Friday, July 18, 2008

July 16, 2008

Dear Sis~

Today I spoke on the phone with my attorney (as you know, he's in Milwaukee) who patched me in for a 3-way conversation with a well-known Florida attorney who has been very successful over the decades in getting guys off the Row. This lawyer has agreed to come on board as local counsel in my latest litigation. This is the same attorney who advised my attorney last week that my name had just appeared on he "death list" put out by the Commission on Capital Cases (this latest iteration of the list has 19 names on it, including mine. The version before that had 28 names; don't ask me how it went from 28 to 19; I can only speculate that the missing names represent guys who somehow got back into court). Anyway, as I told you before, this isn't the "official" list; that is created by and kept by the Attorney General. To emphasize this, today I was told that Governor Crist signed another death warrant last week (I believe it was for Richard Henyard) and this git was not on the list. The Florida lawyer told me that the signing of Henyard's warrant surprised everyone because he was not on the list and he's only been on the Row since 1994. There are many death-warrant eligible guys who have been on the Row a lot longer, like Gary Alvord (34 years, the longest in Florida) or Douglas Meeks, or others who have been there for 20-30 years. On the other hand, Henyard was convicted of multiple murders of a most heinous nature, which is in keeping with Governor Crist's announced criteria for signing warrants (the most heinous crimes, guys who have been on the Row the longest). The execution date is set for sometime in September. Anyway, this highlights the arbitrary nature of these signings; there's just no way to figure out whose warrant will be signed. All I can hope is that since I didn't kill anyone, I'm not high on the governor's list, and that my just-filed litigation gets me off the list, or at least until that litigation is terminated one way or another...
Sometimes I wonder how (or if) signing death warrants affects a governor; obviously everyone is different, some probably relish it, or others just bear it as a constitutional duty. And while it's easy for a governor to deflect personal responsibility, telling himself or herself that the person was convicted by a jury and sentenced to death by a judge, and therefore the governor isn't really killing the person, that's just really a matter of semantics. You are alive until the governor make a conscious and deliberate decision to have you put to death and that's a simple, unalterable fact. In his/her heart the governor knows he's putting a person to death. That can take an emotional toll on a person, depending upon the governor's mental/emotional/spiritual makeup. You'd like to think your governor would take his role seriously. I recall how, years ago, the long-time warden of the state prison in Mississippi quit his job because he just couldn't take participating in the gas chamber executions anymore. (Contrary to what most people think, the gas chamber was a violent, agonizing form of execution, nothing clinical or easy about it). He went on to become a vocal opponent of capital punishment. So, you never know).
Alright, Sis, that's it for now.
Love, Bill

1 comment:

microsci said...

Billy: I don't know if you remember me but I was a close friend of Toni's in Miami. We both went to Palmetto. Actually she was a bridesmaid in my wedding way back when.....I came across your name, a long story now, and am trying to get the information correct as to what happened. Where should I start?
JoAnne Buckley