Is freedom a state of mind? It’s not an easy question to answer from this side of the fence, so I’m going to need your help with this!
Some days I think that it is, depending on my mood and my headspace.
The reason that I’m saying this, is that I often hear people saying “you’ll have more freedom if you get resentenced to life.” It is true that I’ll no longer be in solitary confinement, and I won’t have a death sentence over my head, but I’ll still be a far way from freedom, or my understanding of what freedom is.
Of course, I’m still limited in many ways but I still have control of my thoughts, so in that sense I do have freedom, but when you’re looking at the years fly by through a fence, freedom isn’t the first word that comes to mind.
A post from David…
I know the importance of making the most of today, and not dwelling on what could’ve been, but it’s something that I struggle with on a daily basis.
No matter all of the things I’ve forgotten, I still get some of the most random thoughts, and it takes me there. No one really plans to end up on death row, at least I haven’t met a single person who said that ending up on death row was a life goal and trust, I’ve met some interesting characters (interesting is one way to put it.)
I’m guilty of taking things, and people, for granted at some point in my life, and I’m sure we can all say that, not knowing I would find myself in this position.
Maybe it’s okay to dwell on the “what could’ve been”every now and again, as a reminder to appreciate what you have today.
There was an execution on May 23rd. The first for the newly elected Governor. Now everybody is anxiously waiting to see what he does next. The previous Governor set the record for the most executions by a Governor of Florida. Hopefully, topping that number isn’t a goal for this Governor.
As long as I’ve been here, you would think that it’s just another day. But you can’t ignore the reality of the situation. When you exhaust your appeals, you’re eligible, and there’s no way around that. This was the 39th execution in Florida during my time on the Row, and it doesn’t get any easier. Of course you don’t ever forget where you’re at. You’re reminded by the cell bars every morning. But when there’s an execution, it’s like a pause, and you have to re-set.
Some executions affect you more than others, more so when you got to know that person, but even if you have never met that person you feel something, because deep down you know that could’ve been you.
So it’s time for me to re-set, and hope that this Governor didn’t get the satisfaction that the previous Governor obviously got, with each one he oversaw.
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.
In this latest post, David reflects on the past 20 years…
Lately I’ve been thinking about a milestone that’s quickly approaching. I was 20 years old when I caught the case, and I’ll be 40 years old next year. That’s half of my life on the other side.
I’m having mixed emotions about this. On the one hand, I’m thankful to have had those 20 years and some may say “what’s 20 years in a whole life?”, on the other hand, some people may say that it’s 20 years that I didn’t deserve. Of course, we won’t always agree but I do respect all opinions.
As I reflect on the years passed, it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long. The reality is, I can’t say that I won’t ever do wrong again, but everyday the goal is to strive to do better, and to be better. Hopefully, I’ve made some progress in those 20 years, more than someone who is just existing.