December 19, 2006

Christmas In A Cage – Death Row Holiday

Growing up in a large family Christmas was always celebrated in the traditional Norman Rockwell style with many brothers and sisters both older and younger than myself, the excitement and anticipation of Christmas began immediately after Thanksgiving, when dear old dad would pull out all the holiday lights from the cardboard boxes concealed in the attic and spread them out across the floor as us kids would compete with each other to find any burnt out bulbs that needed replacing. Once that task was completed, it would be an honor to hold the long strands of lights as dad balanced precariously on a ladder nailing them along the roof overhangs, then as if by magic seemingly always just at the right moment as darkness began we would all gather to watch as they came to life. In that moment of unified silence the Spirit of Christmas became one with us.

Then would come the tree. Never but never an artificial tree, not in our house. Even in the years when there would barely be enough money for food, there was always a large freshly cut evergreen tree, with the scent of pine filling the room. Boxes of beautiful antique ornaments handed down through the generations would be carefully unwrapped and meticulously placed in just the right spot with rows of tiny flashing multicolored lights accented by a million strands of silver and gold tinsel, almost each strand carefully dropped over the boughs by us kids leaving the lower part of the tree with significantly more than the harder to reach upper branches, but no body even complained.

This majestic Christmas tree would always be up no later than the first week of December and then brightly wrapped boxes would begin to appear beneath the tree. That was the Christmas tease that has tormented children through the ages… What could possibly be in these beautiful boxes? Of course, children being children, we would all find a way to ever so very carefully steal a peek in that one of two particular box with our name only to almost without exception discover that the box contained nothing more than clothes. Silly kids – we already knew that only Santa Claus brought the good stuff and that wouldn’t happen until Christmas Eve.

Each Christmas Eve all of us kids would be herded off to bed early and given a stern warning that soon Santa Claus would be near and he’d know for sure if we weren’t sleeping. Of course we couldn’t sleep but each of us in our own way did our very best to pretend to as we each fantasized about what Santa might leave us. The hours would pass slowly – very, very slowly – until the early morning hours when dad would open the bedroom doors, releasing us from our rooms with the excited announcement that Santa had come and we would all rush into the living room and stand in awe at the piles and piles of presents that had been left beneath the tree.

With so many kids all anxious to rip open these gifts, controlling the chaos was the first priority. With the barely contained excitement of a child himself, dad would reign over the distribution of the presents, picking one box at a time and loudly calling off the name of each. In that large circle all our eyes would be gleaming in silent anticipation as we each awaited our name to be called. Then quickly pouncing forward when it was, to claim our gift and retreat behind the lines to rip it open. Soon enough the living room would be overcome with haphazardly discarded boxes and wrappings but nobody seems to really notice.

No matter what each of us received in that moment of time it became our entire world. Of course there would be the obligatory clothes, which were inevitably piled neatly to the side, to be collected later. Although we seldom got the toys we really wanted – apparently Santa Claus had a cash flow problem and couldn’t afford the most popular toys – what we got quickly made us forget about what we thought we wanted and the joy of receiving those gifts overcame any disappointment.

Looking back, I can’t recall even being disappointed at not receiving what I thought I wanted, as what I got always seemed to be even better. That’s why I knew even long after other kids my age gave up that Santa had to be real; dad couldn’t possibly afford all those wonderful presents. Only too many years later did I realize how much he would willingly sacrifice each year to make Christmas special, working long hours at the steel plant and even pawning off his few prized possession as nothing was ever allowed to break the sanctity of Christmas.

Soon after all the gifts were unwrapped we would be forced to set them aside and retreat back into our rooms to dress in our Sunday best then pile in the station wagon for a drive to the Christmas service. Even the thought of resisting this ritual seemed silly – marching into church as a family each Christmas morning was as much a part of Christmas as Christmas itself even of we didn’t fully understand the spiritual implications of Christmas at that time. But even as the priest administered the solemn sermon, already our thoughts were on the fest that would soon follow.

