SAN FRANCISCO – A federal appeals court Wednesday refused to consider blocking the execution of Stanley "Tookie" Williams (search), a founder of the notorious Crips (search) street gang who was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize while in prison.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declined to grant a new hearing on Williams' claim that prosecutors violated his rights when they dismissed all potential black jurors. A three-judge panel of the court had previously approved his execution but did not fully consider the jury-selection issue.
Williams will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, said defense lawyer Andrea Asaro. She noted that the Supreme Court ruled in 1986 that race could not be a reason for excusing jurors.
Williams was sentenced to death in 1981 for killing a convenience store worker and also was convicted of killing three other people. He claims jailhouse informants fabricated testimony that he confessed.
While in prison, Williams was nominated in 2001 for a Nobel Peace Prize (search) for his series of children's books and efforts to curtail youth gang violence.
Officials of the state attorney general's office did not immediately return a call seeking comment.