T Nation

The Fate of Stanley 'Tookie' Williams


Care to tell me where I said that, exactly?


The fact that there are several prisoners being released due to DNA findings shows just how faulted our legal system is/was. While it may be better than many, it isn't as if racism, bigotry or pure ignorance on the part of jurors doesn't play a huge role in who gets convicted of what.


Or DOESN'T get convicted. You know shit like the OJ/Michael Jackson trial are just as fucked up.

It only takes 1 moron to get anyone a hung jury.


The jury thought differently...beyond a reasonable doubt.


I hold the opinion that money (or fame) is the only thing that seems to blur that line. I seriously doubt that if OJ was some average Joe from down the street that he would have gotten off.


First, if we go from that logic, we are moving into the realm of "Gee, anything's possible!"

And so the fact that you have a single interview with the person convicted of the crimes is somehow some compelling evidence of the "other side of the story"? And if you look at the PDF file link I provided, he has admitted to these in the past. The evidence was overwhelming. Other Crips involved testified to the fact that he did and even bragged about it.

As I pointed out in my original post, given the fact that the death penalty has a disproportionate application to minorities, so it's like not I'm not painfully aware of the fact that race does play a part in these kinds of cases.

However, one thing that should be pointed out is that a "jury of your peers" is not meant to be a race-based system where you cannot get a fair trial without 4 or 5 people of your own race on the jury. That's absurd. And despite what Williams claims in this interview, his jury was not all-white.


This is the part that gets me from the above link:

He looked Filipino? What difference could that even possibly make? And how about the fact that another juror was Latino? That certainly seems to fly in the face of an "all white jury", no?


So on a broader scale, do you ever think it's possible for a minority to get a fair criminal trial from a jury that is either mostly or all white? Or that in criminal cases, the prejudices/preconceptions will always win out?


I think it is more likely now in the year 2005-2006 for a black person (or other minority) to get a fair trial. I would imagine that any time before 1990 resulted in many minorities either being given harsher sentences or simply being convicted at all simply because they were a minority. It may take another 50 years for enough racist idiots who judge people based on appearance alone to die off for there to even be a concept of "a fair trial".

If one white guy and one black guy both commit the same crime but the white guy is not convicted because of appearance, I am not jumping for joy when I get statistics thrown at me showing how many black males are in jail. Remember that debate this past year in this forum?


Wouldn't it be nice if proof was actually more important than skin color? If it's an all white jury - black man fries. If it's an all black jury - black man walks out free. Same evidence, same testimony, different audience.

You are never going to get to real justice if the first thing the lawyers look at in Voir Dire is skin color.

So what to do?


Fair point.

Up until the past few months, I've stayed away from the Politics forum... but I actually have a recollection of that delightful little "debate". Not good times.

On a separate note, if he did do it, does the fact that he has (for lack of a better way of putting it) "done good things" in the community change whether he should be executed or not? That's the tricky question for me since (from my own faith) I think anyone can sincerely repent and change their ways and, in addition, I don't believe in the death penalty. But if you work from an assumption (or a hypothetical) of guilt in a crime like this, I just have a hard time finding much sympathy. (Yes, I know how inconsistent all of that is)


Belief in the death penalty aside...

Belief in racism being a factor in his conviction(s) aside.

Anyone here believe this dude is innocent of at least one of his murder convictions?

Then we can go from there about actually killing him.


I believe in the death penalty in very extreme cases. I am not for the act of killing anyone, however, the action of taking a life (especially if children are involved) needs an extreme deterrent. However, I do also hold the opinion that, unless you kill them immediately, letting them sit for years, decades or half a century allows them to change. Yes, someone can change over time. Anyone who believes otherwise is a dumbass. Hell, I am not the exact same person (intellectually or emotionally) that I was at 14 years of age.

I think society does play a role in shaping someone's character. Therefore, I believe that if someone is on death row for years, they should be allowed to prove their state of mind through psych evaluations (and actions over that time)and the penalty should be based on that depending on the severity. Killing a murderer will not bring anyone back from the dead. It also doesn't raise us above them aside from the one aspect of preventing SOME others from commiting the same crime.


This is the part that causes problems for some.

On the other hand, if you are on death row, wouldn't you do everything you could to stay alive... such as write childrens books and otherwise garner as much good publicity as possible?

No answers... only questions.


Not to completely hijack thread but
I've made this very same assumption with you and vroom re: our president and it was rebuffed.


Good point


Don't have anything to add to the discussion, just wanted to post a picture of him. Definaly looks like a bad mother fucker (not in the sense that he would kill people, but in the samuel jackson sense)


Shut yo mouth!


I'm talkin' about Tookie.

Then we can dig it!


This is an interesting point. While it does show technology wasn't perfect in the past, shouldn't this mean that convictions in the future that utilize DNA evidence are almost fool-proof, and thus be an argument for (or at least cancel an argument against) the death penalty on a going-forward basis?


I think this thread ignores one of the points of punishment in society, and that is the retribution effect. Allowing the government to prosecute and punish crimes is supposed to take the place of private retribution activity. If that is the case, then it doesn't matter whether someone reforms or writes children's books -- if he's a murderer, and the punishment he receives is the death penalty, then even if he sits on death row for 25 years he should still receive his sentence.

Here's a couple of good articles/posts defending the principle of retribution in the justice system:



BTW, this is a completely separate justification for government-imposed punishments than the protection of the citizenry, and neither is explicitly the one used for justification -- in other words, neither is explicitly the "right" theory. Rehabilitiation is another possible theory, though one that seems to have been rejected as a stand-alone goal (it fits much better with the "protect the citizens" theory than with the retribution theory).

Also, an aside: I could give a rat's butt about his Nobel nomination -- especially in the categories of literature and peace. Talk about politics -- I think he was nominated by some Swiss socialist member of parliament there.

And, of course, here are some past nominees of the Nobel ( http://nobelprize.org/peace/nomination/database.html ):

Mussolini (1935, by a French law professor, and by the law faculty at a German university);

Stalin (1948, by a Czech professor)(also, 1945 by a former Norweign foreign minister, although the minister only wrote that Stalin was qualified for the prize, and did not formally nominate him);

Kaiser Wilhelm II (1911, by the President of UC Berkeley; 1917, by a German professor and by a Turkish law faculty);

Hitler (1939, by a member of the Swedish parliament, although the nomination was withdrawn before the Committee considered it);

Alfred Ploetz (the founder of racial hygiene in Germany; 1936 by a Norwegian parliamentarian, for warning that war would harm biological reproduction);

Neville Chamberlin (somewhat plausibly in 1926 for his role in the Locarno Pact; less so in 1939, with 9 nominations for his role in the Munich Agreement).

Here's an LA Times story that looks at the reaction of the daughter of one of his victims to the Nobel nominations:



[i] Then four years ago, she said, she learned that Williams was alive and had been nominated for a Nobel Prize, and "it literally hit me like a ton of bricks."

"It literally almost destroyed my life because of my own anger," she said. "I was just flabbergasted. How could the man who co-founded the Crips be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. What in the world?"[/i]