Within a few hours we were home again. The Christmas Spirit filled the house with a joyous mood as Christmas carols played endlessly on the record player and our attention turned from the gifts we already received to plots of pilfering the table piled high with cakes and candies laid out for guests that might drop by. With military precision us kids would band together and recon the living room then slowly sneak our way towards that table and careful not to let our presence be known, our little heads would pop up quickly as our hands reached for that morsel of sweet goodness and then a quick retreat would be made.

As all the dishes of cookies, candies, and cakes would slowly disappear the smell of Christmas dinner would fill the house. Without exception Christmas dinner would be provided with abundance in the traditional style with all the trimmings and the family would gather around the expanded table and eat. This was the one meal when no matter how dysfunctional the family was the rest if the year, we were truly family for that one meal. But then it would too soon be over and that one special day became only a memory.

These memories continue to be my Christmas and have become my ritual. Merle Haggard once sung a song about a man turning 21 in prison doing life without parole. My own ballad would not be that much different. I’ve never had another Christmas since leaving home. At 46 years old, this is now my twenty-sixth Christmas in a cage; the past 23 Christmas’ have been spent condemned to death in a cage on death row.

It is the Christmas of the past that remains my Christmas of the present. Being condemned to death I am not allowed to celebrate Christmas in any traditional sense. In the early years I would anxiously await the Christmas cards from family and friends, then hang each upon my cell wall and share the Spirit of Christmas with the few who chose to remember me. But as the years slowly passed the cards became fewer and fewer, even most of my brothers and sisters have now long forgotten me and given me up as dead. Although I remain blessed by a few special friends who make a point of sharing their Christmas Spirit with me, the friends too slowly drift away and become fewer and fewer.

Many years ago when I first came to death row we were allowed to celebrate Christmas and it was something we looked forward to. Each December we would be allowed to receive two packages from the outside world containing various necessities such as winter clothes, a pair of shoes, cosmetics and toiletries, and even a nice watch or ring. Then the Christmas meal would be traditional style, real turkey with all the trimmings and various pieces of cakes and pies. But then conservative politicians found out about the “special treatment” given to prisoners at holidays and made political careers by campaigning against these things. One by one every holiday privilege was eliminated and out of vindictive malice and spite the Spirit of Christmas was banned from prisons.

Where I once proudly displayed the few cards I’d receive on my otherwise barren grayish beige wall, I am now prohibited from doing so. Up until a few years ago I had a photo of a beautiful Christmas tree I’d tape to my back wall above my sink until one Christmas Eve a guard made an issue of it. I was ordered to remove it, but refused. A few hours later as I was taking a shower that guard went into my cell and removed that picture – ripping it into small pieces then throwing it into my toilet. That one small semblance of Christmas I so cherished was lost forever as that Spirit of Christmas was overcome by malice and spite.

Now each Christmas becomes more depressing as I become even more isolated from that world outside. Too often my thoughts now turn to my own kids and grandkids and wishing I could spend just one Christmas with them. All my own children are now grown, but I can only imagine the joy on my grandson’s face as he anxiously rips open the brightly wrapped box containing the small gift a friend so generously sent in my name.

Then I think of all the others here and in prisons across the country who like me can only think of Christmas’ past, as the Christmas of both present and future no longer even hold the hope of what the true Spirit of Christmas is about. I remain blessed by the few cards I will receive, but know that many others around me won’t get a card at all. There will be no Christmas sweets and treats. There will only be the same cold, barren walls and the sound of silence as each of us retreat into our own dreams of what once was and most likely will never be again.

So, this Christmas I ask you to remember what the true Spirit of Christmas really is as we gather to celebrate the birth of a men condemned to death for our sins, that through His condemnation each of us equally were given the gift of Hope. If those of us who claim to be Christian cannot actually be Christians on Christmas, then when can we be?

What would Jesus do of He were to celebrate Christmas today? I’d like to think that He would reach out to the lowest of the low and share hope with those condemned to death; that in the true Spirit of Christmas, in the true Spirit of Christ. Especially those condemned would not be forgotten.

