Attorney for Death Row inmate Williams challenges evidence

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Attorney for Death Row inmate Williams challenges evidence

Postby Christina Marie » November 12th, 2005, 1:23 am

Posted on Fri, Nov. 11, 2005
Attorney for Death Row inmate Williams challenges evidence

By Karl Fischer

CONTRA COSTA TIMES


An attorney for Stanley "Tookie" Williams, the condemned former leader of the Crips street gang, has challenged evidence presented at his 1981 murder trial in hopes of staving off a December execution.

The 82-page brief filed with the California Supreme Court attacks forensic firearms analysis presented by the prosecution in the trial as "junk science" and suggests faulty evidence led to Williams' convictions for killing three people during a Los Angeles motel robbery in 1979.

It asks the state's high court to reopen Williams' criminal cases and to allow for re-examination of specific pieces of evidence, particularly the ballistic evidence presented at trial for the shotgun killings of Yen-I Yang, Tsai-Shai Yang and Ye Chen Lin.

"The shotgun evidence isn't reliable," Pasadena attorney Verna Wefald told the Associated Press on Friday. "There isn't any question about this."

The brief also questions the credibility of a witness who testified that Williams killed Whittier convenience store clerk Albert Owens. The witness is now in a Canadian prison for a murder conviction.

Williams, 51, received the death sentence for his four murder convictions and now lives on Death Row in San Quentin State Prison. He went on to become a Nobel-nominated children's author behind bars and iconic figure for the anti-death penalty movement.

But his previous appeals, in which he claimed racial bias during jury selection and that a prosecutor made racially tinged comments during arguments, were exhausted last month when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear his case. A Los Angeles judge then set a Dec. 13 execution date.

"What Williams is receiving now is aggressive legal representation, which is something he is entitled to. But what he is not entitled to is relief without justification," said Nathan Barankin, a spokesman for Attorney General Bill Lockyer.

The state Supreme Court gave Lockyer until Thursday to submit a response.

"(Williams) had 25 years to litigate all of these claims, and he's been to every state and federal court this country has to offer. They've all rejected him," Barankin said.

This week other attorneys working for Williams submitted a clemency petition to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has agreed to consider the petition and a response from the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

Attorney Jonathan Harris submitted the clemency bid with copies of e-mails sent to Williams by former gang members, police officers and others moved by his books and speeches.

Williams was nominated five times for the Nobel Peace Prize and four times for the Nobel Prize for literature for his children's books and international peace efforts to curtail gang violence.

As a teenager in the 1970s he helped form the Crips, one of the most prolific and infamous Los Angeles street gangs.


http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/breaking_news/13145891.htm
"In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." George Orwell
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Christina Marie
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Postby Christina Marie » November 12th, 2005, 1:41 am

A slightly different version/case # @ bottom also.


Crips leader seeks to reopen case, avoid execution
By DAVID KRAVETS, AP Legal Affairs Writer
Last Updated 1:35 pm PST Friday, November 11, 2005
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Stanley Tookie Williams, a founder of the Crips street gang, is trying to head off a Dec. 13 execution by asking the California Supreme Court to reopen the case, his attorneys said Friday.
Among other things, Williams' representatives say forensic testing may have falsely sent him to death row.

Williams' lawyer wants California's justices to allow the reexamination of evidence that showed a shotgun registered to Williams was used to kill three people during a motel robbery in 1979. They said conclusions that a shell casing found at the scene matched the shotgun were based on "junk science."

"The shotgun evidence isn't reliable," Pasadena attorney Verna Wefald said Friday. "There isn't any question about this."

They also want records about a witness who secured Williams's conviction of a fourth and final murder. That witness, now imprisoned in Canada for murder, testified that he and Williams robbed a convenience story and Williams killed the clerk, Albert Owens. Defense lawyers say his credibility is questionable.

Nathan Barankin, a spokesman for Attorney General Bill Lockyer, said the government would oppose reopening the case. The justices on Thursday gave Lockyer's office until Nov. 18 to formally respond to the discovery motion.

"He has been rejected by every state and federal court that has heard Williams' prior appeals," Barankin said. "What they all determined was Williams was guilty."

Williams, 51, is in line to become one of three California condemned inmates to be executed within months.

He was condemned in 1981, but has maintained his innocence. He claims, among other things, fabricated testimony sent him to death row. He also says Los Angeles County prosecutors violated his rights when they dismissed all potential black jurors from his case.

The California Supreme Court, the federal trial and appellate courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court have already ruled against him.

Williams also is seeking clemency from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for killing Owens, the 7-Eleven clerk; and Yen-I Yang, Tsai-Shai Chen Yang and Yu-Chin Yang Lin. Those three were gunned down two weeks after


Owens when their motel was robbed.

While in San Quentin State Prison, Williams has been nominated five times for a Nobel Peace Prize and four times for the Nobel Prize for literature for his series of children's books and international peace efforts intended to curtail youth gang violence.

Williams and a high school friend, Raymond Washington, started the Crips street gang in Los Angeles in 1971.

The case is California v. Williams, S004365.

---

http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/13143514.htm
"In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." George Orwell
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