No Mercy for Tookie

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California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has denied the clemency petition for former Crips gang leader Stanley Tookie Williams.

Schwarzenegger:

After studying the evidence, searching the history, listening to the arguments and wrestling with the profound consequences, I could find no justification for granting clemency.

Unless a federal court intervenes, Williams will be executed shortly after midnight for murdering four people.

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  1. Awk! Awk! Tookie-tookie!

  2. “After studying the evidence, searching the history, listening to the arguments and wrestling with the profound consequences, I could find no justification for granting clemency.”

    Translated: “I am in deep trouble politically and I can’t afford loosing the “law & order” voters by being lenient with this guy.”

    (Remember folks, it sounds even funnier when you say it in Ah-nold’s Austrian beefcake accent.)

    Killing Tookie won’t make the world a better place. On the other hand, all the kiddie books and speeches won’t make up for the crimes he’s committed. What’s a society to do?

  3. “Clemency cases are always difficult and this one is no exception,” Schwarzenegger said.

    Actually, Arnold, many clemency cases are very simple.

  4. Whatever one thinks of the death penalty in general, the idea of killing someone in cold blood for something they did twenty-five years ago seems grossly inappropriate. Of course, we also have to think of the children: last night they/we killed a guy who spent the last ten years writing nice childrens’ books and working against gang violence. Explain that to your seven-year-old.
    It’ll certainly teach convicted murderers not to bother attempting to better themselves, no matter how they try, or how successful they are.

  5. What took them so long? Killed a clerk and a family. Finally, some closure for the victims’ families and loved ones. I hope this piece of crap rots in hell.

  6. Here is a good argument for why justice should be swift. Had it been, we wouldn’t be hand-wringing now.

  7. Yeah, did it 25 years ago…and has been appealing ever since which is why this took so long. And I’m fine with that, we have a robust appeals process for a reason.

    I’m against the death penalty, but I can’t find that much sympathy for Tookie “WHOO CRIPS!” Williams. Why don’t these activists get behind the Maye case?

  8. Well played Arnold. This was a simple clemency case. No politician in his right mind would have granted this monster clemency. But Arnold somehow manipulated the media into thinking there was something to see here. And then, when he makes the inevitable popular decision, he looks like a hero who stood up for justice against the the onslaught of pressure from the Hollywood elite and French. intellectuals.

  9. I’m basically anti-death penalty but I’m also not particularly impressed with the “but Tookie’s a humanitarian, dammit” lunacy from the so far largely ineffective anti-death penalty folks who think they can gain traction by accusing lawmakers of murder (as former B.J. Hunnycut(sp?) Mike Farrel did last week on NPR).

    While I sincerely wish them some success, I DO hope they try on some more successful tactics in the future as so far everything they’ve tried has largely failed.

    Anyway, imagine my surprise upon googling around for some facts on the case against the *ahem* esteemed mr. williams.

    Seems (of all people) a Village Voice writer named Marc Cooper summed it up for me. This little snippet putting Tookie’s redmption and good works in some perspective…

    “In my ledger books, that might?I repeat, might?balance out the wholesale evil that Williams has wrought earlier in life. Ask me what I feel about him, and if in a generous mood, I would stay coldly and begrudgingly neutral. Ask me to celebrate him, however, and I?m likely to go the other way. While his sentence stems from the murder of four individuals, any judgment of Tookie Williams, the man, must also weigh the terminated lives of literally hundreds of poor, black youth who had no trials, no appeals and no defense campaigns before they were summarily executed by the Crips? shooters.

    Village Voice…whodathought…

  10. what exactly is “closure”? how does it help?

  11. Geoff,

    We’ll just tell the kids he was a smoker and a bad roll model and had to die.

  12. The link, BTW, in case you’re interested is

  13. Death Cab for Tookie?

  14. Whatever one thinks of the death penalty in general, the idea of killing someone in cold blood for something they did twenty-five years ago seems grossly inappropriate. Of course, we also have to think of the children: last night they/we killed a guy who spent the last ten years writing nice childrens’ books and working against gang violence. Explain that to your seven-year-old.
    It’ll certainly teach convicted murderers not to bother attempting to better themselves, no matter how they try, or how successful they are.

    Man, are you f’d up.

    The problem here is that they didn’t fry him in 1985.

    And here’s the lesson for my 10-year-old: If you don’t want to die by the needle, then don’t summarily execute innocent people with a shotgun.

  15. VM, you owe me a keyboard!

  16. “last night they/we killed a guy who spent the last ten years writing nice childrens’ books and working against gang violence.” – Geoff Nathan

    Maybe Alvin Owen would have liked to have some children to read nice childrens books to. Maybe
    Yee Chen Lin would have liked to have a family and read some nice books to her chilren. Maybe Thsai-Shai Yang and Yen-I Yang would have like to read some nice children’s books to their grand-children. We’ll never know. But at least Williams spent the last ten years writing those nice childrens books. Thanks Tookie.

    “I’m against the death penalty, but I can’t find that much sympathy for Tookie “WHOO CRIPS!” Williams. Why don’t these activists get behind the Maye case?” – Timothy.

    Exactly on both counts. There are lots of death penalty cases that cry out for some protesting – but the activists always seem to pick the worst ones. BTW, I’m not against the death penalty on principle, but in, pardon the pun, execution. It’s an awesome power that we should probably not cede to a corrupt state. But in principle – you end someones life, hopes, and dreams… Fuck you, good-bye.

  17. what exactly is “closure”? how does it help?

    This is interesting. Part of the same interview on NPR made a point that the “closure” in these cases comes from whatever finality is struck.

