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Hannity

Why is an All-Star Cast of Hollywood Stars Begging for the Life of a Convicted Murderer?

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," November 28, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Stanley "Tookie" Williams is a convicted murderer of four. He bears responsibility for countless other crimes by the Los Angeles Crips. That's the notorious gang, by the way, that he co-founded in 1971.

He was sentenced to death in 1981. And after decades of appeals, he is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on December the 13th. Now Tookie Williams has become the latest craze for Hollywood liberals, including Oscar winner Jamie Foxx, rapper Snoopy Dogg — Doggy Dogg.

And not only do they want the Governor Schwarzenegger to grant...

COLMES: Snoop Doggy Dogg.

HANNITY: I got it. Grant clemency to the convicted killer, they even think that he should be awarded the Nobel Prize for his anti-gang books that he's written on Death Row.

Joining us now, the president of California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, Lynne Coffin, and former LAPD detective, Tom Lange.

Lynne, is this the same guy that murdered Albert Owens at a 7-Eleven, where he shot him in the back of the head execution-style? Is this the same good guy that deserves the Nobel Prize, as some people are saying?

LYNNE COFFIN, CALIFORNIA ATTORNEYS FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Well, you know, the issue of clemency doesn't really have much to do with whether or not he's the same person that committed those crimes. And of course, the evidence of those crimes is in debate.

But clemency really has to do with whether or not the governor believes that mercy should be shown in this case, based on who Tookie Williams is now. And to answer your question, no, I don't believe that he is the person that was convicted of those crimes.

HANNITY: Tom, this is — as an accomplice would testify, that he killed this guy because he was white and he was killing all white people. Should we take into consideration the so-called transition that's taken place, his repentance that's taken place in his life?

TOM LANGE, FORMER LAPD DETECTIVE: Well, to begin with, I take issue with your other guest. There was plenty of evidence to convict this individual, and the proof of that is in 24 years of appeals.

The other thing is, the supporters of the — people who are against the death penalty, the supporters of Williams, come out and say that he's been rehabilitated. Well, if he's — and he's already denied the killings. So if he didn't do the killings and he's denying it, how can he be rehabilitated? It makes no sense.

There's plenty of evidence to convict this individual. He's run 24 years of appeals, and it's about time that society stood up against this type of gang activity and did something. This is what's going to happen, hopefully, on the 13th.

HANNITY: And Lynne, you're against the death penalty under all circumstances, are you not?

COFFIN: Well, I don't really think that that's the issue. The fact of the matter is...

HANNITY: I'm asking are you against the death penalty under all circumstances?

COFFIN: I'm a criminal defense lawyer and, yes, I'm against the death penalty. But the fact of the matter is that Tookie — the evidence against Tookie Williams is based on snitches and other people who testified for the prosecution in exchange for favors. There is no other evidence against him.

But that is not really the question. The question is whether we believe that the governor, not should grant a pardon and allow this man to go free, but whether he should spend the rest of his life, in prison where he has been, by all accounts, doing work that really benefits the community, benefits people who were like Tookie was when he was younger? Or should we kill him?

COLMES: Lynne, Tom, it's Alan Colmes. Welcome to you both. Tom, let me go back. On that point that Lynne was making, let's say he did commit the crime. We have a correctional institution; we believe in redemption. Here's a guy who maybe should never get out again, but if he gets life in prison without parole, and he works as a prisoner with other prisoners, can he do more alive than dead in terms of good, potential good for society?

LANGE: First, let me say that there is physical evidence. They have the murder weapon.

COLMES: Not disputing that...

LANGE: They have shotgun shells from both crime scenes that match the murder weapon.

COLMES: Not disputing it. I'm asking about if he is alive rather than dead, is he — can he do more good to society alive than dead given what he's done over the last number of years?

LANGE: What good — OK. Alan, what good has he done? He's co-written a few children's books. I mean, what is that? He's refused to cooperate with prison authorities, who are trying to get at the very core of the Crips and find out internal information that would help turn gang members. It would help turn in murderers. He's refused to do that, because he says he's not a rat.

COLMES: All right. But he did say — he has been put up for a Nobel Prize. He has written books. He has worked with other prisoners. The question is what good can he do dead? Can he do more good alive than dead? What good does it do to kill him?

LANGE: He hasn't done any good while he's been live, and his death shows that society will stand up to gang bangers like this, people who have committed these murders.

COLMES: It's not a deterrent.

LANGE: He started the Crips in '71. They've been exporting their violence all over the Western states.

COLMES: Lynne...

LANGE: Who knows how many murders that they're responsible for?

COLMES: Lynne, I'm with you against the death penalty. I think it's immoral. It is not a deterrent. It's never been proven to be a deterrent. And I have trouble with the idea that one man in this case, the governor, gets to decide, not God, but the governor gets to decide if he lives or dies.

COFFIN: Well, that's the statute that we live with in California, but you know, I think your guest hasn't read the clemency petition. There are numerous statements from all kinds of people, including principals of public schools in Chicago, all different...

HANNITY: Principals? Who cares what a principal thinks. Who cares?

COFFIN: Excuse me. Excuse me. I'm talking.

HANNITY: Let's ask the family of the murdered victims.

COFFIN: The fact of the matter is that he has done a lot of anti-gang work which has affected numerous people, and there's been plenty of testimony and it's attached to the clemency petition.

As far as the governor goes, we have not had clemency granted in California since 1967 when it was granted by then-Governor Reagan. And I think that governor...

HANNITY: We're just out of time. Thank you both for being with us.

LANGE: He hasn't done enough. He hasn't done enough.

HANNITY: Thank you.

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