To both friend and stranger equally the same, I say… Merry Christmas!!!

December 16, 2006

Blessings of Liberty In The Land of The Free

In America, land of the free, we take certain liberties for granted. Our Constitution itself explicitly declares that, “we, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice and insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and ensure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish the Constitution for the United States of America.

Those are some pretty strong words coming from a band of revolutionary insurgents, our Constitutional forefathers. But have you ever thought about what the same group of men (sorry, women had no rights back then – that’s why they specifically said every man is created equal, not women!) might write today if they had to do it all over again? What might they write if they lived in our contemporary society?

Historically speaking, this band of brethren were especially concerned with protecting the individual person against the power of government, and to “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”

Could they have envisioned that this “Land of Liberty” would one day evolve into a country that incarcerates more of its citizens in jails and prisons than any other country in the world? Recent studies released by the U.S. Department of Justice (Now, that’s an oxymoron – run by morons!) show that right now there are over two million men and women incarcerated today – and well over seven million citizens presently under judicially imposed restraint. That means that almost one of every 40 people in this country live under actual judicial restraint. (Read, ”Death Row Tea Party”)

Our constitutional forefathers knew firsthand what oppression by an unfair government was. Clearly, their intent was to protect people from the excessive use of power of government. So, what would these fine men say today upon realizing that in recent years our own Supreme Court has declared that prosecutors are legally immune from accountability even if they deliberately convict and condemn an innocent man with fabricated evidence? (Read, Prosecutorial Misconduct: Does Immunity Invite Injustice?)

Think about this for a minute – here in America where “truth and justice” supposedly serve as the very foundation of our judicial system, a prosecutor is legally immune from civil accountability even if he is caught red-handed fabricating evidence and coercing false testimony with deliberate intent to send an innocent man to death row. As if that itself is not outrageous enough, this same Supreme Court then declared in Herrara v. Collins, 506 U.S. 390 (1993) that the Constitution does not prohibit the execution of an innocent person…it is constitutionally permissible to allow a state to put an innocent man to death, as long as he was given a “fair trial.”

Of course, if a person is convicted and condemned to death, there is a presumption that legal representation will be provided, right? Well, actually that’s wrong. The Supreme Court has also declared that those sentenced to death are not entitled to legal counsel. See, Murray v. Giarratano, 492 U.S. 1 (1989).

Most states have subsequently recognized that they cannot execute a person unless they are technically represented by a lawyer, so the states have taken it upon themselves to establish state funded quasi public defender offices to represent the condemned. But these state funded and thus state controlled offices more often provide nothing but the pretense) of representation and serve only the purpose of actually facilitating the execution. (Read, ”Legal Representation In Capital Cases – Privilege or Pretense?”)

Our esteemed Constitutional forefathers also placed great value on the concept of fundamental fairness in dealing with government and thus incorporated into The Bill of Rights the right to “due process,” which traditionally prohibits the government from engaging in unfair practices – sounds like a good things to me.

But then reality comes along and kicks our butt again. Under contemporary Constitutional law “due process” is defined by what process is due under definition and application of current statutory provisions.

What this means is that politicians who campaign for office by promising to push for more executions can pass current laws that substantially limit the right to review of a conviction. Take for example the “great” (puke!) State of Texas, which by far executes more men and women than any other government in the free world. Because of politically inspired and manufactured procedural rules governing appellate review of a capital conviction and sentence of death, appeals based upon newly discovered evidence – even if conclusively establishing a persons factual innocence – cannot be raised any later than 30-days after the conviction becomes final.

Let me put this in perspective – assume for a moment that you have been wrongfully convicted and condemned to death for a crime you know you are innocent of, but because of the incompetence of your state provided lawyer you couldn’t prove it. They now schedule your execution date. Suddenly God himself and a counsel of twelve archangels miraculously appear before the Texas Courts and declare unequivocally that you are innocent.

