Boalt’s Death Penalty Clinic Director and Clinical Professor of Law Elisabeth Semel warns that more Californians than their fellow citizens imagine could soon be executed. Stanley “Tookie” Williams was executed by lethal injection at San Quentin prison on December 13. He was pronounced dead at 12:35 am. Two potential state executions are slated to take place within the next few months: Clarence Ray Allen on January 17 and Michael Morales in February.
The clinic was not directly involved in the case of Williams, co-founder of the L.A.-based Crips gang (and later an anti-gang spokesperson). Boalt alumnus Lothlorien Redmond ’04, however, was key in persuading her new employer, the New York-based firm of Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle, to take on Williams’ clemency petition on a pro bono basis. (Redmond had worked on an Alabama death penalty case while participating in the clinic.) Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger denied clemency to Williams the afternoon of December 12.
The DPC represents clients in capital post-conviction proceedings in California and Alabama. It also prepares briefs, petitions and pre-trial motions, as in the case of Thomas Miller-El, a Texas death row inmate whom the U.S. Supreme Court granted a new trial in June.
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American and international media have interviewed Semel, a capital punishment expert and long-time criminal defense attorney, about the death penalty and the execution of Williams: KNBR and KNX Radio, NBC11 (San Francisco), KTVU (Oakland), Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle. Semel spoke with National Public Radio’s Morning Edition on December 12.