Showing posts from August, 2019

Lies and Intolerance

Caged Bird

(incarceration) the days are so bleak the nights bitter cold I age but one day yet feel ten times as old I gaze toward the mirror to see the eyes of a stranger blank face staring back features distorted by anger to contemplate death is to glimpse liberation my soul heavy and weary my bones weak with frustration

State Assisted Suicide The Execution and Triumph of Robert Massie

Michael Kroll unsuccesfully sought to intervene in the execution of Robert Massie, to question Massie's competency to drop his appeals. He took this step to try to prevent Massie from committing suicide at the hands of the State. I am guilty of a homicide. I did not act alone. We, the taxpayers of California, performed the killing collectively. The man we killed was my friend. I came to know Bob Massie about 15 years ago when he wrote to tell me he admired my writings about the death penalty. Over the years we met many times and exchanged copious communication. Bob's letters were always filled with citations from capital cases, and always included an attempt to convince me of the soundness of his legal thinking.

Dead Man Praying

Recently, there has been much talk and action about imposing a moratorium on the death penalty The reasons vary, but the point is the same. It is a punishment both extreme and permanent. It is imposed under a system that is imperfect at best and sometimes simply corrupt. This moratorium movement should be applauded because it is righteous. However, the ultimate success of that movement will not solve the problems we face today. Instead, we need a moratorium on political and moral cowardice. We need to return to a society in which our appointed and elected officials have the courage to lead. That movement, and none other, offers the only hope that we can conquer the societal problems we face entering the 21st century. I was one of many people who had the honor of representing Darrell Young Elk Rich over the past years. He died some 13 minutes past midnight on March 15, 2000. He was executed in the "death chamber" at San Quentin State Prison. I saw him die with dignity.

Prison Inmate Talk: Death Penalty Pilgrimage Melody Ermachild Chavis

Prison Inmate Talk: Death Penalty Pilgrimage Melody Ermachild Chavis : As many pilgrims do, I set out on my journey with an exhausted heart. After twenty years of work as an investigator defending prisoners faci...

Death Penalty Pilgrimage Melody Ermachild Chavis

As many pilgrims do, I set out on my journey with an exhausted heart. After twenty years of work as an investigator defending prisoners facing the death penalty, I felt worn down by injustice and the accelerating executions. So far, none of my own clients has been killed, but the case of one, a man so mentally ill that he can no longer communicate meaningfully, is very close to an inevitable end. Thinking that I should probably hike around a sacred mountain or visit a holy shrine, I nevertheless bought a plane ticket to Huntsville, Texas, the capitol of capital punishment. Sometimes when you feel like running from something, I thought, it's better to turn around and face it head-on. I was going to Texas to see The Waiting Room, an art exhibit. The advance publicity explained that sculptor Richard Kamler sought to create"the emotional, visual, physical and social environment of San Quentin's death row waiting room."

The Cry of God

The hour is very late. The moment is very serious. In a few minutes, a human life is going to be taken, a soul torn from its bodily encasing. I think we need to look at what is happening tonight with clear eyes, without romanticism or delusion. It says in the Talmud, that whenever anyone was executed by a court, God cried. God cried out, "My head hurts! My arm hurts! My head hurts!" Imagine how God must have felt when Darrell Rich went on his terrible rampage 22 years ago. One of his victims, Annete Selix was lured or dragged into a car and the next day she was found dead, curled in the fetal position at the bottom of a 105 foot bridge, broken and sexually brutalized. She had been flung naked from the bridge to the muddy gravel below while still alive after her attacker had raped and sodomized her and left deep bite marks on her body. She choked on her own blood before dying.