Sorry Bubba – in Texas not even the sworn “eyewitness” testimony of God himself can stop that execution, as under present Texas law (as well as many other states) politicians have created statutory laws stripping the courts of jurisdiction to even hear new evidence once the conviction becomes “final” after initial appeal.

I often smile at the unintended ignorance of people only vaguely familiar with our legal system – people who like Mary Poppins live in a fairytale world and remain conveniently clueless at how inherently corrupt our judicial system has become. Too many times I have heard (or read) these sheep say things that prove their ignorance. Most of the time they even mean well – they just don’t know any better.

For almost 24 years now I have suffered under an injustice few people can even begin to imagine. In early 1983 I was indicted and subsequently tried and convicted and condemned to death for a double homicide I know I am innocent of, a capital case of alleged premeditated murder that I know was deliberately fabricated by a single key witness and the local state attorney’s office. (Read, Southern Injustice: Condemning An Innocent Man)

Several years ago evidence came to light supporting my long pled claim that this entire case – the entire theory of events – was deliberately fabricated with the intent to have me wrongfully convicted. By the states own admission, there were no eyewitnesses, no physical or forensic evidence, and no confession. The entire wholly circumstantial case was based upon my then ex girlfriends claim that I told her I killed these two people by premeditated intent; her testimony was corroborated by her own cousin’s girlfriend, Deborah Hanzel, and the state attorney’s lead investigator, Robert Daniels.

In 1998 Hanzel admitted her testimony was false. Subsequently, in a letter to the judge (Circuit Court Judge R. Thomas Corbin) she explained at length how both key witness Frances Smith-Ottinger and the state attorney’s lead investigator, Robert Daniels, has coerced her to provide that false testimony. (See, ”Affidavit of Deborah Hanzel”)

When a hearing was held on this new evidence it was revealed that in fact, at the time the case was brought, this key witness (Smith-Ottinger) and the local state attorney’s lead investigator, Robert Daniels, were actually having a secret personal relationship “of a sexual nature,” which of course they never previous disclosed.

To put this into perspective, this case was out of one of the smallest rural farming communities in the south. (Glades County, Florida) The office that prosecuted this case now has the highest rate of wrongful convictions of any state attorney’s office in the entire country. (Twentieth Judicial Circuit of Florida) So far, at least five men have been wrongfully convicted and condemned to death by this office only to subsequently be exonerated and released from death row. ( Delbert Tibbs, James Richardson, Bradley Scott, John Landry, and John Ballard)

After the evidence was revealed finally substantiated my long pled claim that the evidence used to convict and condemn me was deliberately fabricated – just as I always said it was, (of course, I didn’t know my ex grilfriend was sleeping with the states lead investigator the very person who initiated these charges against me and personally supervised the development (fabrication?) of the circumstantial evidence used to convict me!), then suddenly the local circuit court and the state put the brakes on and have methodically obstructed progress of my case. ( Read, Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied.)

I now remain on Florida’s death row despite the fact that the evidence has been readily available for years to prove my innocence. One of the millions incarcerated here in the “land of the free,” one of the many innocent victims of a legal system that has become so inherently corrupted by lynch mob politicians and politically corrupt judges.

Thus, during this holiday season I will sit here in my cage condemned to death for a crime I am innocent of and reflect upon these “Blessings of Liberty” here in the “land of the free.” And I will ask you to say a silent prayer for the mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, wives and husbands and children of the millions of imprisoned souls who cannot be home with their loved ones and especially for those many who remain unjustly imprisoned by a system so inherently corrupt and cannot be with their loved ones.

Perhaps now I will write Santa Claus a letter asking him to send me some justice, but then again, I have no chimney so I guess I’m out of luck.


December 13, 2006

~ Angel Nieves Diaz' Execution Scheduled Tonight 6 pm~

Everyone has recanted. Fingerprints were not clear. There were no eyewitnesses and even the shooter says Diaz is an innocent man, but the Florida Killing machine chugs on anyway!!!!!

"Putting someone to death on the word of a jailhouse snitch is un-American," said Greenburg, director of the Florida Innocence Initiative.