    If the final act is an execution, then there is no closure for family until after the 15 plus years of repeated appeals and attempts for commutation until the act of execution is finally carried out.

    If the sentance, on the other hand, were life in prison without possibility of parole, the folks at DeathPenaltyFocus.org argue that “closure” would begin at the sentence.

    I have been mulling that one since last week and think they may have a point.

  18. Tookie Williams is an interesting subject in the death penalty debate. His example can be used to validate both sides. On the one hand, he was once a brutal, unprincipled, thug. He committed countless unspeakable acts, and built a criminal organization upon fear and violence. Any tragedy inherent in his execution is overwhelmed by the many vicious acts which can be laid at his feet.

    On the other hand. Tookie has undeniably matured during the time of his incarceration. While one can legitimately question his motives, his actions in recent years have unquestionably demonstrated education and nuance as well as advancing the cause of peace. The man who is to be executed is not the same man who committed the crimes which supposedly justify the execution.

    I am against the death penalty, but I have no sympathy for Tookie Williams. He is one of the few people who seem to have benefited from years of incarceration. I say let him stay there. But I wouldn’t single him out, clemency for Tookie would mean clemency for everyone.

  19. Wasn’t there a story a few years ago where it turned out that Texas had inadvertently executed a bunch of innocent people due to shoddy investigations?

    Why is it that people who disagree with the death penalty aren’t screaming about those injustices, which are infinitely more damaging to the concept of the death penalty, instead of picking out some thug (reformed or not) who should have been killed at the time he committed the crime, ideally by the intended victims?

    Seriously.

    WTF?

  20. Closure means a lot of things. It means closure to criminal proceedings, retrials, appeals and so forth. Closure means no more suffering by these murderers’ existence. It means putting the tragedy behind them. It means no possibility of escape, no possibility of murdering others. It means retribution, not disrespecting the memory of the dead victims. It means respecting life, because we value life so much that we’re willing to kill people who murder others.

  21. Oh, and closure also means not being a fucken pussy.

  22. Why is it that people who disagree with the death penalty aren’t screaming about those injustices, which are infinitely more damaging to the concept of the death penalty, instead of picking out some thug (reformed or not) who should have been killed at the time he committed the crime, ideally by the intended victims?

    It’s the difference between attacking methods of applying the death penalty (which is not really an attack on the death penalty itself) and attacking the entire idea of it on oral grounds. The different cases represent different problems people have with the death penalty.

    [C]losure also means not being a fucken pussy.

    That’s one they’ll be quoting for years to come.

  23. Wow. Moral grounds, that is.

  24. Zach: The point is that if your goal is the elimination of the death penalty, it would make more bloody sense to protest things other people are likely to find egregious, shocking, or otherwise agree with you on. Most of America isn’t going to be jumping on the Tookie bandwagon, but they just might get on the Maye bandwagon if it got enough attention, same thing with those executed innocent Texans. With goals and limited resources, it makes the most sense to do things that have the highest probability of acheiving your goals.

  25. One death is careless; four is mass murder. The death penalty is apt…to bad it took them so long to do it.

    BTW check out who is in favour of clemency…you want to be associated with them?

  26. I’m all for debate, but this thread is disgusting. Would the howlers and trolls please just go back where they came from? The grown-ups would like to talk.

  27. Showbiz is right. Worst of all by Arnold, who gave way too much credence to the Williams case by actually considering it at all.

  28. Murders are commonplace. I say execute Tookie for making it unsafe for any of us to wear the wrong color bandana.

    But break his legs first, so he can be a real Crip.

  29. Sorry Number 6.
    You are right, of course.

    The whole thing rubs me the wrong way.

    The original acts of violence.
    Government posturing.
    Media preening.

  30. What sucks is the appeals process will suffer from this. “why did it take 25 years?” will be the question. “Because of long drawn out attempts to prolong his execution through repeated appeals,” will be the answer. Response: “lets do away with those appeals.”

    Get ready for the Speedy Death Penalty Act of 2006 or 2007 (my bet is 2007, make it an election issue). All death warrants must be issued within 30 days of sentence at the trial court, and execution must follow within 30 days of the signing of the death warrant.

    Sensenbrenner and Hatch will propose it. Since state executions involve interstate commerce (see Raich) it will apply to federal and state death penalties.

  31. >In a word — showbiz

    >With goals and limited resources, it makes the most sense to do things that have the highest probability of acheiving your goals.

    Yeah, it doesn’t make sense, but in Tookie’s case in particular I think it is about “showbiz.” That is, the Tookie case is glamorous and involves heavy drama, because Tookie is notorious, having founded an LA gang known the world over due to the dissemination of “gangsta” culture. Then he turned himself around, got educated, got nominated for the Pulitzer. You can want clemency for Tookie and show your literary credentials by reading his books. How much more dramatic can it get? What better test case for liberal ideals about the potential for reform of criminals, particularly those from the African-American underclass? Some nobody from Mississippi is downright boring compared to Tookie.

    Now Mumia, I don’t know much about. Except that based on anything I’ve ever read, the case for freeing him is based on lies. (I just happen not to remember what his case is…)

    I think a lot of the rabble rousers re: Mumia don’t really have goals beyond establishing and trading on their own credibility as radicals within their limited social circles. Establishing strategic goals and pursuing them rationally is a lot of work and probably not worth it for people who seek only the validation of their peers.

  32. Actually, if there’s one thing capital punishment should make crystal clear, at least to libertarians, is the moral illegitimacy of the “criminal justice system” as presently constituted.

