i realize that on the surface this case might look like simple, a horrible gang member who brutally killed 4 people who will be executed for many good reasons. however, i if you look deeper you will see that this is a ‘revolution of the ants’ case. i mean here is a guy who actually rehabilitated himself in the middle of one of the harshest prison systems in our country. this is a man who has chosen to devote his life to stopping kids from joining the gangs he created, a man who speaks in their language.
i went to a showing of the movie ‘redemption’ last night starring jamie foxx which chronicles his life achievements. it was a packed theater, full of the *real people*. like the matt gonzalez mayoral campaign, this is falling on class and race lines.
what you can do–* get the facts at savetookie.org (below is a quick summary too)* blog about it. say anything. even if you disagree. this man at least deserves the discussion.
Stan was the co-founder in 1971 of the Los Angeles Crips gang. In 1981 he was convicted of murdering four people during two robberies and sentenced to death row at San Quentin State Prison. Stan deeply regrets his gang involvement but has always maintained his innocence of these crimes.
His trial was based on circumstantial evidence and the testimony of several witnesses, all of whom were facing a range of felony charges, including fraud, rape, murder and mutilation. Even the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals stated in a September 10, 2002, ruling that the witnesses in Stan’s case had “less-than-clean backgrounds and incentives to lie in order to obtain leniency from the state in either charging or sentencing.”
The U.S. Supreme Court has now rejected Tookie’s appeal to investigate the racism and discrimination at the heart of his case, as well as Tookie’s innocence issues. One issue highlighted the fact that the prosecutor in Tookie’s original case removed three African-American jurors from the jury. During Stan’s trial, this prosecutor made racially-coded remarks during his closing argument, comparing Stan during the trial to a Bengal tiger in the zoo and stating that a black community – South Central Los Angeles – was equivalent to the natural "habitat" of a Bengal Tiger.
Now upheld by the United States Supreme Court, this ruling will establish as "case law" for the nation the right for prosecutors to exclude jurors on the basis of race and to denigrate minority defendants in front of all-white juries.
The ruling is a frontal attack on the civil rights of all Americans.
The California State Supreme Court had twice censured this prosecutor for equally discriminatory behavior. Indeed, a member of the California Supreme Court at that time made the following statement about that prosecutor:
…I believe that we must place the ultimate blame on its real source – the prosecutor. It was he who unconstitutionally struck Black prospective jurors. The record compels this conclusion and permits none other… This prosecutor knew that such conduct was altogether improper. The trial court told him as much. And so did we… This court attempted to teach this same prosecutor that invidious discrimination was unacceptable when we reversed a judgment of death because of similar improper conduct on his part. He failed – or refused – to learn his lesson. The result is another reversal – and another costly burden on the administration of justice.
Amicus Brief Filed By ACLU On Tookie’s Behalf
The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), the national NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) and several other civil rights groups have filed an amicus (Friend of the Court) brief urging the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to consider racist injustices in jury selection during Tookie’s 1981 trial. (click here to read the story)
Court Recommends Clemency For Tookie
Read about the ruling against Tookie on September 10, 2002, by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals — and the Court’s recommendation to spare his life.