Monday, April 09, 2007

April 5, 2007

Dear Sis~
Here's a belated blog entry. I haven't been much of a letter-writing mood lately which is attributable to the realization that we'll be having an execution within the next few months. With only 19 guys here on the row, it's inevitable that we can and do keep up with the status of each others' cases, and so I know that Christopher Scott Emmett just lost his federal habeas corpus appeal in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. Now the Commonwealth will apply to Scott's trial judge to set his execution date, which the judge will do. Based upon past experience (and the procedure and timetable is very consistent) Emmett will be dead within 90 days, possibly 60.
I remember well when Emmett first got here, back in 2001, and it seems just like yesterday. As I've told you before Virginia, by far, kills its prisoners quicker than any other death row; no other state is even close.In Virginia, you are lucky to make it to the 5-year mark on death row. At every stage of the process, in both the state and federal courts, the primary consideration is expediting the execution as much as possible. The main reason you never hear about Virginia death row prisoners getting off the row after 7, 8, 10 years or more when newly discovered evidence or exonerating DNA evidence is discovered is because Virginia kills its prisoners so fast. Florida, for example, leads the nation with death row exonerations (some 23 to date) and virtually all of those occurred after the guys were on the row for 10, 12, 15 or more years. That can never happen here in Virginia. Anyway, Emmett is now counting down his final days. All of us on the row, of course, feel a similar sword of Damocles hanging over our heads, but once you exhaust your final appeal and the death warrant becomes imminent and inevitable, a different type of urgency fills your being. All of us face the prospect of the arrival of this moment, when you start marking your last days off on your calendar, trying to squeeze as much life as possible out of every diminishing hour...
That's it for now, Sis. I'll write again when my disposition is a little sunnier.
With Love, Bill

I just visited Bill yesterday and he said the judge set Emmett's execution date for June 13, 60 days from this Friday the 13th.

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