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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

January 22, 2007`

Dear Sis~
Just finished reading The Innocent Man, which is John Grisham's first foray into non-fiction. The book (a best seller) chronicles the sad, but true, story of an Oklahoma man, Ron Williamson, who was tried, convicted and sentenced to death for a murder he did not commit. In the process of telling this story Grisham includes enlightening anecdotes of other cases reagrding wrongful convictions, most of which have in common the same litony of failings of the system: sloppy police work, prosecutorial misconduct (including destruction of favorable evidence and the fabrication of false evidence), lying "jailhouse snitches" falsely claiming that the defendant "confessed" to him in jail, and most commonly, astoundingly incompetent defense attorneys (drunks, idiots, drug addicts, and in Ron Williamson's case, a blind trial attorney. None of this is news to people intimately familiar with the criminal justice system (judges, attorneys and defendants alike) but the general public, being naturally apathetic to these issues anyway, is generally ignorant of the scope and breadth of the problems. Joe Citizen desperately wants to believe in the goodness, fairness and competence of the system and he really doesn't want to know just how bad it is. The average person actually believes the system is how it is portrayed on Law and Order, where cops and prosecutors always play fair and only the bad guys get arrested. This book by Grisham should be mandatory reading in all American schools, in high school civics or government classes across the land...
Speaking about the courts, my last-ditch habeas corpus petition was just filed in the Florida Supreme Court (please excuse me if I'm repeating myself; I may have told you this already); the petition is based upon a relatively recent US Supreme Court decision in a California death penalty case, Brown vs Sanders, which I contend affects Florida's capital sentencing scheme, and undermines my own death sentence in particular. It's a solid, meritful constitutional claim, but that doesn't mean I'll obtain any relief. This is pretty much my last legal hurrah, unless something new develops in the interim, so sometime within the next year I'll begin living under the shadow of a possibly imminent death warant. I don't dwell on that, as you know. Death is a reality for all of us; it's just a matter of timing and I choose to focus on utilizing whatever time I have left in the most positive & meaningful manner possible. You'd be surpised what can be accomplished, especially on a metaphysical level, in solitary confinement. It's all about growing and evolving as a human being, as a soul, right? Really, in the final analysis, what else is there?
Time to go, Sis. Remember I love you!
Love & Peace,
Bill

2 comments:

Barbara's Journey Toward Justice said...

I read your blog and thought you may be interested in this story. After I read this book Journey Toward Justice. I am now my own Journey Toward Justice. See My Blog. I feel the more people know about these issues maybe some things will change. At one time I wrote this about the book I read. Who And Where Is Dennis Fritz, You may say after reading John Grisham's Wonderful Book "The Innocent man", Grisham's First non-fiction book. The Other Innocent Man hardly mentioned in "The Innocent Man" has his own compelling and fascinating story to tell in "Journey Toward Justice". John Grisham endorsed Dennis Fritz's Book on the Front Cover. Dennis Fritz wrote his Book Published by Seven Locks Press, to bring awareness about False Convictions, and The Death Penalty. "Journey Toward Justice" is a testimony to the Triumph of the Human Spirit and is a Stunning and Shocking Memoir. Dennis Fritz was wrongfully convicted of murder after a swift trail. The only thing that saved him from the Death Penalty was a lone vote from a juror. "The Innocent Man" by John Grisham is all about Ronnie Williamson, Dennis Fritz's was his co-defendant. Ronnie Williamson was sentenced to the Death Penalty. Both were exonerated after spending 12 years in prison. Both Freed by a simple DNA test, The real killer was one of the Prosecution's Key Witness. John Grisham's "The Innocent Man" tells half the story. Dennis Fritz's Story needs to be heard. Read about how he wrote hundreds of letters and appellate briefs in his own defense and immersed himself in an intense study of law. He was a school teacher and a ordinary man from Ada Oklahoma, whose wife was brutally murdered in 1975. On May 8, 1987 while raising his young daughter alone, he was put under arrest and on his way to jail on charges of rape and murder. Since then, it has been a long hard road filled with twist and turns. Dennis Fritz is now on his "Journey Toward Justice". He never blamed the Lord and solely relied on his faith in God to make it through. He waited for God's time and never gave up.

Rósa Jakobs said...

hæhæ, I'm an 18 year old girl from Iceland and currently I'm writing an essay about the living conditions in death rows. Since I'm living in Iceland there's not much information to get here so I'm wondering if you could help me. Could you describe to me your own experience of living in death row? and how's the daily life there? I've been reading a lot about death rows and it seems to vary depending on states.
Anyway, it'd be great to get a reply - it doesn't matter if it's just a really short one :)
Good luck with everything!
Rósa Jakobs

e-mail : rosa_jakobs@hotmail.com