Monday, January 13, 2014

Has it really been that long?



As I sit here writing this, today marks the day exactly 25 years ago when the state of Florida did all they could to kill me. It was on this day that I awoke in that solitary cell only a few steps away from that cold gray solid steel door that led into the execution chamber where Florida’s infamous electric chair awaited. Has it really been that long ago? It doesn’t seem that so many years have already passed. As I’ve always heard it, time passes quickly when you’re having fun, but I damned sure haven’t had a lot of fun over these many years.

When I look around me, not much has really changed. I still awake each day in a solitary cell not all that different from the one in which I waited to die, and I’m still awaiting the uncertainty of my faith, knowing only too well that on any day now the governor could get a wild hair up his spineless ass and sign a new death warrant on me and so many others, especially since our names are on the recently submitted “death warrant eligible” list.

But perhaps the one thing that has changed is that I don’t really care whether they do or not. Somewhere along this never ending journey that I’ve been on, any “fear” of them coming to kill me has long ago faded away. As the years passed, I’ve even awoken more than too many days all but praying to whatever God it was that long ago abandoned me and the countless other lost souls warehoused around me, and “prayed” that the nightmare would end, even if that meant ending it by my death.

You have to love that paradox – them that so zealously imposed death upon me, all but foaming at their mouths like rabid dogs, truly believed that I was supposed to be somehow afraid to die, maybe even drop down to my knees and beg for mercy knowing all too well that them, consumed by vengeance  are incapable of mercy. But in all thee years, not even once have I ever begged, and f they came to take me away tomorrow, I know I still wouldn’t beg and that the joke would be on them as I have long ago came to accept that if I cannot win my physical freedom through the politically corrupted courts (see www.southerninjustice.net ), then spiritual freedom from this hell that only man could create through physical death, would still be freedom.

Today I take a few minutes to look back on that long day and endless night when at 28 years old, I confronted my fate (you can read about my brush with death in my essays “The Day God Died” and also "Facing my own Execution" ) and thought was lucky to survive, only to learn that there truly are fates far worse than physical death – and that the quarter of a century that would follow that date with death would teach me only too well that had I known what I know today – that I would slowly rot away one day at a time and grow old and gray in a cold crypt of steel and stone, separated from and inevitably abandoned by all who once cared for me, I know without any doubt or a momentarily reservation that I would had made those cold blooded bastards kill me that day and spared myself the next 25 years.

But then again, even if I say those words, there’s that bigger part of me that, despite the circumstances, remains forever hopeful that the day will come when the corrupt courts will finally do the right thing and rule in my favor and after the long 30 years, I will find myself back out there in the real world, and allowed to live what’s left of my life as a free man.

Who knows what tomorrow might bring? But it’s the hope and dreams that keep all of us going. Sure, objectively speaking, anyone would agree that my life sucks. But no matter how bad it might get, there are countless others that are far worse. Although the negativity of my situation does drag me down at times, especially when I’m foolish enough to contemplate the circumstances. I also must remind myself that I am far more blessed than most of them I live among. Too many here in my world truly have been completely abandoned by all and as the years pass they retreat further and further into that dark shadow of their own minds, until one day all that remains is the flesh, as the mind and soul have slowly eroded away.

So, as I “celebrate” my 25th anniversary of a continued life despite their never-ending attempts to end it, I realize that I do have a measure of freedom far greater than that many in the real world out there don’t have – I am free to choose how I want to deal with my fate. No matter what evil the cold blooded society might inflict on me, I alone am the gatekeeper, deciding for myself whether I will allow this solitary journey to eat away at who I am until all that remains is anger and hopelessness – or I can choose to laugh in the face of death and embrace this unique growth experience as it comes. And today, in this moment I do laugh and if they come to kill me tomorrow, I will laugh again. And as long as I can still laugh in the face of death, I know that I alone remain the master of my own life and nothing they can do will break me, as if the past 25 years has taught me anything, it is the measure of strength within myself, and I am stronger than they can ever hope to be, knowing that what does not kill me can only make me stronger and that at the end of the day the only absolute reality is death and nobody gets out alive.

Michael Lambrix

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The End of Yet Another Year

Here I am once again and I must begin by first expressing my gratitude to the small circle of really
awesome friends that I’ve been blessed with. Often I look around me and am only too aware that most of the guys in here have nobody and rarely even get mail. It makes me appreciate that even in the depths of this hell that man has created, there truly are many levels and no matter how bad it might be I know that I am far more fortunate than most of those around me. So, that’s why it’s so important to me that I let my friends know how much I do appreciate them.

