HANNITY

Ex-California Gov. Pete Wilson on Tookie Williams Case

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, 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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