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Tookie Williams' Trial Behavior and Threats To Jurors

'I'm Going to Get Each and Every One of You'


In the response to Stanley 'Tookie' Williams' petition for clemency, the Los Angeles County District Attorney filed a response outlining his behavior during his trial and his threat to the jurors who found him guilty. Here are excerpts from that response.

On January 21, 1980, Stanley Williams, through his attorney Gerry Lenoir, made it clear that he wished to replace Mr. Lenoir with his hand-picked attorney of choice, Joe Ingber. In fact, Williams personally asked the trial judge for a continuance so that he could arrange for the hiring of Mr. Ingber.

Williams, in addressing the court, stated, "Well, see, excuse me, your Honor. I'd like to move for a continuance at this time because the attorney of my choice, he's at this moment downtown fighting a murder trial." (TT A55-A56).

In response, the trial judge indicated that the next court date was months away, and that if Williams wished to employ Mr. Ingber, the court would allow Williams to "change counsel." (TT A56). At the next court appearance, on April 18, 1980, that is exactly what transpired. Stanley Williams asked that Gerry Lenoir be substituted out and that Joe Ingber be substituted in on his behalf.

When the court asked Williams if that was his desire, Williams responded affirmatively. (TT A58). The court then granted Williams' request, and Joe Ingber became the attorney of record. During the subsequent trial, Stanley Williams was represented by both Joe Ingber and his associate, Steven Ehrlich.

On March 13, 1981, the jury reached guilty verdicts on all counts, and found all the special allegations true. After the verdicts were read in open court, Williams spoke out to the jury, calling them "sons of bitches." (TT 2886-U). He was later asked, outside the presence of the jury, if he would like to take advantage of his Constitutional right to testify in his own defense at the penalty phase (a right Williams chose not to take advantage of during the guilt phase). Williams' response to this question was "hell no." (TT 2988).

Moreover, despite the trial judge urging Williams to present mitigating evidence during the penalty phase, Williams indicated he did not want to call any witnesses and did not want to present any evidence in mitigation. (TT 2988-2989, 2996). The following discussion was had among the trial judge, defense counsel, and Stanley Williams (TT 2996-2997):

INGBER: It's the defendant's desire that no one testify in his behalf in this phase; and I acquiesce to the desires of the defendant. So there will be no testimony called in this phase of the trial.

JUDGE: I would strongly urge that if there is any mitigating evidence, and if it can be presented, that you would be inclined to do that. But, of course, I realize the decision is yours. Are we to proceed?

INGBER: Yes, Your Honor.

The court then turned to Williams and urged him to put on whatever mitigating evidence he had.

JUDGE: Well, let me indicate, Mr. Williams, that I would strongly urge that if you have any testimony in mitigation that that be presented at this time. I realize the final decision has to be arrived at with you on the advice of counsel; and I suppose as to those matters counsel has the last word as to whether other mitigating evidence should be presented. So I want you to be aware that I'm recommending that you present any, if you have any. Have you had enough time, Mr. Williams, to discuss this matter with your lawyer?

WILLIAMS: (No response).

JUDGE: The record should reflect that the defendant remained mute in response to that inquiry.

It was subsequently discovered that the defendant threatened the jurors after the guilty verdict was read. Specifically, the defendant looked at the jurors and said he "was going to get all" of them. (TT 3072). After learning of this threat, the trial judge inquired of the jury foreperson.

The foreperson confirmed the defendant mouthed the words "I'm going to get each and every one of you mother f******." (TT 3078). The foreperson further confirmed that this threat did not play any part in the deliberations and was, in fact, not discussed during the penalty phase of the trial. (TT 3078).

Next: Witnesses Against Tookie Williams

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