It’s been a pretty difficult past few months. The denial of my new evidence innocence appeal this past June was a hard blow, but through the too many years I’ve gotten pretty good at rolling with the punches. The Florida Supreme Court also denied our “Motion for Rehearing”, but that was to be expected, Now within the next few months we will file a new appeal (technically called a “Petition for Writ of Certiorari”) in the United States Supreme Court, asking them to review the Florida Supreme Court’s denial and I think that under applicable Federal law there is a good chance that the Supreme Court will accept review and reverse the Florida Supreme Court, and throw my convictions out. This appeal, when it is filed, will be posted on my new website (which is still under construction) www.southerninjustice.net (the previously posted website www.southerninjustice.com is no longer accessible to me, which is why we had to put up a new one)



Also, as of November 22, 2013 my new appeal has been now filed in the Florida Supreme Court under Lambrix v State, Case No. SC13-1471. This appeal argues that based on the 2012 decision in Martinez v Ryan (US Supreme Court) the state court must now allow a full review of all the claims that were previously found “procedurally barred” including the evidence supporting my innocence, because my original post conviction lawyer failed to properly raise them. In 1996 the Florida Supreme Court made it clear that this 1996 decision was wrong. IF we can convince the Florida Supreme Court that they must now re-open my case, then I will finally be able to present all the evidence supporting my claim of innocence.

I am also pursuing a similar argument in the Federal Courts, but so far both the state and federal courts are refusing to recognize that last years Supreme Court decision in Martinez v Ryan requires re-examination. I think it’s only a matter of time before the Us Supreme Court will take up the issue, and then order the State and Federal courts to fully review claims brought under Martinez. And there’s a good chance that my case will be the one the US Supreme Court decides this important issue on. Again, the recently filed appeal now pending in the Florida Supreme Court will soon be available to read on www.southerninjustice.net
For those who constantly whine about how death row prisoners should only be allowed one round of appeals and then quickly put to death, they need to read the recent decision by the Florida Supreme Court on Roy Swafford v. State of Florida. On November 7, 2013 the Florida Supreme Court vacated Roy’s capital murder and rape conviction after previously denying relief in at least 4 appeals. Only now, almost 30 years later, did the evidence (including DNA evidence) finally rise to the level that the Court could no longer deny that Roy was wrongfully convicted and condemned to death for a crime he was innocent of.

What should really bother those of moral conscience is that all of this comes only after Roy came close to being executed years ago, and only a month after Roy’s name was included on a list of “death warrant eligible” prisoners. Roy’s case should remind all of us, especially these pro death penalty politicians who want to expedite executions that our system is far from being anywhere near perfect and even after many appeals have been repeatedly denied, and in too many cases there are still substantial and as yet unresolved questions of innocence.

But even as glad as we all are that Roy Swafford was finally exonerated of a crime he was innocent of, this past month another man who has been here for at least 30 years passed away. Tommy Groover died on October 31 (Halloween) after a long battle with health issues. This year has taken many of those from amongst our ranks, with Michael Bruno, Peter Ventura, Gary Alvord, Thomas Wyatt, “Buck” Gordy and Tommy Groover dying of natural causes” while the governor Rick Scott is pushing to put a record number of men to death by execution. If Governor Scott succeeds in executing Askari Muhammed  (Thomas Knight) in December 27, then he will hold the record for the most executions by any Florida governor in a single year. And it will only get worse next year!

I hope that all of you will check out my new website www.southerninjustice.net, as well as my postings on www.minutesbeforesix.com  (If you haven’t already read my continuing series “Alcatraz of the South”, you should) and until next time, I wish all of you a Happy Holiday

Michael Lambrix #482053

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Latest News from Florida’s Death Row (Sept, 2013)



Allow me to first send a warm hello to those that I am truly blessed to have as friends, who I too often neglect to express my gratitude and appreciation towards but wouldn’t want any of them to think that I take their friendship for granted. As most who read my irrelevant blog already know, things in my life have been especially difficult this summer as the courts denied my appeals and then last month the prison system tried to push through a new rule that if passed, would had effectively silenced me and all other Florida prisoners by prohibiting any and all forms of expression by way of the internet – more on that in just a minute.

It has been a long and hot summer – but what Florida summer isn’t? This time of year I am reminded just how much it means not only to me, but to all of us here on Florida’s death row to have these small electric fans. Most of you already know how unbearable a Florida summer can be – especially when you’re kept in a six foot concrete cage indefinitely, which becomes an oven during the long days of relentless summer heat and humidity.