Read more HERE

UPDATE: Diaz, 55, was pronounced dead at 6:36 p.m., just minutes after an executioner injected a cocktail of lethal chemicals into IV tubes leading into his arm My condolences to his family & friends.

:( Gov.-elect Charlie Crist expects to continue signing death warrants at a similar pace to Gov. Jeb Bush, who signed the black-bordered documents resulting in 20 executions, the most of any governor since the state resumed capital punishment in 1979. :(

:( "I support the death penalty," said Crist, who earned the moniker "Chain Gang Charlie" for his support of inmate chain gangs while in the Legislature. "It's a solemn task, but I believe in it, so I will sign them and review that process as the transition moves forward." :(

Crist told The Associated Press he will be as deliberative as his predecessor.

:( ~Kimy~

December 09, 2006

Don't Preach Pro-life While Actually Practicing Pro-death

Don’t Preach Pro-life While Actually Practicing Pro-death

As I write this its is Friday December 1st –World Aids Day. In my death row cell I just watched the ABC World News, which did a story about how some of the country’s leading conservative evangelical religious leaders are very upset because Illinois Senator Barack Obama was invited to be a guest speaker at a conservative church. Collectively these religious leaders signed a “letter of protest,” which they collectively released to the media, protesting Senator Obama’s appearance as they felt his “pro-choice” views on abortion conflicted with the conservative Christian “pro-life” agenda.

Although condemned to death, I have earned a degree in Christian Theology – and even certification in evangelical teaching – and the Bible I am familiar with has one particular scriptural passage (Matthew 7:5, NIV) that says. “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.” These words are attributed directly to Jesus.

This is why I’ve come to hold such contempt for the conservative right and their so-called “moral majority.” They are all too often a bunch of self-righteous hypocrites. These same conservative “Christians” who call abortion “murder” will slobber at the mouth like rabid dogs when preaching their support for capital punishment. If we want to preach about the “sanctity of life” then it has to encompass all life, not just the lives we choose to find worthy. We are not God.

Consistent studies have shown that it’s actually the so-called “liberals.” The “pro-choice” segment of our society that opposes capital punishment while the strongest support for the death penalty comes from these hypocrites who dare label them selves “pro-life!” But this is a no brainer… how can you dare to call yourself “pro-life” of you support the deliberate death of any person? Murder is Murder.

With a growing epidemic of wrongful convictions now being exposed because of the use of DNA evidence and already over 130 documented cases of wrongfully convicted innocent men and women condemned to death, there no longer is any question that innocent men and women are being sentenced to death. See, ”Southern Injustice: Condemning An Innocent Man.” So, advocating the death penalty means advocating the execution if innocent men and women.

Please tell me – how can anyone who calls them self “pro-life” also support the death penalty? By supporting the death penalty you support a system that will inevitably, by deliberate design, murder an innocent victim. We can’t have it both ways – if this is truly about the practicing the sanctity of life and protecting the innocent from being put to death, then those who call themselves pro-life must just as zealously oppose the death penalty, protecting the innocent from being put to death.

The simple truth is that nobody respects a hypocrite – so don’t preach pro-life while actually practicing pro-death.


Mary Poppins Does Death Row

I recently had the pleasure of a brief debate with a woman (who I will now call ”Mary Poppins”) in the My Space U.S. Politics Forum. After reading my earlier blog, ”Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied” as well as my posted commentary of how the Florida Supreme Court summarily denied my petition arguing a constitutional right to expedited review of my actual innocence claims (See, Florida Supreme Court Says, “No Right To Expedited Review of Actual Innocence Claim,”) and how I am now forced to seek review by the U.S. Supreme Court without the benefit of legal representation.

This individual responded by saying, “I smell fish” – that if my case was that strong I should have no problem finding pro bono legal counsel (a lawyer willing to take my case at no charge) and since no lawyers are beating down the prison gates to represent me my claims can’t possibly be credible.

