November 22, 2005
Williams' Lawyers Allege Officials Are Smearing Him
They say police and prison personnel are engaged in misconduct to derail clemency bid.
By Henry Weinstein, Times Staff Writer
Police and prison officials have engaged in "official misconduct" in an attempt to block the clemency bid of death row inmate Stanley Tookie Williams, his lawyers alleged Monday.
In a letter to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the attorneys claimed that officials had joined in a smear campaign that spread untruths, including a prison official's claim that he suspected Williams of orchestrating gang crimes and the Fontana police's assertion that Williams fathered a known sex offender.
The conduct is "dishonorable and contrary to everything that justice in this country represents," the attorneys, led by Peter Fleming Jr. of New York, said on behalf of Williams, 51, a co-founder of the Crips gang and a four-time convicted murderer scheduled for execution Dec. 13.
Todd Slosek, a spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said "the department is not in a position to comment on a clemency plea filed by a condemned inmate's attorneys."
Sgt. William Megnney of the Fontana Police Department called the claim of a smear campaign "a bunch of bull."
Fontana police last week told reporters that Lafayette Jones, a known sex offender wanted for allegedly raping a 13-year-old girl, was Williams' son. The story was reported in The Times' Inland Empire edition Wednesday.
Williams' lawyers, however, attached an affidavit from Janice Anderson, who said she is Jones' mother and that the death row inmate is not his father.
Megnney said the department heard about Jones' family from a relative, but he added that the reliability of the report "really is irrelevant at this point."
Williams' attorneys also disputed a statement Thursday by Vernel Crittendon, a spokesman for San Quentin State Prison, that he suspected Williams of orchestrating gang crimes.
The letter said a 2004 San Quentin report had cleared Williams of gang involvement, commended the inmate on his "positive program" for 10 years and noted that Crittendon had access to the report. Also in the letter, Williams' attorneys once again urged Schwarzenegger to spare Williams' life on the basis of his anti-gang work behind bars. "The truth of his personal redemption, and his unceasing and successful efforts to reach our youth, is beyond challenge," the attorneys wrote.
A number of religious and political leaders, along with educators and entertainment figures, have endorsed Williams' clemency request. In turn, numerous law enforcement officials have urged the governor to go forward with the execution.