But what some of you may not know is that for many years any form of fan was prohibited under the pretense of “security”, even a simple piece of cardboard used as a handheld fan could get you thrown into the hole. It really has nothing to do with any legitimate security concerns – it was simply yet another manifestation of the extreme malice prison officials held towards death row and their intent to have us suffer as much as they could.

From 1984 to 2006 I never had any form of fan and the only reprieve from the oppressive heat would be to sit naked on my toilet and pour water over my body to momentarily cool off. Then Randall Berg of the Florida Legal Institute agreed to represent the death row population in the Federal lawsuit arguing that the refusal to allow even so much as a small fan was “cruel and unusual”.

Only when under threat of legal action did the prison officials finally agree to allow a small electric fan, but that window of opportunity would be only open for a limited time, and at that moment of greatest urgency the completely volunteer group FDRAG (Florida Death Row Advocacy Group http://fdrag.kk5.org/#) quickly raised enough money to donate a small fan to each Florida death row prisoner, and so in 2005 Florida death row prisoners finally were allowed an electric fan. 


But donating fans to death row is only a small part of what FDRAG has so generously done to advocate humane conditions on Florida’s death row. Years ago when prison officials proposed to eliminate “contact” visits for Florida’s death row prisoners, FDRAG organized protests and the FDOC backed off, allowing us to keep our visits.

Recently, the few people who work to keep FDRAG going have struggled as support for the group has declined. So I wanted to take this moment to say how much it means to all of us here on death row to have FDRAG around, and for those of you who are not yet aware of the difference FDRAG on the quality of life for all of us here, I would ask that you check out FDRAG’s website  http://fdrag.kk5.org/# and consider to offer your support in any way you can or become a member as there is really strength in numbers and if only the membership in FDRAG would increase collectively we can all make a real difference.

Moving on, as I previously wrote in a blog in July, the pro-death penalty republican conservatives that control the Florida legislative pushed through new laws entitled The Timely Justice Act designed to significantly expedite more executions by now statutorily mandating that the Florida governor sign “death warrants” on every death sentenced prisoner who has completed his/her first round of state and federal appeals within 30 days. Under this new law at least 125 Florida death row prisoners (including myself) become immediately “death warrant eligible” as of July 1, 2013, with all 125+ executions to be scheduled within 6 months.

Numerous lawyers quickly filed a comprehensive legal challenge to this “Timely Justice Act” in the Florida Supreme court focusing primarily on the argument that the state legislature is constitutionally prohibited from passing laws mandating that another branch of government (i.e., the Governor) perform their duties in a certain manner. This legal challenge remains pending at this time with no action taken as the Florida Supreme Court has been out on their summer vacation until the last week of August.

Now that the Florida Supreme Court is back in session, we expect that the court will soon address this legal challenge. The state has responded to this challenge by claiming that the Florida Supreme Court does not have jurisdiction to entertain review of this challenge. This novel argument was specifically encouraged by Florida Supreme Court (current) chief Justice Rick Polston and Justice Charles Canady as an obvious attempt to circumvent review. Both chief Justice Polston and Justice Canady were politically appointed to the Florida Supreme Court after previously working with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush when he tried to push through the “Death Penalty Reform Act of 2000” , which attempted to adopt the Texas appeal system to Florida, but was declared unconstitutional by the Florida Supreme Court in 2000.

Now the pro-death penalty politicians have politically appointed their hand-picked death merchants to the Florida Supreme Court and chief Justice Polston and Justice Canady will use their power to push to have this new law upheld. But it will take 4 of the 7 Florida Supreme Court justices to reach any legal binding decision. There’s reason to believe that at least 4 of the current FSC justices will find that this newly passed Timely Justice Act does violate Florida’s “definition of power” laws and strike it down as unconstitutional. All we can do is wait and see..

In other news, the Florida Department of Corrections recently lost a significant federal lawsuit that had argued that the Florida DOC was violating prisoner’s constitutional right by refusing to provide an adequate “religious” diet for Jewish and Muslim prisoners who are prohibited from consuming “unclean” foods. As a result, the Florida DOC has been forced to immediately provide a “religious” diet to any Florida prisoner who declares that due to religious beliefs they cannot consume unclean foods. Not surprisingly, already many Florida prisoners (including those on death row) suddenly found “religion” and have signed up for this new “religious” diet.