    Consider it: here we have a case of four (well, actually, lots and lots, but let’s stick to the capital case) individuals who were harmed by this “Tookie” creature. Who are the aggrieved parties here? The four (and by extension, their survivors).

    But who gets the “first bite at the apple” in terms of remedy? Not them: the Sovereign (be it State, “The Crown,” “The People” or whomever). In every instance, this translates, in realpolitik, to the politicians, whose widdle feewins are hurt that someone out there DARED violate their holy pronouncements (“laws”).

    In fact, in many cases (most especially capital ones), the Sovereign, having placed itself in the front of the line as principal aggrieved, like a first leinholder effectively blocks any “subordinate” from collecting. If the man’s dead… what can they get out of him? (If he had any sort of estate, they’d probably have gotten what they could via civil proceedings.)

    Were there any justice in the world, the families of the four in question would, quite literally, OWN “Tookie’s” fat black ass.

    JMJ

  33. closure also means not being a fucken pussy.

    Hmmm…that’s it. We should execute people so that we don’t appear weak. After all, only a pussy would have a moral problem with execution. And conversely, of course, if you have a moral problem with execution, that makes you a pussy.

    Nice to know you feel our moral development should stop at the 4th grade, AJTALL.

  34. guy in the back row,

    best commment all day in H&R

  35. One thing – purely observational, mind you – that’s always fascinated me about the Capital punishment Bebate is that folks that are for capital punishment are often against abortion. While folks that are against capital punishment are often pro-choice/pro-abortion.

    The only group that seems to be consistently against both is the Vatican.

  36. Of course, we also have to think of the children: last night they/we killed a guy who spent the last ten years writing nice childrens’ books and working against gang violence. Explain that to your seven-year-old.
    It’ll certainly teach convicted murderers not to bother attempting to better themselves, no matter how they try, or how successful they are.

    Something I’ve always wondered. People talk about how X and Y condemned murderers have “bettered themselves” and talk about forgiveness (I remember that being harped on during the Karla Tucker idiocy a few years back)…but they never say “s/he shouldn’t be executed – s/he should be freed!” No, they’re happy to leave these “reformed” people rotting in jail…

  37. what exactly is “closure”? how does it help?

    I will explain this to you.

    Later.

    I promise.

    Not now, but at another time.

  38. The point of the criminal justice system is not to prove to the rest of the country or the world that those making the decisions are not pussies. That is just silly.

    I remain opposed to the death penalty mainly because I do not like the idea of the state having the power to take the lives of its citzenry. Call me a libertarian.

    Furthermore it is a too-final resolution to so many really borderline cases. It is easy to say, “Well in the case of Tookie, there was no question about his guilt . . .” But (un)fortunately that is not the way the law is constructed. We do not write legislation for individuals. We write legislation for general application.

  39. One thing – purely observational, mind you – that’s always fascinated me about the Capital punishment Bebate is that folks that are for capital punishment are often against abortion. While folks that are against capital punishment are often pro-choice/pro-abortion.

    This comes up very often. I have boiled the explanation down to four words (I could do three, but I like the emphasis here better):

    Innocent. Criminal. Not same.

  40. Viking Moose: Death Cab for Tookie?

    I wet ’em.

  41. “Wasn’t there a story a few years ago where it turned out that Texas had inadvertently executed a bunch of innocent people due to shoddy investigations?”

    Actually, you may be thinking of Illinois. I believe their govenor called for a suspension of that state’s death penalty a few years ago on those grounds.
    Texas gets a lot of flack from death penalty foes because it has probably done more executions since capitol punishment was re-instated than any other state. Also, because George Bush was govenor and he is just anathema to certain types of lefty liberals.
    There have been allegations of procedural screw-ups in Texas cases and of people being unfairly convicted. But I don’t personally remember any where the perpetrators were alleged not to have committed the crime. Usually it is an allegation that the individual was “innocent” by reason of insanity or mental retardation.
    I don’t know about other states, but in Texas one has to commit two felonies for it to be considered a capital offense and even elligable for the death penalty. For example: rape AND murder or robbery AND murder. Simple murder will not bring the death penalty except for the case of killing a prison guard or a cop, I believe. But that would not be considered simple murder.
    I certainly am no expert on Texas law, but I do know that in Texas the supreme penalty can be meted out ONLY by the jury and in a separate hearing.

  42. Justice is about giving people what they are owed. Tookie took the lives of 4 innocent people. He can never pay back that debt to those individuals or society. He owes everything he has, including his life, in compensation. There might be good reasons in other cases for society not to demand full compensation, but there is no such reason here. That’s retribution.

    Fry the bastard; that’s what he deserves.

  43. Reg:

    See my post at 18:19.

    JMJ

  44. Oops! I guess that should have been “eligible” and “governor”. (I wouldn’t want a certain Utopian to have a hissy fit about my spelling again.)

  45. Writing effectively from prison is the surest sign of rehabilitation and redemption. Let the man go.

  46. I’ve been converted, in large part because of this board and the stories we’ve seen, that the death penalty should be abolished.

    It does, however, exist.

    Because it does, I tend to form an opinion on the justice of the execution, based on individual circumstances.

    My opinion is that Tookey is as or more deserving of execution as anyone else who has been sentenced to death.

    Had he been sentenced to life in prison (because there was no death penalty), I’d be satisfied.

  47. Hmmm….Well said, jf.

  48. But “jt” – the “satisfaction” isn’t morally yours (or any politican’s) to be had.

    The aggrieved parties here (and, once again, I’m sticking to the capital case, as presented) are the four dead people and, by extension, their survivors. They, and they alone, are morally entitled to remedy.

