A painting from David’s friend, encapsulating some of David’s favourite things and feelings. A sentiment that David tries to live by and inspire in family and friends.
As David’s friends, we don’t want you to feel sorry for us. We’re happy to have a good friend in our lives. And actually David doesn’t want you to feel sorry for him either.
But we want you to, sometimes, feel angry. As we do. With the random twists and turns of a system that, as David said in his last post, is all about politics. And plays with people’s lives as political flips of a coin. Last week we came across this article. It made us angry and scared…..
“More than 100 inmates condemned to death could face a major upheaval, as a revamped Florida Supreme Court ponders whether to undo a 2016 ruling that allowed nearly half of the state’s Death Row prisoners to have their death sentences revisited.
With a conservative bloc of justices led by Chief Justice Charles Canady now in the majority, the court has begun the process of reconsidering whether changes to Florida’s death penalty-sentencing system should continue being applied retroactively to cases dating to 2002.
The court’s reopening of the retroactivity issue, which came in an April 24 order, sent shockwaves through the state’s death-penalty legal community.
“This is judicial activism. The right has always complained about judicial activism and not wanting judicial activist judges. But when you don’t respect precedent, that really is the judicial activism,” Marty McClain, a lawyer who has represented hundreds of defendants in death-penalty cases, told The News Service of Florida in a telephone interview.” (ocala.com)
So where now? Will those currently in the Re-sentencing program (like David) progress? Will only those not started yet be revisited? Will those already resentenced be resentenced again? We, his friends, feel anxious and helpless. Imagine what he must feel.
And yeah, I can hear people saying “so what?” Or “they deserve it”. But – sometimes against our experience, we still believe in due process. In treating people fairly and transparently. And consistently. Are we naive? You tell us.
This post has been written by one of David’s friends who helps to run this Blog.
As well as discussing David’s experiences of the American judicial system and capital punishment, we hope to humanise the debate surrounding the death penalty and those who live on it. This is the first post from one of David’s friends which we hope offers an additional and alternative insight into David and the type of people that find themselves on death row – real people with family, friends and loved ones.
Why do I write to someone on Death Row?
I don’t. I write to my friend David.
You see, you wouldn’t say “I write to someone who lives in a bungalow” or “I write to someone whose flat is on the 6th floor”. The Row is where David lives. Where, as he said in his last blog post, he wakes up every morning determined to do something positive with the day. And, for me, when he’s writing to me or thinking about me, it’s overwhelmingly positive.
David encourages me to talk to him about my son, who died. He calls me out about working too hard. He’s just started a campaign to get me to stop smoking, because that’s what friends do.
I don’t know you, or why you are reading this blog. In fact, it would be great to know why, and what you want from it, (we’re really keen to hear from people reading this). But David’s blog team – his friends – know why we’re writing it. We’re not do-gooders. Or naïve. We’re terribly aware of our privilege, sitting in comfortable homes in the UK, writing when we feel like it. But we’ve got to know the person behind the label – the many labels – and we’d like you to as well.
There are many directions this blog can go in. The details of everyday life. The issues around legal representation for people on the Row. We’d like to know what you would like to hear more on, chat about and discuss?
But to begin with, my aim is to introduce you to my friend, just like I would at a party or if I bumped into you in the store.
What I know about David…
- David hates cigarettes.
- Is getting to like dogs (or maybe only my dog?!)
- David reads a lot.
- Loves reggae.
- Plays basketball really well.
- Supports a soccer team (luckily, the same one as me!).
- He keeps in really good touch with his ex-girlfriend.
- His handwriting is way neater than mine.
- He loves lions.
- David challenges me when I’m judgemental.
- He doesn’t quite get Brexit (who does?) but keeps really informed about politics on both sides of the pond.
Most importantly, he’s my friend.