To understand why such a substantial number have jumped on board, you must first understand that for many years now the Florida prison system has systematically “modified” our regular diet with the goal of cutting costs by almost completely eliminating any form of real meat, fruit or milk products. Most meats have become some form of soy protein based “meat substitute” that is virtually tasteless, and the quality of the food has become progressively worse and is generally considered to be inedible by most prisoners.

So, while the rest of us continue being fed food that not even a desperate dog would eat, those on this diet are now getting real food, prepared by an outside food vendor that is restaurant quality and includes real eggs and fruit at each breakfast and real meat (turkey cutlet, fish, chicken filets, Salisbury steak etc ) at all meals.

Although I’m tempted to get on this new diet myself, I would have to first declare myself either Muslim or Jewish, and as a matter of personal choice of religious affiliation, I cannot do that. So, I’m stuck with the garbage they feed us on the regular diet.

Last, for those of you who are not aware yet, the Florida DOC recently contracted all money deposits services to the private company JPay, so money orders cannot be sent to FDOC Tallahassee Inmate Bank anymore, but now must be sent to the Jpay address in Miami. You can find all the information you need at jpay.com, and this service also allows the convenience of electronic money deposits.  

That concludes this update on news affecting Florida death row. Again I thank all of you for your interest and continued support!

Michael Lambrix 
Florida Death Row

Please check out my site
www.southerninjustice.net



Tuesday, July 30, 2013

UPDATE ON IMMINENT FLORIDA HOLOCAUST

Before I address the latest developments regarding the recently passed “Timely Justice Act” which (if implemented) will directly lead to the signing of up to 200 death warrants in a matter of months, with each scheduled for execution within 180 days, I want to first take a moment to express my gratitude to all those who so generously reached out after the Florida Supreme Court denied my latest new evidence/innocence appeal in a particularly hostile ruling on June 27, 2013.

I cannot even begin to tell all of you how much it means to me that I have those of you who do care enough to send words of support and encouragement when the storm clouds gather above. Each day, just as every other condemned man and woman, I struggle to sustain my faith and hope that truth and justice will prevail. It’s not easy, and each time the politically corrupt courts deliberately turn a blind eye to my consistently pled evidence, supported by a virtual wealth of evidence, it becomes all that much more difficult.

But I truly am blessed by those who have so faithfully stood by me through the too many years. And I know that if not for the strength and support I receive from this small group of loyal friends, I would have given up long ago. So, thank you for all your cards and letters, and know that they are truly appreciated.

Now, I want to update all of you on the now imminent Florida Holocaust, which I wrote about in an earlier blog (“The Untimely Injustice Act”). On Monday July 15, 2013 I personally met with one of the lawyers representing death-sentenced prisoners on a comprehensive challenge to the constitutionality of this new Florida law that intends to severely limit capital post-conviction appeals and significantly speed up executions by obstructing any opportunity to develop and present new evidence supporting innocence.

This comprehensive legal challenge was formally filed in the Florida Supreme Court on June 26, 2013 and is docketed as Dane P. Abdool, et al. vs. Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General and the State of Florida, and the Florida Supreme Court Case number is “SC13-9999.” This was filed as a class action, with 166 Florida death-sentenced prisoners specifically named as the Petitioners (including myself). In actuality, this action represents all Florida death-sentenced prisoners, including many who would not be immediately affected by this new law as they have not yet completed their “first round” of both state and federal appeals or been provided the pathetically useless “clemency” review (no Florida death row prisoner has been actually granted clemency in well over 25 years).



This legal action is titled “Emergency Petition To Invoke This Court’s All Writs Jurisdiction, To Declare Unconstitutional Provisions Of The Timely Justice Act Of 2013, And For Immediate Temporary Injunctive Relief.” In addition to be represented by the politically appointed directors of the state-funded law offices responsible for providing post-conviction representation to hundreds of death-sentenced prisoners, private practitioners Martin J. McClain, Linda McDermott, and Terri Backhus, who also represent numerous death-sentenced prisoners, have signed on. For those unfamiliar with the Florida system, these are some of the most experienced and competent lawyers in capital post-conviction law. So it goes without saying that this legal challenge is well represented by a group of lawyers who have unquestionably proven their commitment to the cause over many years. ‘Marty’ McClain and Linda McDermott are considered by many as the best capital post-conviction lawyers practicing in Florida today.