    How, prey tell, were you harmed? How was Daddy Republican or Mommy Democrat?

    JMJ

  49. Remind me: how does taking this guy’s life “compensate” anyone? How are the victims and their families being made whole?
    I doubt there’s an answer beyond “It satisfies the family’s desire for revenge.”

  50. Were there any justice in the world, the families of the four in question would, quite literally, OWN “Tookie’s” fat black ass.

    JMJ

    Comment by: John M. Joy at December 12, 2005 06:19 PM

    John M.,
    While I will not go along with gratuitious, politically incorrect remarks about obesity, you are getting close to describing justice in an anarchic world.
    Under anarchy, justice would be swift. It might also get a little messy from time to time, but that is not a bad attribute in the overall scheme. In fact, I have railed many times here about pristine institutional justice. Pristine justice is a fools errand.

  51. JMJ:

    I’m going out on a limb and guess that since there was no “jt” on this thread, and since I mentioned being “satisfied” in my post, you were answering me.

    Tookie’s crime was not only against the 4 people he murdered, and their families, but against society as a whole. I don’t think it’s a discontinuity to be a libertarian and still believe that some acts can be not only injurious to an individual, but to the community. Take as an example the “D.C. Sniper” case from a few years ago. Yeah, he only killed 10 people, so would you argue that only the families of those victims (along with the wounded and families thereof) should be satisfaction at the punishment meted out to him (more properly, them)?

  52. I doubt there’s an answer beyond “It satisfies the family’s desire for revenge.”

    But just what sort of “revenge,” even, do they get? He’s being euthanized, for Dog’s sake – that’s something we do for our beloved family pets so they don’t suffer!

    Were the families to make “Tookie” wear, a la Jacob Marley, chains, and walk among the dregs of the inner city proclaiming himself as an example (or counterexample), perhaps they’d gain the satisfaction of at least knowing he was serving as an effective counterexample. But, once again, that’s not my call to make – it’s theirs because they – and not me, or the State or its various and sundry Party Animals, … – are the aggrieved parties here.

    The only ones winning here are the politicians, who get to declare: “Do as we say, or else THIS is what happens to you!”

    JMJ

  53. “The aggrieved parties here (and, once again, I’m sticking to the capital case, as presented) are the four dead people and, by extension, their survivors. They, and they alone, are morally entitled to remedy.

    How, prey tell, were you harmed? How was Daddy Republican or Mommy Democrat?”

    Your argument is a slippery slope, jmj. You’re basically saying that the deads’ “survivors” are entitled to dispense any and all retribution to the guilty party. While I can see where you’re coming from, it’s just too ugly to have a tit-for-tat system of justice, in terms of civil order. I’m hardly a statist, but I definitely think that this type of thing is better handled by the state, at least if we have a state at all. Otherwise the killing would never end.

  54. Tookie’s crime was not only against the 4 people he murdered, and their families, but against society as a whole. […]

    Society, as a whole, is not an aggrieved party, nor can it be (unless you’re discussing, say, a country attacked – and I mean actually attacked – by a weapon such as a nuclear device). To suggest otherwise is to countenance collectivism.

    The best “society” could claim is some (probably intangible) reduction in “comfort level” – i.e. something approaching an analogue to physical malaise.

    And, yes, I hate to break it to you, sunshine, but… bottom line is, YOU are responsible for your own protection (and, yes, even under the present system, there is ample case law to back this up).

    JMJ

  55. Society, as a whole, is not an aggrieved party, nor can it be (unless you’re discussing, say, a country attacked – and I mean actually attacked – by a weapon such as a nuclear device). To suggest otherwise is to countenance collectivism.

    Would you then argue against laws prohibiting bribing a public offical? Considering, as you’ve argued, that society cannot be an aggrieved party.

  56. Your argument is a slippery slope, jmj. You’re basically saying that the deads’ “survivors” are entitled to dispense any and all retribution to the guilty party.

    Not necessarily. I’m not closing off the idea of a state-based system for mitigating such matters – and under such a system there could easily be regulations requiring some measure of humanity.

    On the other hand, even the Thirteenth Amendment, as written here and now, is clear: Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, […]

    The case of some rotten murdering bastard is CLEARLY, by its very language, an exception to human “ownership” – and, frankly, if we’re to accept the proposition that conviction deprives one of the ordinary civil rights, then surely that of self-ownership, the most fundamental right of all, is on the table in the most serious cases. So why not give the grieving families their two hundred some-odd pounds of flesh here?

    JMJ

  57. Society, as a whole, is not an aggrieved party, nor can it be

    The how come it’s called a “debt to society?”

    The flaw in your argument is that in choosing to live in a society by society’s rules (law), you forfeit any claim to individual dispensation of justice in favor of justice meted out according to those same laws.

    Call it “collectivism” if you want but I think you’re trying to turn social contract theory into communism and it’s, at best, a strange contortion.

    Yes, you are entitled to your own protection. But at the point you’re not defending yourself or others in imminent danger, you’re courting a muder conviction…and there’s ample case law to back up that one too.

  58. Gawd, this is so legalistic, but…

    Would you then argue against laws prohibiting bribing a public offical? Considering, as you’ve argued, that society cannot be an aggrieved party.

    Technically, “society” isn’t the aggrieved party; the “crown corporation” (governmental agency) in question whose “mission” is being stymied by the bribery, is. (Yeah, this is, admittedly, a stinky – but true – answer.) Of course, should the bribery instigate a libel… well, that’s a whole ‘nother matter.

