Friday, August 08, 2008

August 5, 2008

Dear Sis~
Less than 90 days until the election and I can hardly wait to witness the changing of the guard. I'm confident Obama will be our next president and, while there are many reasons I'll be pleased to see that occur, at the top of my list is the long overdue opportunity to re balance the federal judiciary. The far majority of all federal judges were appointed by Republican presidents and most are knee-jerk, right-wing, conservative rubber stampers, exceedingly pro-state, pro-prosecution, pro-police and anti-prisoner, anti civil-rights, anti-libertarian judges who've never seen a death sentence they don't love, judges who are proud of the fact that they've never granted a habeas corpus petition in their career. Most citizens are unaware that most judges, by far, are ex-prosecutors, and this trend has only accelerated in the last decade under the prevalent "tough on crime" atmosphere permeating the political arena. The cliche of the "liberal activist judge" is a conservative fantasy for the most part. All I want to see are fair, intellectually honest judges who respect the constitution and are unafraid to stand up to the power structure when it has perpetuated injustices - that isn't much to expect, but it's a lot more than Americans are getting with the current crop of partisan political hacks turned judicial appointees...
I had a touching experience following one of our visits recently. You'd already left and I was stuck in the visiting booth awaiting an escort back to the cell block, just sitting there, casually watching the incoming visitors waiting to enter the general population visiting park. An exceptionally attractive woman was seated in one of those plastic chairs and she had two cute kids with her, a little boy and little girl, perhaps 4 or 5 years old. The kids were reaching up to the sill of that 4 foot tall dividing wall separating me from them, jumping up and down, trying to peek through the glass. All I could see was their little hands and the top of their heads. The woman and I locked eyes and we both smiled at each other - what a beautiful smile she had! - and then she spontaneously stood up, grabbed each child in her arms and lifted them up so they could see me. I waved at the kids, grinning like a fool (you know how much I love kids) and they happily waved back, all excited, as if I was a long-lost uncle. The mother and I locked eyes again and she beamed with pride. There was an almost electric connection between us. It was a very poignant experience for me, and a very sweet and kind gesture. Somehow, she intuitively knew that that simple gesture would bring me a measure of joy and she was willing to do it for a stranger. It's impossible to describe how much that affected me in that moment, and for the rest of the day I felt great joy. I guess that's a demonstration of how emotionally stunted I get from being confined in a cell 24/7, how hungry I am for human connection...
Alright, sis, I'll let you go for now. Give the doggies a pat on the head for me!
Love, Bill

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