What is at issue is whether the Florida legislature has the constitutional authority to implement statutory provisions effectively mandating that the Florida Governor “shall” sign death warrants within 30 days of capital cases certified by the Florida Supreme Court as having completed the first round of state and federal appeals. And upon signing such death warrants, each execution shall be scheduled within 180 days.

Under both the Florida and the Federal Constitution, known as the “Separation of Powers” clause, one branch of government cannot encroach upon another branch of government by ordering how to perform its duties. At both the state and federal levels there are 3 branches of government; (1) Legislative, (2) Executive, and (3) Judicial. The legislative branch passes new laws, which the Executive branch (the state governor or president) must then either sign into law or veto. Then as a means of safeguarding against political tyranny that might otherwise threaten the integrity of our constitutional democracy, if the newly created laws conflict with a fundamental constitutional right or provision, then interested parties are entitled to challenge the constitutional validity of these new laws in the Judicial branch by filing a “petition” such as what has now been filed.

To illustrate how this system of balances and checks is designed to work, shortly after Jeb Bush (younger brother of then President George W. Bush) won election as governor of Florida, he pushed through new laws in a joint effort with the Florida legislature that would have adopted the Texas death penalty appeal process to Florida. Its intent (like this recently passed “Timely Justice Act”) was to significantly limit the appeals death-sentenced prisoners could pursue, so that they could be executed that much quicker, even if they were innocent.

But this “Death Penalty Reform Act of 2000” was challenged before it could be implemented under the argument that under the Florida constitution, only the Florida Supreme Court (judicial branch) could create rules governing appellate procedures. So the Florida legislature’s (and Governor Jeb Bush’s) attempt to pass laws limiting post-conviction appellate review was unconstitutional because it violated the ‘separation of powers’ clause of the Florida Constitution. In the subsequent ruling in Allen v. Butterworth, 756 So. 2d. 52 (Fla. 2000) the Florida Supreme Court agreed and declared the “Death Penalty Reform Act of 2000” to be an unconstitutional attempt to encroach upon the judicial branch powers.

But just like their counterparts in Texas, Florida’s pro-death penalty Republicans do not give up so easily and they will zealously seek more and more executions despite empirical evidence that innocent people are being wrongfully convicted, condemned, and even put to death.

So, when the Florida Supreme Court declared the “Death Penalty Reform Act of 2000” to be unconstitutional, the Florida Republicans decided it was time to impose a political coup on the Florida Supreme Court by stacking the Court with their own hand-picked pro-death penalty justices. It came as no surprise when Florida Governor (then a Republican, but since ostracized by the Florida Republican party) Charlie Crist politically appointed none other than Charles Canady and Andrews Polston to the Florida Supreme Court. Both Canady and Polston were Jeb Bush insiders, who were personally involved in attempting to push through the “Death Penalty Reform Act of 2000.” The deliberate appointment of both Canady and Polston served only one purpose – to take political control of the Florida Supreme Court so these rabid republicans can force their new laws through and turn Florida into a killing machine.

Additionally, the Republican party gained complete control of both the Florida House of Representatives and Florida Senate, which controls the budget, and made it very clear to the Florida Supreme Court that if they continued to stand in their way, the Florida Supreme Court’s budget would be substantially reduced, effectively holding the Florida Supreme Court hostage to their own political will.

It then came as no surprise when, during this past legislative session, Florida republicans pushed through the “Timely Justice Act” to once again attempt to adopt the Texas post-conviction appeal process as a means in which to speed up executions.

This latest attempt to exert legislative control over the rule-making function of the Florida Supreme Court is clearly unconstitutional for the same reasons as the “Death Penalty Reform Act of 2000”, as recognized in Allen v. Butterworth, 756 So. 2d 52 (Fla. 2000). But this time, the politically stacked Florida Supreme Court is reluctant to intervene for fear of political retribution.

In a recent administrative order (not published), the Florida Supreme Court ordered the State of Florida to respond to the comprehensive legal challenge to these new laws. But upon careful reading of that order, one will notice that the Florida Supreme Court specifically instructed the State of Florida to address the question of whether the court even had jurisdiction to review the legality of this new law. The state’s response must be filed by July 18, 2013 and our reply is to be filed by July 29, 2013. After the reply is filed, the court should schedule oral arguments within the following month, which can be viewed in their entirely on the internet, both ‘live’ and recorded, at www.gavel2gavel.com (Case No. SC13-9999, Abdool v. PamBondi).