    JMJ

    P.S. Since I have a real job/life/… and have to get up early tomorrow to tend to them, I’m going to bed, so don’t be offended if I don’t answer. As to the “society” as offended party issue goes: come on, Good Boys and Girls of the various anarco-capitalist schools, feel free to jump in here…

  59. (Um, okay, one last quickie for tonight…)

    […] social contract theory […]

    “Social contract theory” is a vile crock of shit.

    Produce my signature on any such “social contract.”

    JMJ

  60. To further the social contract/collectivist angle a little, while some social contract types are collectivist in nature, most libertarians and their ilke are more attuned to Locke’s brand of it which was far more individualistic in nature.

    In any case, I see nothing collectivist in allowing a legal system to mete out justice on my behalf according to due process.

  61. We already have a process for individuals to pursue restoration for themselves – the civil justice system.

  62. JMJ
    Jesus Mary & Joseph?

    In any case, the whole criminal justice system was founded to get away from the family fueds that resulted from the family getting justice. It leads to a lot of murders and whatnot as each side “gets justice” for the last bit of justice dispensed at night with an AK-47 (or beating stick and/or knife, depending on the historical era). Not a fun system. No thanks.

  63. It’ll certainly teach convicted murderers not to bother attempting to better themselves, no matter how they try, or how successful they are.

    Won’t somebody PLEASE think of the convicted murders?

    *pulls out hair*

  64. It belatedly occurs to me that my comment of December 12, 2005 07:07 PM, answers only the first half of the question that madpad raises — the half that I’ve become used to seeing raised over and over again. Apologies, madpad.

    I have no answer for the second half.

  65. It belatedly occurs to me that my comment of December 12, 2005 07:07 PM, answers only the first half of the question that madpad raises — the half that I’ve become used to seeing raised over and over again. Apologies, madpad.

    I have no answer for the second half.

    Comment by: Stevo Darkly at December 12, 2005 10:04 PM

    I think it boils down to just not wanting individuals to have any say over their own lives, souls or destiny. The Roman Catholic Church to my thinking has always reveled in keeping the “human condition” as miserable as possible. I guess that people who have already been beaten to their knees by Life are more amenable to having “faith”. What the hell do they have left to lose?

  66. FOR TOOKIE
    THEY SNUFFED OUT YOUR FLAME, DISGRACED YOU IN SHAME. DID YOU DESERVE WHAT YOU HAD?, HELL YES!
    YOU CREATED DISEASE IN YOUR COMMUNITY THAT EXTINGUISHED SO MANY BRIGHT FLAMES.
    DID YOU DESERVE WHAT YOU GOT? HELL WHAT A SHAME! THE ONLY ONE WHO COULD HAVE MADE A CHANGE IN THAT KID FULL OF PAIN. DON’T PICK UP THAT GUN! JUST WALK AWAY.
    YOU DON’T NEED COLORS, EXPRESS YOUR OWN RAGE, USE THE MEDIA AS THEY HAVE USED YOU. GET IT?
    GOOD!
    DON’T WALK IN HIS SHOES HE TRIED TO TELL YOU!
    LISTEN!
    BUT WAIT! HE’S BLACK, HE’LL HAVE TO PAY!
    MAYBE HE DID IT, MAYBE HE DIDN’T. BUT THAT DON’T MATTER ANYWAY. WHAT MATTERS IS THE MONEY AND THE POWER STEAMROLLER JUST SNUFFED OUT THE VOICE THAT MIGHT HAVE MADE A CHANGE, KEPT YOUR SON OR DAUGHTER FROM WEARING THE COLORS, FROM PICKING UP THAT GUN, ” LOOK AT ME, IS THIS WHAT YOU WANT?”
    WE HEAR YOU AND WE WILL NOT FORGET
    JOHNNY

  67. Innocent. Criminal. Not same.

    Unless of course it’s pre-baptism, in which case everyone is guilty. Maybe that was Tookie’s problem, his sin wasn’t original. It’s a damn shame creativity came too late.

    Let’s see, I know it’s here somewhere…ah, here it is, right between shit and syphilis.

  68. I committed an original sin. I poked a badger with a spoon.

  69. Looking at the latest Yahoo! story…

    Williams’ case became one of the nation’s biggest death-row cause celebres in decades. It set off a nationwide debate over the possibility of redemption on death row, with Hollywood stars and capital punishment foes arguing that Williams had made amends by writing children’s books about the dangers of gangs.

    Well yes, cause celebre. But why?

    As far as redemption goes, the man murdered 4 people in cold blood. A jury of his peers sentenced him to death. The appeals process found no reason to overturn his sentence.

    So, obviously, Arnold is the bad guy here.

    I’m just happy that nobody on this board has made THAT argument.

  70. “The governor’s 96-hour wait to give an answer was a cowardly act and was tortuous,” said former “M A S H” star Mike Farrell, a death penalty opponent. “I would suggest that had he the courage of his convictions he could have gone over to San Quentin and met with Stanley Williams himself and made a determination rather than letting his staff legal adviser write this garbage.”

    I knew there was a reason I preferred “Trapper John” McIntyre to B.J. The best Mike Farrell moment ever was when Stuttering John interviewed him, and Farrell was reduced to calling John an “idiot” and a “moron”.

  71. Well Tookie will be the best kind of murderer soon….A DEAD ONE!!! GET THE NEEDLE FLOWING!!!

  72. Killing Tookie won’t make the world a better place I dunno, let’s try it and see.

  73. It’ll certainly teach convicted murderers not to bother attempting to better themselves, no matter how they try, or how successful they are.

