Letter: A changed man

In his Dec. 1 column on the clemency petition of death row inmate Stanley Williams currently under review by California Governor Schwarzenegger, Matt Simmons argues in favor of Williams’ execution.

Simmons reasons that the legal process has been faithfully administered and that regardless of Williams’ clear evidence of reform that Governor Schwarzenegger has no business interfering. “The time has come,” Simmons writes, “for justice.”

The execution Simmons supports, however, would not correctly serve justice.

In order for justice to be served, Williams must be made, in some manner, to repay his debt to society. During his incarceration, Williams has become an outstanding voice against violence.

As Simmons observes, he has written extensively in opposition to gang violence and brokered an agreement between two gangs which has reduced conflict between the groups and, most importantly, saved lives.

In recognition of this, he has been nominated each year since 2001 for the Nobel Peace Prize and was recommended for clemency by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals tribunal that reviewed his case.

Clearly, it would seem, Williams has paid his debt to society.

Even a person convinced of the horrible inhumanity of murder ought not be damned if they have turned from evil and become a force for good as Williams has.

Williams has already given his life to society willingly by devoting it to solving a social problem; society need not take his life forcibly by lethal injection.

Daniel J. Parente

senior in Engineering