This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," December 2, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Now, all that stands between Tookie Williams and his execution is the possibility that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will commute his sentence to life in prison. But allegations have emerged that Williams is still involved with the gang that he founded, the Crips, and law enforcement and victims have urged the governor to deny Williams any mercy.
Governor Schwarzenegger will hold a private clemency hearing in just six days. So what should the governor do?
Joining us now, former California Governor Pete Wilson. I know you're friends with the governor. What do you think he'll do, Governor?
PETE WILSON (R), FORMER CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR: Well, I don't know what he'll do. What he should do, having decided to hold a clemency hearing, is listen to the arguments. But you have to understand that, when you do that as governor — and I did it — you're really being asked to second-guess a unanimous verdict by a jury that had to make a finding that special circumstances existed. And they have to find unanimously that the facts or the circumstances presented by the prosecution in aggravation outweigh those presented by the defense in mitigation.
That's a pretty difficult bar to clear. And, in my years as governor, I never did grant clemency because I was not persuaded that the arguments that were made by counsel on behalf of the accused were sufficient or anywhere close, frankly, to sufficient to overcome that unanimous verdict by the jury.
HANNITY: Governor, I have on my Web site, hannity.com, the entire 50- page district attorney's response to this appeal for clemency. And I got to tell you, the evidence is overwhelming. It is frankly incontrovertible in this case.
These were brutal, hideous, despicable, execution-style murders by this man. And the evidence was overwhelming, and not just by people that had something to gain in the case.
I got to tell you something. If we don't use the death penalty here, I don't know when — his supporters keep saying that he's changed, he's changed, he's written children's books, yet he has a track record in prison that is abominable, including attacks against guards and fighting and all that.
And similarly, Governor, as I look at this guy's record. I mean, this man still has not admitted to his crime. How can you give clemency to such a person?
WILSON: That's right. Well, I don't think that — I'm not going to speak for Governor Schwarzenegger. He may very well be doing what I did in my first clemency hearing.
Clemency is an appeal for mercy. And it's entirely a matter of discretion for the governor. You can simply say, governor — you can simply say, "Clemency denied," and give no explanation. You can say, "Clemency granted," and give no explanation.
In my case, when I was dealing with the first execution in 25 years, I thought that it was appropriate for me to set forth in a statement the criteria that I had applied. And I did so. And it may be that that's what he is seeking to do, but I would have to say that I think that, based on what I know, there is, I think, a very clear case that this man is not deserving of clemency.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Hey, Governor, it's Alan Colmes. Thanks for being back on the show.
No DNA evidence. They're claiming witnesses that were snitch witnesses. He said he hasn't confessed to the crime because he didn't commit it. Clearly, he was convicted, however.
But how much should a governor take into account the person's behavior and change of heart since a conviction to give what you just said, mercy or grace, which is what governors historically have done in situations like — In some cases like this.
WILSON: I think, in most instances, they have done it where they thought that there really wasn't the capacity to entertain the requisite criminal intent. And that certainly was not clear in the case of Robert Alton Harris when I gave my first clemency hearing. And, from the record that I see here, I don't think this comes close to being warranted.
But I would also have to say this. When you take a life, you have to understand that, if you had done this in cold blood, that if you've done it, as in California, where the death penalty requires special circumstances, typically the commission of the murder during the commission of a felony, like rape or robbery, where the facts in aggravation outweigh those in mitigation...
COLMES: If you have a chance to kill somebody...
WILSON: ... it's very difficult.
COLMES: .. or look at their deeds and see that they've actually done good things and actually have worked with gang people or grant mercy, what's really the better choice?
WILSON: Well, I think that you have to ask yourself: What is the impact of a decision, where you're essentially saying, if, having done these brutal crimes, and if there's no dispute about the facts, and I really don't think there is much in this instance...
HANNITY: All right, Governor...
WILSON: ... that you've got to be very careful that you're not setting a precedent for people to behave well after they've done a terrible act and taken a life.
HANNITY: Good to see you, Governor, as always. Thanks for being with us. Appreciate it.
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