NAACP Condemns the Decision to Execute Stanley Williams

Bruce S. Gordon, President and CEO, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) said today, "Governor Schwarzenegger made the wrong decision. He had an opportunity to send a message of mercy and hope. He failed to do it. His decision lacked courage and smelled of politics."

Over the weekend, the state Supreme Court rejected several claims by Williams' defense and denied Williams a stay. One claim came from a former inmate who says he can confirm allegations that police framed Williams and that an informant working against Williams had a history of violent crimes and manipulated the facts in the case.

A statement released by Governor Schwarzenegger stated, "There is no need to rehash or second guess the myriad of findings of the courts over 24 years of litigation." After outlining two decades of exhausted appeals, the document continued to cite the weight of evidence and was insensitive to the idea of redemption as a basis for the denial for clemency.

"I am both disappointed and angry about the governor's choice," said Gordon. "At the same time, he has reinforced my conviction to seek a moratorium on the death penalty until the criminal justice system no longer discriminates against people of color."

Williams' lawyers issued a motion for a stay hours before the execution asking Governor Schwarzenegger "to stay the execution in the interests of justice for all Californians."

The motion stated the denial appeared, in the end, to be based on Williams' refusal to confess to crimes of which he claims he is innocent. Additionally the document explains there were three witnesses, Gordon Von Ellerman, Melvin Farmer, Jr. and Steven Irvin, who all came forward in the past week with exculpatory evidence, provided in sworn statements.

NAACP California State Conference President Alice Huffman has been a strong supporter in the fight to save Williams' life. In a statement issued after the decision, Huffman said, " We are deeply saddened by the Governor's decision to not grant clemency to Stanley Tookie Williams…We believe that Stanley Tookie Williams' life has value above any notion of an "eye for an eye", which is the premise of the death penalty. Obviously, the Governor believes otherwise."

Williams maintained his innocence of the crimes for which he was condemned to die and said in a recently published editorial, "God's gift of redemption revivifies my life. I inhale redemption and exhale joie de vivre. That's why I do not fear death."

Gordon said, "Stanley Williams demonstrated that people who do wrong can learn to do right. For that, Governor Schwarzenegger responded with execution. I intend to make sure that Stan's voice is not silenced. His message can still be delivered."

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