Saturday, September 15, 2007

Sept 12, 2007

Dear Sis~
I just received my typed-up draft cert petition, so now I've switched back into legal-beagle mode, diving back into my case to hammer out a revised/edited version. Right off the bat, I've got to chop about 7 pages out (this typed draft came to 42 pages, but the limit is 35). Over and above that, I've got to decide on substantive changes regarding the merits of my issues. Editing at this stage is tough; your natural instinct is to preserve every word, sentence and paragraph as you strive to present your most persuasive arguments - there is no such thing as too much persuasion! But, actually, there is. It's just like editing a novel or short story; the quality of your arguments improve as you winnow out all the redundant words and overly-loquacious reasoning. To obtain that narrow, laser beam-like focus you must cut, cut, cut without regret! Anyway, I've got my work cut out for me for the next week or so.

The other day I was reading the Florida Supreme Court's December 8, 2006 decision in Diaz v. State, a capital case. Diaz was, at the time, under an active death warrant, scheduled to die on December 13, 2006, so this was his final, last-ditch appeal. One of his primary arguments was a challenge to Florida's lethal injection process and his lawyers presented very good arguments supported by a lot of evidence. The Florida Supreme Court rejected all of his claims, essentially saying that Diaz's concerns and fears about how his execution could go horrible wrong were just speculative and unfounded. Well, Diaz was put to death the following week in the now infamous "botched execution" where all the things his lawyers predicted could go wrong came true. It was sort of Kafkaesque reading the Court's opinion, already knowing how the execution ultimately turned out, as the Justices ridiculed Diaz's predictions about how very wrong the process could become, resulting in his very slow, very painful death...

Alright, Sis, I've gotta get back to work. Don't forget to send me a pic of your new dog!

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