Tuesday, November 03, 2009

October 28, 2009

Dear Sis~

I've been hard at work since 6:00am on this monster legal project which was unexpectedly dropped into my lap yesterday morning. I've got about 2,500 pages of trial transcripts and various appellate records to digest, then I have to produce a post conviction motion based on whatever I find, and all within the next 15 days. Someone (a friend on the streets) "volunteered" me for this project, without even asking me ahead of time, but the most irritating part is the deadline. This guy had 2 years, by rule, to file this motion, but he waited until he had less than a month left to get it to me. (I shouldn't be too hard on the guy - whom I don't even know - as he apparently has severe mental problems; it's his mother who is desperately seeking help for her son, who is doing life somewhere in the system). Anyway, I'm taking a break to drop you a few lines and also to catch a little of Game 1 of the World Series (Yankees vs Phillies). I'm not a big baseball fan - I prefer football - but I enjoy the World Series...

I recently told you about Gov Crist signing Paul Johnson's death warrant (execution scheduled for Nov 4th) because the Polk County sheriff started an online petition to Crist to sign his death warrant. Within 8 or 9 days Crist did, in fact, sign the warrant. What I didn't know at the time was that Johnson had never even been in the federal courts yet; he had an appeal pending before the Florida Supreme Court at the time his death warrant was signed. This morning on TV I watched his lawyer, Marty McClain, orally argue that appeal before the Florida Supreme Court. As usual, Marty did an excellent job. My guess is that Johnson will get a stay of execution. For the last 20 years there's been an understanding by Florida's governors that they won't sign a death warrant until the prisoner has exhausted his legal remedies in the state and federal courts (otherwise the courts just grant a stay of execution). So, Crist chose to sign a warrant for a guy, based on an online petition, even though the guy has not exhausted his legal remedies, which makes it likely he'll get a stay. This was mostly a charade, intended to placate the folks behind the petition (there are 20 guys here whose warrants he could have signed who definitely would be executed, including 3 or 4 "volunteers" who want to die and who have long ago waived or exhausted all appeals). So, that's just a little insight into how the system works (or not).
Game is coming on ... gotta go!
Love, Bill

P.S. I'm rooting for the Phillies!

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