    Yeah, because every convicted murderer is a scumbag on par with Tookie. Now, if it convinces one wannabe gang-former/shopkeeper murderer to chose another path…

    The fact is, Tookie was sentenced to death long ago. I doubt that part of the sentencing was “now, if you decide to reform yourself and teach the chillun’s right from wrong, we’ll reconsider this sentence”.

    And to whoever mentioned the utter hypocrisy of the celebs wailing for Tookie but ignoring Cory Maye, it’s a point scored, but it won’t get Maye off Death Row soon enough. If I were a prayin’ man, I’d be hitting my knees every night that Maye gets off of Death Row, in the first step to regaining his freedom and eventually getting what’s coming to him from that pigfucking state that had the balls to send a paramilitary force into his home for no reason.

  74. I just googled up some info on Maye’s story. That is some of the most infuriating shit I’ve heard.

    I need a drink…

  75. Took, Took, Tookie,…goodbye!
    Took, Took, Tookie,…don’t cry!

  76. On the other hand. Tookie has undeniably matured during the time of his incarceration. While one can legitimately question his motives, his actions in recent years have unquestionably demonstrated education and nuance as well as advancing the cause of peace. The man who is to be executed is not the same man who committed the crimes which supposedly justify the execution. – Warren

    I don’t know if that’s actually true. He’s made outward attempts at reformation, true, but I wouldn’t call them an undeniable sign of a maturation. A press release from the California Department of Corrections said that he was running things in the prison through lieutenants, and was also receiving large sums of money from god knows where. It’s quite possible the books he’s written may just be a smokescreen, and he never really left the life behind at all.

  77. In any case, I see nothing collectivist in allowing a legal system to mete out justice on my behalf according to due process.

    I’m sorry you don’t. However, permitting a system that considers the violations of its rules, as such, as opposed to the actual harm which may come to actual victims, is to permit a system that can, and does, vigorously prosecute such flagrant violations of its authority as, say, smoking weed. You’ve opened the gates.

    JMJ
    Jesus Mary & Joseph?

    Um, ha.

    In any case, the whole criminal justice system was founded to get away from the family fueds that resulted from the family getting justice.

    Um, no. The US legal system flows from the British, which derived from the feudal land system (perhaps the “feud” part is what had you confused), and had more to do with the King consolidating power. In Commonwealth countries, as I recall (correction, anyone?), prosecutions are still brought explicitly as offenses against the Crown, as in “Crown vs.” or “Regina vs.”

    And, incidentally, saying that the sovereign has no moral right to the first “bite at the apple” is NOT the same as saying, “hey, let’s chuck the entire legal system out the window.” While the anarco-capitalist argument could be made, so could one in favor of – what would you call it? – “criminal tort” cases (for lack of a better term – I’m admittedly not a lawyer).

    JMJ

  78. what exactly is “closure”?

    Well, my semi-cynical take on it is that closure means that other people will henceforth be less solicitous towards your grief & at that point expect you to put it behind you and get on with your life. Whether or not you can do that is something that seems to be left out of concept, at least as far as the sort of superficial way the term gets used in the news media. Of course anyone who’s ever experienced emotional pain knows how long it can linger, far past the point when anyone else wants to hear about it.

  79. “In any case, the whole criminal justice system was founded to get away from the family fueds that resulted from the family getting justice. It leads to a lot of murders and whatnot as each side “gets justice” for the last bit of justice dispensed at night with an AK-47 (or beating stick and/or knife, depending on the historical era). Not a fun system. No thanks. ”

    You’re going to have to provide some historical examples of this, and add them up.

    Once you hit the 200 million mark that states have wracked up in killing their own citizens over the last century, you’ll start to convince me. Until then, I’ll call BS.

    Much of what you think life was like pre-state was taught to you by unapologetic fans of the state (iow, liberals). Some time, read what the “Wild West” was really like, not the Hollywood version. Read about ancient Ireland and Iceland. The parade of horribles that the apologists claim will occur are hyperbole.

  80. No cookie for Tookie.

  81. quasibill,

    Perhaps you are right that at certain points of history in sparsely populated enclaves, people lived this noble live-and-let-live existence.

    But the reality is that as an area become more populated – by people, opinions, desires, options, etc. – a less intuitive and more structured set of rules starts to arise so that everyone can start playing by the same set of them.

    In response to your shot at liberals, it’s been my obervation that conservatives are just as likely as liberals to initiate such changes and just as likely to color history inaccurately to suit their own ends.

    Both sides are notorious for telling only half the story. That that is not now obvious to you in light of the past few years of well-documented pervarication on the part of both libs & cons is somewhat troubling.

  82. There are many historical examples of extra-legal “justice” being dispensed, often tragically. One might suppose that the royal families that arose throughout the world often started as aggressive clans arguing with other agressive clans. No doubt their claims of injustice were often specious and capricious.

    Check out Germany, Ireland & Scotland in the dark ages for some perspective.

    And though they were “family fueds”, lynchings and other bits of mob “justice” were a factor in the old west and the old south.

    No doubt they won’t hit your arbitrary 200 million mark in terms of volume, but they nonethless convince me I’d rather have a legal system capabable of gathering, analyzing and presenting facts in determining my guilt or innocence above an angry mob or family with no such rational underpinnings.

    My guess is that you probably would too.

  83. madpad,

    you mistook my intent for that barb. I knew I responding to a conservative. So I tailored my response, but the reality is that most public school teachers (i know, you can’t assume everyone went to public school, but most did) are liberal leaning, if not outright militant. I know – my wife is a teacher, and I’ve hung out with her co-workers from three different schools. There was one religious conservative, and no libertarian in the whole lot.

