Friday, May 25, 2007

May 22, 2007

Dear Sis~
The Florida Supreme Court handed down an 18-page opinion denying my last and final appeal. It was a 6-1 vote, with Judge Anstead authoring a 2-page dissenting opinion. The dispositive issue in this appeal was similar to my 2005 DNA testing appeal, i.e., whether my death sentence is proper in light of the now openly conceded fact that I was not the triggerman (keeping in mind that I was sentenced to death by a jury and judge who were affirmatively misled to falsely believe that I was the triggerman). The majority basically repeated their holding (almost verbatim) in my 2005 DNA testing appeal, once again stating that "We hold that newly discovered evidence establishing that Van Poyck was not the triggerman probably would not have yielded a life sentence for Van Poyck." Once again, the court purports to know what my jury would have done had they known that I was not the shooter. This is in contrast to all other similar Florida death row cases where the Florida Supreme Court reversed the death sentences of those prisoners who were later able to prove (post trial and sentencing) that their co-defendant was actually the killer. The majority made it clear that I was the exception and that they have no intention of granting me the relief that their own precedents require...

Anyway, Sis my next step is to prepare and file a writ of certiorari in the US Supreme Court, which you know is, statistically speaking, a real long shot (less than 1/2 of one percent of all petitions filed are accepted for review by the US Supreme Court).

If the cert petition is unsuccessful, I will technically become eligible to have my death warrant signed by the governor of Florida, Charlie Crist. Under Florida's system, the governor has full, unfettered discretion as to whether to sign someone's death warrant, whose warrant to sign, and how many to sign. The governor can go for years without signing a death warrant, and if he is so inclined, or he can wake up some day and decide to sign 10 death warrants. (Governor Martinez used to do this back in the late 1980's and early 90's). At any given time in Florida (which has 375 men and women on death row) there are probably 20-40 prisoners who have exhausted their legal remedies, have nothing pending in the courts, and who are thus eligible to have their death warrants signed. That's a select crowd which I'm not keen on joining! At any rate, I'm hard at work on my cert petition, even if I can't generate much optimism. Despite the apparent poor odds I've gotta fight the good fight, metaphorically speaking. Don't worry about me, I'm in good spirits, Sis. I like a challenge and enjoy a good fight!
Love & Peace,