The reason the wording of this order is so troubling is that by questioning whether the Florida Supreme Court has ‘jurisdiction’ to review the legality of the “Timely Justice Act”, it’s become clear that some of the 7 justices are already attempting to obstruct review by asserting the court does not have jurisdiction. There’s absolutely NO doubt that both Chief Justice Andrew Polston and his pro-death penalty colleague, Justice Charles Canady are aggressively playing back door politics, questioning the court’s jurisdiction as a means of attempting to prevent the other 5 justices on the Florida Supreme Court from using majority vote to declare this new Timely Justice Act unconstitutional as they previously did in Allen v. Butterworth.

Bottom line, the lawyers representing Florida’s death-sentenced prisoners did file a comprehensive and competent petition challenging this newly created “Timely Justice Act” that should win. But because of the political corruption of the Florida Supreme Court, the court may not even accept review by disingenuously finding they don’t have jurisdiction. If this new law is not declared invalid, then Florida will soon proceed to sign death warrants within 180 days. Not even Texas has attempted to kill as many so quickly. But Florida is determined to turn the state into the leader of state-sanctioned executions. All we can do is wait and see.

Michael Lambrix

Please check out my website
http://www.southerninjustice.net

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

FLORIDA SUPREME COURT RULES ON APPEAL



As some of you who regularly follow my blog already know, on Thursday June 27, 2013 the Florida Supreme Court finally ruled on my long pending new evidence/innocence appeal, and unanimously denied the appeal in a “per curium” opinion. Considering it took the court almost 3 years to finally decide this case, the denial was a surprise – but even more surprising was the hostility reflected in the ruling. Instead of giving adequate review of the state’s own deliberate prosecutorial misconduct, as even the state conceded that the prosecutor had intentionally concealed numerous state crime lab files containing crucial evidence that would have undoubtedly undermined the credibility of the state’s key witness, the Florida Supreme Court instead chose to vent their unjustified hostility towards any “secondary” post conviction appeals.



Perhaps in a better world we would like to think that those appointed to our highest courts would have the moral character and professional integrity to rise above their own obvious prejudices and rule according to the law. But as the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said, paraphrasing, those who spend their whole lives fighting monsters should not so much fear the monster, but instead fear becoming the monster. I truly doubt those on the Florida Supreme Court can even see the evil boiling within them, and blinded by their own distorted sense of “moral justification” they probably even think they are doing the right thing when they respond with such hostility towards legitimate claims of innocence and knowingly send innocent men and women to their death under the pretense of administering justice.

But the irony of their actions is that this decision strays so far and contrary to well established law that it could be argued that by ruling as they did, the Florida Supreme Court actually may have done me a favor.

Here’s what is at issue. The main claim in this appeal was that the prosecutor who originally tried this case deliberately concealed numerous state crime lab records back in 1983 that contained irrefutable evidence that the state crime lab found numerous hairs on the alleged “murder weapon” that did not match either the victim, or me, but were consistent with those of the state’s key witness, Frances Smith.

In 2009 an independent researcher found these state crime lab files concealed at a state records repository in boxes from the State Attorney’s office. This researcher then turned these file folders over to my lawyers, who immediately recognized that this was a major violation of long established Federal constitutional law.

In a nutshell, it has long been established that prosecutors are constitutionally required to disclose all favorable evidence to the defendant. Yet consistently we see that prosecutors deliberately violate this law and hide favorable evidence, hoping it will never be discovered – and only god knows how much is not discovered! This type of deliberate prosecutor misconduct is responsible for a greater percentage of wrongful convictions in death penalty cases than any other cause – and Florida by far leads the country in the number of such wrongful convictions in capital cases!

Apparently embarrassed by their record number of wrongful convictions, the Florida courts have now decided they will just ignore such deliberate prosecutorial misconduct – even if it means sending an innocent man to his death. For example, in James Guzman v. State of Florida, 721 So. 2d. 1155 (Fla. 1998) the Florida Supreme Court addressed a similar case in which irrefutable evidence showed the prosecutor deliberately concealed evidence that would have impeached the credibility of the state’s key witness – if the Florida Supreme Court had it their way, Guzman would have been put to death. But the Florida court’s denial was so contrary to applicable Federal law that the Federal courts subsequently intervened, specifically finding the Florida Supreme Court’s denial of a new trial “unreasonable” and “clearly contrary to established Federal law,” and on October 27, 2011 the Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, vacated Guzman’s capital convictions and ordered a new trial.


