Monday, July 11, 2005

July 7, 2005

Dear Sis~

This morning a troop of guards came into the cellblock, chained up & shackled Rob Lovitt, then escorted him out, for the short drive to the death house at Greensville. (It's standard procedure for death row prisoners her to be taken to Greensville four days before execution). I hated watching him shuffle away, almost certainly the last time I'll ever see him on this earthly plane. I'm not privy to his current legal situation (i.e., whether his cert petition is still pending before the US Supreme Court, or whether he's been shot down) but I know he's got attorneys fighting hard on his behalf. On the other hand, every guy who gets dragged off to Greensville (other than a few volunteers) had lawyers fighting to save his life, and very, very few ever come back from Greensville. Still, right up until 9:00 p.m. on Monday, July 11th, I'll have some hope. By 9:10 Rob will be dead.

Speaking of the Supreme Court, everyone is in a tizzy about the unexpected retirement of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. But in this case, with this Justice, all of the hoopla is justified. The entire balance of the Court is about to change. See, the Court is (was) split 5-4, with 5 conservatives and four moderates/liberals. Of the 5 conservatives, though, Sandra Day O'Connor was the least conservative, almost (but not quite) moderate. Consequently, she was often the swing vote, shifting over to join the four liberals/moderates on important votes. Many of the most crucial decisions of the last decade were 5-4 votes, with Justice O'Connor being the deciding vote (for example, the recent decision prohibiting the execution of juveniles was just such a 5-4 vote). President Bush is committed to appointing a hard core conservative to replace O'Connor, someone like Justice Scalia and/or Thomas, two Justices Bush has specifically identified as representing the type of Justice he admires & intends to appoint. When that happens, all those 5-4 votes of the past will become 5-4 the other way, in future cases. Of particular relevance to me is death penalty issues (and criminal law issues in general) which are (were) very often 5-4 decisions (Scalia, Thomas & Rhenquist have never seen a death sentence that they didn't like and approve of; Kennedy is a little better). The upshot will be that in the future you will see very few favorable death penalty decisions. This whole thing may, literally, cost me my life since my own cert petition will be hitting the Court in October, when the new Justice will be settled in.

Thanks for all the great pics of all the neat bikes; I saw a really good looking old panhead that I liked. And I immediately recognized Indian Larry's famous "chain frame" bike, the last one he built before he died. I watched him build it on the Discovery Channel. Indian Larry was a real craftsman; it's hard to believe that the chain frame is strong enough to ride, but there it is. I wish I could have known Larry, he was my kind of guy - down to earth and real, no pretensions...

O.K. Sis, I'm outta here for now. Give little Maggi a hug for me!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well Bill it has been sometime since we last communicated a couple of years ago or so. I am back in Africa working an HIV behavioral change project.

Lisa, I hope you are well. I am glad to see that I was now able to find you online. I have looked for you on and off over the many years.

Kim R