Of coarse in all her infinite wisdom my new friend Mary Poppins still could not and did not provide the name of even one qualified lawyer who might be interested in taking on a capital case. Apparently she is so disillusioned that she actually thinks that lawyers do take on capital cases “pro bono” all the time. It must be nice to still be able to live in a fairytale world of sugar and spice and everything nice.

But I don’t blame her at all… her ignorance is only too common. People out there just don’t have a clue and they really do think that everyone on death row has quality legal representation and that there are swarms of lawyers out there lining up at the prison gates wanting to take on death row cases.

The reality of it is that there are very few lawyers willing to take on capital post conviction cases -- much less lawyers who are actually qualified to take on a capital case. As the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized, capital (death sentenced) post conviction appellate proceedings have evolved into one of the most inherently complex areas of law. Very few lawyers have the experience, training, and competency to handle representing capital cases.

Look at it like this – the practice of law is a lot like the practice of medicine. Both have specialized fields of practice that require specialized training and experience. Capital post conviction litigation today is like the brain surgery of law. Very few lawyers are trained in this area as it is incredibly demanding and pays very little. Over the years of attempts to expedite executions politicians have passed all sorts of procedural rules lawyers must navigate and if even one procedural rule is not strictly adhered to then the entire appeal is thrown out.

In a perfect world there would be lawyers willing to step up and volunteer to represent death sentenced prisoners “pro bono,” especially in cases where a substantiated claim of actual innocence is made. But wake up Mary Poppins, we don’t live in a perfect world.

Since I was sentenced to death in 1984 about 20 men and women have been released from Florida’s death row after being found to have been wrongfully convicted and innocent of their alleged crime. I personally knew most of these people and I don’t know of even one of these cases in which a lawyer stepped up to volunteer “pro bono" to represent them -- not even one.

So, the next time someone wants to question the validity of my actual innocence claims by arguing that if I had a legitimate claim of innocence then I’d have lawyers lining up around the block wanting to take my case, I would appreciate it very much if you would provide a list of lawyers you think are so willing to step up to the plate as I would really like to know who they are.

Until then I’m stuck with the reality that these lawyers simply do not exist. For that reason I must represent myself in this soon to be filed petition in the U.S. Supreme Court, hoping that they will at least read it. If the U.S. Supreme Court does actually accept review of the question of law I am presenting (whether there is a constitutional right to timely review of an actual innocence in the state courts), then I will be able to request the appointment of legal counsel. But for now I am forced to represent myself in this matter as no qualified lawyers are willing to step up to the plate. Of coarse, if Mary Poppins really wanted to help she’d just loan me her umbrella and I’d simply fly away or at least share whatever it is she’s so obviously on.


December 06, 2006

Death-row inmate appears in court

Death-row inmate appears in court

~Ft Myers News-Press ~December 6th, 2006~ Article about Mike's recent hearing.

December 05, 2006

Death Row Turkey Seeks Pardon

They did it again – it’s become a Thanksgiving ritual. The media converges upon the White House and with the cameras rolling the President stands before a turkey and formally announces that the turkey has been spared by Presidential Pardon and that because of this act of compassion that turkey will now live out its days on a quiet farm and enjoy a good life.

Every television station in the country will air that piece about the turkey receiving a Presidential Pardon. I’ve watched this ritual myself every year for more years than I can hope to even remember. The truth is that I don’t recall even a single year they didn’t go through this ritual.

But does anyone even stop to think about the pretense of all this? Although that particular turkey is presumably pardoned, tens of millions of others will still meet their fate as Thanksgiving dinner. Although the President pardons this one turkey; his family, their friends, and himself will still gather around the table only hours later and eat the traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner.

Like those millions of turkeys that meet their fate on Thanksgiving Day, I too am condemned to death. There’s been a few times in my life when I’ve been called a “turkey” as that was common back in the day. Maybe it’s time that I formally declare myself a turkey… maybe then I too will at least have a chance to also be granted a pardon.

