Tuesday, January 03, 2006

December 18, 2005

Dear Sis~
It's hard to believe that 2005 is already completing its trajectory and another Christmas is again upon us, even harder to accept that it's my 18th one on the row. My own perspective is animated by the competing tensions of being weary of so many dreary years inhabiting a cage, weighed against the appreciation of just being alive. In the end, life and hope wins out. Speaking of hope, I received my copy of my certiorari petition, which was filed in the US Supreme Court on December 5th. We're raising two (2) issues/questions regarding the constitutionality and propriety of the Florida Supreme Court's last decision in my case. My lawyers have done and excellent job in putting this petition together and if I don't get any relief it won't be for lack of effort by my long-suffering pro bono Milwaukee attorneys. Although my trial and direct appeal lawyers were incompetent bums (my direct appeal attorney, you may recall, was a mentally ill crack addict who, after being convicted of possession of crack cocaine, and being repeatedly committed to the mental hospital, was suspended from practicing law by the Florida Supreme Court. It was during that time that he botched my direct appeal). My post conviction Wisconsin lawyers have been excellent, fighting tooth and nail to save my life. In this respect I've been blessed because so many death row prisoners have no lawyers at all during their final years, or are saddled with inexperienced and/or incompetent attorneys. Anyway, I should know something by February or March, as to whether or not the supreme Court will agree to review my case.

Well, the quarterly lockdown officially ends tomorrow morning. On Friday, the flying goon squad rolled into our cellblock and tore up all of our cells. Some shakedowns are worse than others, depending upon the particular guards who happen to be in your cell. On Friday I had a bad crew; they dumped all of my property out on the floor in big heaps, pawing through it all, confiscating everything they could get away with taking. But that's just one of the realities of prison life. You learn to bear it and move on. At least here in Virginia, in this particular joint anyway, the guards are reasonably professional and they aren't mean spirited or cruel. At Florida State Prison it's a different story. There, the guards are positively gleeful as they throw your property onto he floor, stomping all over it, deliberately breaking stuff, ripping up photos or legal property, stealing your valuables. They act like their entire purpose in life is to be as sadistic as possible. The difference between here and there is like day and night. Anyway, tomorrow I can once again get out into the "yard" (i.e., fenced-in dog runs) to pace for a couple of hours, and feed the birds (after two weeks of no bread they're probably pretty damn hungry. It's been very cold, and wet, which makes their foraging difficult). I've got a stack of stale bread for the sparrows and two hotdogs for the crows (they love those hot dogs!).

That's it for now, Sis. Enjoy the holidays and give the doggies a hug for me.

Love & Peace,