Monday, January 19, 2009

January 13, 2009

Dear Sis~
Well, old Roy may get some relief yet. You may recall that prison officials wrote my elderly neighbor a DR (Disciplinary Report) for his inability to urinate on command. I wrote up an administrative appeal for him, which went to the warden, and we received a rubber-stamped denial (by the "acting warden", since the real warden was on vacation). I then appealed to Tallahassee, pointing out the salient facts, most crucial of which is that Roy takes prescribed medication twice a day to help him urinate. He's got severe prostate problems and, even with the medication, he strains to pee. Anyway, Tallahassee kicked the DR back to the warden, stating that the warden's response and denial was unsatisfactory, and gave him 15 days to either dismiss the DR or come up with a better reason for denying the appeal. If the warden is smart (or just fair), he'll dismiss the Dr and leave old Roy alone, but I'm not overly optimistic. It's exceedingly rare to beat a DR on appeal; but I utilized a factually strong argument combined with a lot of legal vernacular (I mentioned due process more than once) and, maybe someone up in their legal department smelled a potential lawsuit. Anyway, I'll keep you posted...
Everything here is good. I'm still hard at work on this certiorari petition I'm putting together (it's for a non- death row prisoner, not me). The US Supreme Court grants about 70-80 cert petitions each year (i.e., they agree to hear those cases) out of 15,000 or more filed annually, so you can do the math. No matter how good your lawyers are and how much merit your issues may have, it's next to impossible to get the Supremes to consider your case. Still, you gotta try - that's how law is made...
Just learned that Eddie Bell (aka Dreads) has a February execution date in Virginia; the Supremes just denied his cert petition, so he's through dealing. Virginia wastes no time in killing its death row prisoners; they've perfected the express track to the death house (Bell has been on the row for about 5 1/2 years - the average for Virginia and quickest in America). Something to be proud about, huh?
Love, Bill

Thursday, January 08, 2009

January 1, 2009

Dear Sis~
Here it i s, the first day of the new year, a time of hope an renewal. On Death Row, it's easy to be thankful for another year, another shot at life, another chance to believe that Fate will intervene and allow us to deflect the full brunt of Destiny's arrows (or Karma's impassive reproach). On this matter, I can only speak for myself, but once the years have stretched into decades and the past has become just a blur, a smudge of snapshot memories of an endless series of cells, fences, bars and solitary nights, you tend to equivocate, sometimes wishing it would simply end so you can move on to the next plane, the next incarnation, where you can apply the hard-learned lessons burned into your spirit from this earthly journey. Other times, though, you value each day as an opportunity for growth, another chance to burn off Karma and assure yourself that the next time around you won't have to learn those lessons again, that next time, you will fulfill your potential and become the person you wish you had - a positive, uplifting, caring person who will make a difference in other peoples' lives. That's how I deal with the inevitable malaise that hits you when you live for years in a cage; I remind myself that life is not supposed to be soft or easy, life is supposed to be hard, for it's in adversity that we learn, grow and evolve. Every day I live in adverse conditions and overcome, is another day of growth, and each lesson I learn here is a lesson I won't have to learn the next time around. When you view life int hat context, when you truly believe that in your heart, it makes life not just bearable, but actually enjoyable, even in a death row cell. So, I welcome another new year and whatever it may bring, from life to death and all the various degrees and permutations in between...
Meanwhile, I'm sitting here on my bunk, listening to NPR (National Public Radio) on my little pocket radio. They're playing some old classic riffs and, in particular, some Grateful Dead tunes from 1969, which really conjure up pleasant memories, carrying me back to a time when I still had a pocketful of dreams and I had not yet irreversibly turned down the left hand path. Probably the most common fantasy indulged in by humans is to wish we could go back in time to whenever we perceive to be that golden moment of youth, yet to retain the knowledge and wisdom we now possess. Which reminds me of an old adage..."Youth is wasted on the Young."
Alright, Sis, I'll let you go for now. Give the doggies a New Year's hug for me!
Leave & Peace!