
in 2005 do not have persuasive weight in this clemency request.
6 Breaking the cycle of hopelessness and gang 
violence is the responsibility of us all, not just the most affected
African-American or inner city communities. It is 
important to work together with respect, understanding and
patience if we are to one day succeed.
7George Jackson was a militant activist and 
prison inmate who founded the violent Black Guerilla Family prison
gang. Jackson was charged with the murder of a 
San Quentin correctional officer. In 1970, when Jackson was out
to court in Marin County on the murder case, his 
brother stormed the courtroom with a machine gun, and along with
Jackson and two other inmates, took a judge, the 
prosecutor and three others hostage in an escape attempt. Shooting
broke out. The prosecutor was paralyzed from a 
police bullet, and the judge was killed by a close-range blast to his
head when the shotgun taped to his throat was 
fired by one of Jackson’s accomplices. Jackson’s brother was also
killed. Then, three days before trial was to 
begin in the correctional officer murder case, Jackson was gunned down
in the upper yard at San Quentin Prison in 
another foiled escape attempt on a day of unparalleled violence in the
prison that left three officers and three inmates 
dead in an earlier riot that reports indicate also involved Jackson.



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