    If you’ve seen any of my posts here at H&R, you would know that I am far from a Republican (in fact, me about 5 years ago would be indistinguishable from joe). In fact, my most common comments on this site are critical of the war on Iraq and anyone who supports it.

    So it is quite obvious to me that both sides are adept at spinning for the state.

    As for your observations of history, none of them require the creation of a state to provide law and order. And as I noted, states have killed many times more citizens (even excluding the horrific wars they have fought!) than the Hatfields and McCoys could ever have hoped. Furthermore, the Hatfields and McCoys had to pay the price for their unending idiocy. On the other hand, we get to pay for the unending idiocy of the modern state, whether we agree or not (see the 7 billion a month hole known as Iraq).

  84. ” Ireland ”

    actually, Ireland would be a great counter-example, were you to actually read about it instead of relying on false impressions.

    “No doubt they won’t hit your arbitrary 200 million ”

    Nothing arbitrary about it – that the number of their own citizens states have killed in the last century. Again, this number excludes wars, it only includes the genocides and pogroms.

    “My guess is that you probably would too”

    Yep – I just realize that a state is not in any way necessary to provide those services. And in fact, the state can only provide those services when people actually value them in the first place – see Iraq, again, as an example, of what happens when people value something else more highly than law and order.

    Note that we, as a country, don’t just invade Mexico and Canada to grab their resources. There’s no doubt we could do it, militarily. And there’s no sovereign that could hope to punish us for it. So why don’t we? Because we, as a people, (yes, even the hawks who favor the idiocy in Iraq) cherish peace and the enhanced standard of living and other benefits it brings. So, in the absence of a state, we would still cherish them, and pay for them willingly. Insurance companies would be more than capable of providing similar levels of service to what we have now. And they’d be no more likely to go to war with each other than we are with Canada and Mexico.

  85. Quasibill,

    Sorry for missing the hint of facetiousness in your post.

    We could hash Ireland all day long (I’m of Irish heritage and know Irish history reasonably well). As for the rest of your last post I’ll give it some martini time.

    Way sure I don’t agree but nonetheless intrigued enough by the prospect of a market alternative to a legal justice system.

    I have my own problems with our current justice system and how it appears to opeerate everytime I run across a Maye-type issue. But I’m not sure a market solution would present any superior alternatives.

    The sole problem (as I see it) with market based solutions is that fairness and solutions based on fact are replaced with advantages going to whoever has either more money or better marketing capacity.

    As an entreprenuer (I have my own graphics and marketing business), while I appreciate forays into market solutions, for certain enterprises, I just plain don’t have confidence in the idea.

    For some things – like armies, legal systems and police forces – esprit de corp and high ideals are often integral and something I believe protects the enterprise and (by extension) society. It may not prevent bad apples but I do believe it minimizes them.

    I don’t believe a market-based solution would value or incorporate these (as I see it) important elements as effectively. Even if the market demanded it.

    I’m not saying you’re wrong – you’ve covered some wide-ranging areas. Just giving my armchair reaction and saying “this requires some consideration on my part.”

  86. Looking back, I don’t think I was clear about what I found objectionable. I’ll clarify by way of an (admittedly silly) example.

    Locally, we have a TV news program featuring a meteorologist – let’s call him Weather Weenie – who does those “happy ads” announcements (birthdays, anniversaries, …). He often mispronounces names (badly), raising the ire of Traffic Girl. Well, awhile ago they initiated a bit whereby whenever Weather Weenie mangled someone’s name, he’d have to pay Traffic Girl a quarter.

    Okay, I know, it’s just a cutsey-poo bit between talking heads. Still and all, it always annoyed me: why should Traffic Girl be getting the damn quarter? It isn’t her name being mangled!

    Similarly, why should the Sovereign (whether Crown or “People,” i.e. politicians) be the principal offended party in a criminal case – especially given that prosecution of their “case” makes it much less likely the aggrieved would be able to make any themselves to receive restitution, and even more especially since it opens the door to illegitimate “crimes” like pot possession?

    JMJ

  87. So the “joy” in your name is a bit of a misnomer, is it? Just kidding.

    I’m not sure how one would even begin to establish anything approaching a system of fairness and justness (at least the current system pays lip service to the ideal if not occassionally acheiving it) with where you’re going with this.

    I guess all those Code-of-Hamurabi-and-Leviticus-types way back when that came up with the idea of a legal system to solve their own ‘administration of justice’ issues were all liberal weenies.

  88. I’m not sure how one would even begin to establish anything approaching a system of fairness and justness (at least the current system pays lip service to the ideal if not occassionally acheiving it) with where you’re going with this.

    Why not? We have a system of civil courts, don’t we? That is where the actual victims of crimes can go at present to attempt recovery of some sort of restitution.

    Trouble is: 1. as I’ve pointed out, the civil system is subordinate to the criminal system, i.e. the “offended Sovereign” gets the “first bite at the apple,” and, in many cases, the outcome (large fines, incarceration, and especially capital punishment) effectively precludes any sort of civil remedy (tough to pay a judgment from the pokey or the grave, of if all of your assets have been seized to pay a hefty fine); 2. civil court has no jurisdiction over the physical person, i.e. there’s this pseudo legal concept called “judgment proof” which means one has no attachable assets – this may be a fine circumstance for cases like ABC Bank collecting an old credit card debt or some such, but wouldn’t fly for a serious transgression like murder.