Similarly, on January 20, 2012, the United States Supreme Court issued its opinion in Juan Smith v. Burl Cain, U.S. Sct Case No. 10-8145. Like in Guzman, the death sentenced petitioner (Juan Smith) was denied relief by the state courts on a claim that the prosecutor had deliberately concealed evidence that could have been used to undermine the credibility of the state’s key witness. In a cursory opinion written by Chief Justice Roberts, which even conservative pro death penalty justices Scalia and Alito joined, the Supreme Court found that the state courts denial of this claim was unreasonable and contrary to clearly established federal law, and threw out all five capital convictions and sentences of death imposed on Juan Smith…only Justice Clarence Thomas disagreed.

For that reason, being familiar with applicable law, when I learned of how the Florida Supreme Court had denied my appeal in an extremely hostile opinion focused more on unethically attacking me and my legal counsel than on the substantial issue presented, instead of being upset, I smiled, as I knew immediately that they actually did me a favor – and their denial of relief actually will now significantly improve the likelihood that either the U.S. Supreme Court or Federal Court will now throw out my convictions in their entirety – and set the stage for my release, although it will now take longer.

Here’s how the case will now proceed…once the Florida Supreme Court’s ruling is “final” (after rehearing is denied), my lawyers will now take the case directly to the U.S. Supreme Court, and argue that as in Smith v. Cain (2012), the state court’s cursory denial of this substantial Federal claim must be summarily thrown out in their entirety. And in light of Smith v. Cain, there’s a very good chance that the U.S. Supreme Court will now do just that.

But assuming for the moment that the Supreme Court declines review, thanks to the Florida court’s refusal to allow a full evidentiary hearing on this issue, I will now be entitled to a full new Federal appeal, which will also now allow me to specifically argue “fundamental miscarriage of justice/actual innocence” – meaning that this will now open the door to allowing me to present all the evidence supporting my consistently pled claim of actual innocence.

Although it sucks that the Florida Supreme Court has once again shown that they lack the moral character and integrity to follow long established constitutional law – which obviously contributes to why Florida leads the country in wrongful convictions in capital cases – the truth is that upon realizing just how extremely outside applicable law this ruling was, I almost felt compelled to give the Florida Supreme Court justices a big hug and heartfelt thanks. And I can’t help but wonder if the Florida Supreme Court justices actually knew what they were doing as they obviously are aware of the decisions in Smith v. Cain and Guzman v. Sect., FDOC, and either just didn’t care what the Federal Courts think – or this is their way of saying that although they don’t have the courage or integrity to do the right thing by ruling as they did, they knowingly set the state for what they know will almost certainly now result in Federal Courts throwing out my convictions and result in my own exoneration and release.

I realize that many who do care about me and have followed my case are probably upset about this seemingly awful ruling – but I write this to tell you that although the Florida Supreme Court’s ruling was unreasonably hostile and reflects just how completely corrupted the Florida Supreme Court has become by the “politics of death” – and why there can be no doubt that they are only too willing to put innocent people to death – this really was not that bad of a ruling as they all but guaranteed that I will now receive full Federal review and almost certainly will now have my convictions vacated by the Federal Courts.

Michael Lambrix # 482053
Union Correctional Institution
7819 NW 228th street
Raiford, Florida 32026



Monday, June 24, 2013

The Untimely Injustice Act (Florida's Intent to Compete with Texas)


Once again the insidious "politics of death" has cast a dark and ominous cloud over the entire death row community. And by that, I do not only mean the more than 400 men and women currently on Florida's death row, but also the many more truly innocent victims of the this politically motivated holocaust perpetuated for political gain by those elected to public office upon the exploitation of the misery of victims of crime.

In recent months the usual group of republican politicians in the Florida legislative pushed through new laws they dared to title "the Timely Justice Act" which are designed to "speed up executions". Under these new laws, the Florida governor will now be statutorily mandated to sign a death warrant on any and all death sentenced prisoner within 30 days of the Florida Supreme Court certifying that the prisoner has completed his or her initial round of both state and federal appeals and been provided the cursory "clemency review"

For those unfamiliar with how the process works this might not seem so unreasonable. But then, that's exactly where these merchants of death rely upon, the blissful ignorance of the obedient sheep who will blindly follow as they are led right over the cliff.. These politicians master the the art of manipulating the masses into their very own contemporary lynch mob, feeding them false information as they fan the frenzy of their blood lust. And make no mistake about it - today's death penalty, even for all it's pretense of civilized civility, truly is cut of the same cloth as those images of the blood lust intoxicated lynch mobs of the wild , wild west where the crowds would gather cheering on as the condemned soul would be strung up in the old town square. Although contemporary political correctness now makes it unappealing to so blatantly advocate the execution of another, that same inherent evil does continue to thrive within too many who today will rally around the politics of death as an excuse to kill another.