What I do know is that my innocence itself certainly isn’t enough. For almost nine years now I’ve had a Substantiated claim of actual innocence before the courts (See, Southern Injustice: Condemning An Innocent Man) but innocence doesn’t matter. When the state can no longer contest your claim of innocence they just stop the case from proceeding any further by deliberately delaying review of that claim. They can drag it out until you eventually die of “natural causes” on death row and then declare the issue moot. (See, Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied)

Here in Florida the equivalent to a Presidential Pardon is the “clemency process.” Like the President, each year Florida’s elected Governor will make a public show of granting clemency to a condemned turkey. That lucky turkey will then live out its days on a nice farm out in the country.

Sadly, not even one condemned person in Florida has received clemency since 1983. I personally have had a clemency petition pending before the Governor since 1998. It hasn’t been formally denied – but I have no doubt that it would never be granted. People simply don’t get clemency in Florida – that discretional privilege is reserved exclusively for turkeys.

The fact is that since 1983 when that last condemned prisoner in Florida was granted clemency over 20 condemned prisoners have been exonerated and released from death row because of innocence… but not even one of these innocent men and women were granted clemency. In every case the state fought tooth and nail to prevent their release, deliberately dragging the case out for many years. Although Florida leads the country in the number of wrongfully convicted people sent to death row, the state has never admitted error in any case… not even when the evidence conclusively proved innocence.

Clearly, legal innocence is not enough for a wrongfully convicted and condemned person to get a pardon. If you really want a pardon, especially from someone whose name is Bush, your only real shot is to be a turkey. In the years that our current President Bush was Governor of Texas, he presided over about 150 executions; he has granted only one pardon to a condemned prisoner – and that was to self confessed serial killer Henry Lee Lucas. In the eight years his little brother Jeb Bush has been Governor of Florida he has not granted even one clemency – except of course to the turkey each year at Thanksgiving.

So, maybe I really do need to declare myself a turkey and only then petition the governor for clemency – maybe then I might even actually have a chance. Perhaps I too can then live out the rest of my days on a quiet farm in the country. Perhaps then too the media will find my story news worthy. I should be so lucky. But then again, I really should have been a turkey.

December 02, 2006

~ Still Alive From Death Row ~ Update Nov. 2006~

Hello… Can anyone hear me? Is there life out there? Here I am again, still alive from death row in Florida. For my faithful readers I submit another monthly update. I also want to acknowledge some special friends and family. With the holiday season now upon us this time of year can be especially lonely here in solitaire confinement. This is the time of year that family means the most.

This month my grandson Aden Michael turned two years old and I found out around January 15th I will be the proud grandfather of another grandson – cool! I hope to also see my daughter Jennifer, but it’s my oldest son Daniel Brian that I too often turn my thoughts to during the holidays. In the Bible it tells us about celebrating the homecoming of the prodigal son – Daniel Brian is my prodigal son, the son that by fate and circumstance I do not know. Although in recent years I’ve tried to reach out to him my attempts have met with failure. So, I’d like to send a message to him… wherever you might be, know this – you are always in my heart and I pray the time will come when you want to give me a chance to know you. If you do happen to read this, please write as nothing would mean more to me.

What a month it has been. Democrats took control of congress while here in Florida the Republicans held their ground by retaining control of both the State Legislature and the Governor’s Office. It’s got to be the water…why else would voters in Florida elect “Chain Gang Charlie” Crist as Governor and ”Mad Dog” Mc Collom as Attorney General?

I’d like to say that after over 23 years of living in a cage condemned to death there’s a light at the end of the tunnel but there isn’t. Recently someone told me to “keep the faith” as it’s always the darkest just before the dawn. Maybe so, but when dawn does finally break will my fate take a turn for the better – or worse?

After a long period of delays, the lower court (State Circuit Court) in Ft. Myers has finally scheduled a hearing in my case for “final oral arguments.” This will be an important hearing, as both sides will now be required to personally present their arguments on all the evidence and issues before the court. Of course, the issue that will be the focus of this argument will be the evidence supporting my actual innocence.