    So why not just dump the criminal court and give civil court teeth in what would, in the past, have been criminal cases? (This is one possible solution, and I’m sure there are others; I’m trying to stick as close to the conventional as possible, and leave it to the A-C crowd to make the market case.)

    One possible flaw: suppose the victim is dead and there’s no next of kin (or said next of kin is the defendant)? Perhaps the office of Attorney General could be morphed into the office of Victim Advocate, or some such, who could represent the victim in absentia. (Again, I’m erring to the side of conventionality.)

    JMJ

  89. The ghoulish glee displayed by some over the execution is a bit disturbing. I can’t help but note that many of the supporters seem to think he was executed for being a gangleader among other things. He wasn’t. Being a gangleader had nothing to do with it. Nothing.

    If you want to start justifiying executions with elements of the criminal’s life that fall outside the purview of the specific crimes for which he’s being executed, you’re going down a very dangerous slippery slope.

    nmg

  90. the euro press coverage is interesting.

    in austria they focused on the emotional argument against CapPun. in denmark, you got a surprising variety of comments, from their NY Times/WSJ “berlingske” to the WSJ/NY Post “Jylland’s Posten” were more matter-of-fact (the only obvious spin was to overplay the strength of the debate on CP here).

    sweden talked a bit in between, noting how they had problems finding a blood vessel.

    and norway was pissed, because she ordered a cheeseburger.

    and all mention how tookie was nominated for the nobel peace prize. which isn’t as surprising as one might think: Yassir got the fucking prize.

  91. its amusing that the same people wanting to spare murderers lives also want more funding for medicare and welfare and any other government give away even ones they want to become entitlements. How much money have we spent over the past 25 years to keep this piece of crap alive and on his appeals? How many others are there just like him on death row?

    While I don’t think the death penatly such be applied in all cases when it comes to cold blooded murder we need to kill them and i don’t give a rats ass if they are 13 or 65 years old. I don’t need to understand why they did what they did I just need to know they no longer breath. In cases where the murderer is without question guilty (ie that collin guy who shot up the subway then defended himself in court where he asked the people he shot, the ones still alive, to point to the person who shot them). In cases like this or where it may be on camera etc where there is no doubt of guilt why is there a hold up to get on with things? When the jury declares guilt the killer should be taken out back and shot or hung in public. If the jury declares not guilty we let them go that same day don’t we? We don’t allow 25 years of appeals by the victims in fact they can never be tried again. The reason the death penalty is not as detering is because they allow 25 more years of life for the killers via appeals. If you knew your ass would be swaying in the wind from a rope downtown soon afterwards might you not think past the tip of your nose before doing something that would put you there? Capital punishment may not deter murder but it damn sure gaurantees that individual will not do it again and thats good enough for me.

  92. “The sole problem (as I see it) with market based solutions is that fairness and solutions based on fact are replaced with advantages going to whoever has either more money or better marketing capacity.”

    Which, of course, isn’t so much different from now, where money makes all the difference in which judges get appointed/elected. And once there, there’s really no way of getting rid of bad ones.

    On the other hand, I certainly wouldn’t subscribe to an insurance company for law and order services if I felt that had a tendency to favor big money interests, as I’m sure you wouldn’t. Ditto for any hint of corruption (I would’ve immediately ended payments to any system that allowed a judge to rule on cases brought or represented by a relative, unlike our current system which has now repeatedly said there is nothing wrong with that situation).

    “For some things – like armies, legal systems and police forces – esprit de corp and high ideals are often integral and something I believe protects the enterprise and (by extension) society”

    I don’t know, I see much more negative to such perceived authority, like how local police constantly cover for each other’s crimes, or how they become small para-militaries, despite the fact that there is no need for such firepower in my area (if there is anywhere in the U.S.).

    I see nothing unique about law and security that makes it any different from any other service. If your interest is piqued, there are quite a few who have fully developed the ideas and published their work, and my arguments are just poor echoes of their work.

    As for Ireland, were the Brehons part of a state? Or were they independent actors, relying on their reputation for “customers”?

  93. As someone who barely, just barely, supports the death penalty, and as someone who lives in Texas, I think it would be good idea to automatically schedule a waiting period for any death penalty to be carried out, and that waiting period should be in years, as in at least 5. At that time, a new hearing could be conducted, and it would be decided whether or not the person would actually be executed, or the sentence commuted to life in prison. It would not revisit the innocence or guilt of the prisoner. I think a cooling off period would keep the politicians out of it a bit more, and would lead to a more sober consideration of whether or not this person should actually be terminated by the state. Mitigating factors, such as a a genuine effort at reform by the prisoner, would be considered.

  94. Don- Mitigating factors, such as a a genuine effort at reform by the prisoner, would be considered.

    You would feel this way if it were your family member that was murdered or yourself? Reform mitigating a murder please! In most instances you wouldn’t need the state to terminate someone just let the victims family do it.

    All I can really hope is that all the people who want clemency are the only ones who end up getting murdered by these animals. Sort of like the anti gunners, all I can hope is that the shooter takes aim at them first to give me time to unholster my gun!

    What won’t apologists apologize for anyway?

  95. After he was declared dead, his supporters shouted in unison: “The state of California just killed an innocent man,” as they walked out of the chamber.

    I don’t think so. The morality of the death peanlty may be open to question but death penalty opponents aren’t scoring any points with idiotic pronouncements like this.

  96. After he was declared dead, his supporters shouted in unison: “The state of California just killed an innocent man,” as they walked out of the chamber.

    I’ve been looking for something on the facts of the case in order to understand this lunacy. Found this and thought I’d share it.

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