Tuesday, June 28, 2005

June 22, 2005

Dear Sis~

I've been schlepping along, working my way through my first draft of my certiorari petition. I've written about half of it (I figure it'll end up being around 25 typed pages) but now I've had to pause to read a big stack of cases. These are mostly US Supreme Court cases, and all of them are capital cases. Some I've read before, years ago, but now I have to really analyze them, picking out and writing down the specific quotes & holdings & legal analysis that supports the particular points I'm arguing to the Court. It's tedious work but made easier by my recognition of what's at stake for me with this, my last legal hurrah...

Earlier today I was taking a break, just sort of daydreaming, when it occurred to me that your birthday is just a few weeks away. And, I'll be 51 two months after that. It's still hard for me to think of myself as 50 years old, 'cuz although I've lived/endured enough for 3 lifetimes, I just don't feel 50. I live by that well-worn cliche that age is just a number, and I remain young at heart. And thankfully I've been blessed with a healthy & strong body. Anyway, as I reflected on the passage of time, I had to smile as I recalled myself as a young man. At age 20, like most of us, I was full of myself, certain that I was wise, mature & smarter than your average bear...Then, when I hit 30, I realized just how little I'd really known about life. Still, at 30, I figured, "Well, now I'm pretty mature and worldly-wise"... Then I turned 40, and once again I realized how much I'd learned in the previous 10 years ... And, of course, when I hit the half-century mark I understand how far I'd come in the last 10 years. The bottom line is that each of us is a work in progress & we never stop growing, learning & evolving. The worst thing, in my opinion, is to become self-satisfied and complacent, thinking we've learned as much as we can, thinking we already know it all. I'm not the same person I was 10 years ago, and hopefully (assuming I haven't ditched my skin suit by then) I won't be the same person 10 years from now. In the interim I just try to squeeze the most out of every day (who among us isn't possessed of the nagging feeling that we daily live less fully than we are capable of? Certainly, being on death row, you feel that imperative pressing against you more acutely than the average person does).

Rob is still schdeuled to be executed on July 11th, just 19 days from now. And the moment he breathes his last breath & his spirit flys away, not a single citizen of the Commonwealth of Virginia will be any better off. Nothing will be gained, nothing improved, by this deliberate taking of a human life. Rather, in my opinion, everyone will be diminished; each execution is a denial of the potential for change & goodness in every soul, and becomes another black mark against us as a nation...

That's it for now, Sis. Keep smiling and give the dogs a hug for me.

Love & Peace,