Over the past almost nine years the lower court has conducted sporadic hearings allowing only bits and pieces of the wealth of evidence supporting my claim of innocence in at a time. I believe this was deliberately done as a means in which to limit the public’s perception of the collective picture.

This upcoming hearing will, for the first time, allow all the evidence to be fully argued in open court. Although I will not be allowed to personally attend (I will be allowed to listen to the arguments by telephonic conferencing) anyone who may want to can personally attend this hearing as it is open to the public. If you would like to attend, this hearing (Lambrix v, State) will be held before Judge R. Thomas Corbin in hearing room #2 at the Lee County Justice Center (county courthouse) at 1700 Monroe Street, Ft. Myers, Florida; the hearing is scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m.on December 5th, 2006.

It is my hope that those interested in my case and able to attend will do so as a physical show of support can make all the difference. It is also my hope that members of the media will want to attend so that, for the first time, they can hear all the evidence argued in open court, evidence that collectively will show how, by deliberate design and intent, the state fabricated this case of alleged premeditated murder against me – deliberately having me convicted and condemned to death for a crime I am innocent of – a theory or events that simply never happened.

Anyone concerned about the corruption within the system; anyone concerned about the why and how innocent men and women are deliberately convicted and condemned to death in spite of innocence should attend this “final oral argument.”

For those not yet familiar with the factual circumstances of my case, I would like to encourage you to fully read the previously posted articles. For your convenience, I have listed these articles below, along with a brief summary of each, so you can easily click the link to them.

Again, I would like to express my gratitude to all of those who are committed to remaining vigilant in their concern for the injustices that are perpetuated against innocent victims of unethical, overzealous prosecutors. Without your continuous concern and willingness to speak out against the established system these injustices would go unnoticed. I know from experience how important hope is – without knowing that people out there do care there is no hope. Just knowing that there are people out there who are willing to listen and are concerned about those wrongfully convicted and condemned to death makes all the difference.

Please click on these links to the full length case summary and articles and read them now… publicly exposing an injustice is the first step to having justice served.

Introduction (a brief summary of the case as well as the circumstances that first allowed this injustice to take place and why it continues to drag out.)

Southern Injustice: Condemning An Innocent Man (Full length summary of my case from time of arrest, through the trial, the appellate process, and finally the new evidence uncovered that substantiates my long pled claim of innocence.)

Florida Supreme Court Says, “No Right To Expedited Review of Actual Innocence Claim.” (The Florida Supreme Court recently told me I had no right to a quicker review of my actual innocence claim even though it has already been pending in the Judge Corbin’s lower court more that 8 years.)

Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied (Article discussing the corruption of a judicial system that will push to expedite the execution of the guilty – but will deliberately obstruct and procrastinate review of a claim of innocence.)

Condemned by The Perfect Storm (Article discussing the elements that work together to make it more likely to be condemned to death – and why innocence itself becomes irrelevant – if you’re some like me and not O.J. Simpson.)

Prosecutorial Misconduct: Does Immunity Invite Injustice? (Although prosecutorial misconduct is the leading cause of innocent people being convicted and condemned to death, the question remains – does failure to hold prosecutors accountable for deliberate acts of misconduct result in wrongful convictions only encourage such misconduct?)

Legal Representation In Capital Cases – Privilege or Pretense? (Once wrongfully convicted and condemned to death exposing and correcting this injustice is entirely dependent upon competent legal representation. But no legal right to competent representation exits and a pretense of representation works to distract exposure of legitimate innocence claims.)

About Mike (Full length biography of Mike Lambrix from birth to death row in Florida.)

A Day in Life Under Death (Essay about a day on death row, written by Mike to allow the reader to see what an average day on death row is like.)

A Condemned Man's Perspective of "The Innocent Man" (Review of John Grisham’s recently released book “The Innocent Man” by a death row prisoner.)

Countdown To An Execution (Mike’s own death row account of the recent execution of Danny Rolling.)

Happy Holidays! ~Mike~