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NAACP head urges clemency for gang founder Williams

[JURIST] Bruce Gordon [NAACP profile], president and chief executive of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) [advocacy website] on Tuesday urged [press release] that death row inmate and convicted killer Stanley Tookie Williams [advocacy website biography] be granted clemency, calling him a secret weapon for helping young African-American men stay out of gangs. Williams, the co-founder of the murderous Crips gang [Wikipedia backgrounder] in Los Angeles, was convicted of killing four people during two 1979 robberies and is due to be executed on December 13. While spending two decades on death row at San Quentin Prison, Williams has written several children's books about the dangers of gang life. Last week, the California Supreme Court refused Williams' clemency request [JURIST report] and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is scheduled to hear arguments Thursday on whether his death sentence should be reduced to life without parole. State supreme court Chief Justice and Republican appointee Ronald George [official profile] said Tuesday that the state should execute death row inmates within five years of sentencing [JURIST report] or reprieve them, as opposed to waiting for twenty years or more as happens now. Gordon has delivered signed petitions [NAACP petition] to Schwarzenegger from more than 56,000 people calling for clemency for Williams. The NAACP also offers recorded video and recorded audio of Gordon's remarks. AP has more.

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