There can be no doubt that it was, and is, politics that brought
us to where we are. But why would these Florida politicians so aggressively push to pass new laws, intended to undermine the fairness of our process even more, than it already has been by demanding those sentenced to death those sentenced to death be expeditiously executed even if they may be innocent - and then dare call it the "Timely Justice Act"?

To answer that question, we must first recognize that here in Florida we are on the eye of yet another election year and when it comes down to it, the south will always be the south - just like in Texas Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, and the entire southeast (which without exception zealously embraces the death penalty), nothing wins more votes than a good old fashioned lynching. This new law is not really intended to speed up executions - in fact it may even slow the whole process down as lawyers file the anticipated legal challenges to this new law.

Obviously, those politicians know without doubt that by pushing through these substantial changes in Florida's laws intended to 9at least on paper) turn Florida in another Texas by "forcing" the executions of hundreds of Florida death row prisoners there would be equally substantial legal challenges which they knew would actually slow the process down while these legal challenges make their ways through the courts. But they don't care as they know Florida voters have a long established history of mass stupidity and will be easily manipulated into casting their vote for these rabid republicans simply upon the perception of a promise to put hundreds of condemned prisoners to a quick death.

As for now, this new law has now re-energized the debate about the death penalty and resulted in renewed campaigns to abolish the death penalty in Florida, again, these politicians know that by provoking these renewed debates, the brain dead sheep that blindly follow them will now also be as equally energized to pump countless amounts of money into the campaign coffers of these politicians, who portray themselves as the great guardian of the victims on the promise of fighting to keep Florida's death penalty.

Since Florida is part of the "Deep South" and will always be one with that "good ole boy" redneck mentality that that brought us such institutions as slavery, the Ku-Klux-Klan, the lynching of civil rights advocates and assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, these politicians know that the vast majority of voters will always blindly support the death penalty - and do so truly believing in their own embraced ignorance that it has been indoctrinated by the hand of their God ("an eye for an eye" as preachers in the South twist out of context to their flock ) and therefore it's morally justified to kill in the name of their God.

For that reason, these good-ole-boy politicians know that there will always be that group of voters who simply don't care if innocent people may be put to death by these state sanctioned executions. It really has nothing to do with truth or justice, but in reality it is about the need to feed their own sickness and feel morally justified while doing it. Like their fathers and grandfathers before them were morally justified in lynching the "Negroes" who stepped out of line, or put on their white robes and planted bombs at southern churches to terrorize and kill black congregations into obedient submission by brutally killing their women and children. yeah, when it comes down to it "southern tradition" is far more important than those values of the bleeding heart liberals who want to dare tell them killing is wrong.

Lets take a look at the indisputable facts - as it now stands, Florida has over 400 people on death row, second only to California ...but California also has twice as many citizens and relatively speaking, California doesn't push to execute too many. In the past 40 years, Florida has succeeded in killing less than 70 death sentenced prisoners, while during the same period of time a lot more death row prisoners have died of natural causes such as cancer. More importantly, of the approximately 800 men and women condemned to death in Florida since they rushed to reinstate the death penalty in 1974, the majority have had their sentences of death (or convictions) vacated by the courts due to legal errors or prosecutional misconduct. Some were subsequently re sentenced to death, but about 400 were permanently granted relief by sentence reduction, recognizing that they never should have been sentenced to death in the first place.

In the past 40 years, Florida has also accomplished another troubling record - there have been more men and women exonerated and released from Florida's death row than any other state in the country. Although other states such as Illinois and North Carolina, and even Texas, have empaneled commissions to investigate why innocent people were wrongly convicted and sentenced to death, the great state of Florida has adamantly refused to address this epidemic of injustice, instead pushing even harder to kill those wrongfully convicted all that much quicker before they can prove their innocence.



Let there be no mistake - as numerous high level judicial officers (such as former Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerald Kogan and United states Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor - and many others!) have now recognized there can be NO DOUBT that innocent people have been, and will continue to be , put to death by State sanctioned executions.

Perhaps that is by far the most troubling aspect of this new law designed to expedite Florida's executions - these pro death penalty politicians DO know these indisputable facts, although the general public remains blissfully ignorant. There can be absolutely no doubt whatsoever that each of these Florida politicians who cast their vote in support of this new law did so knowingly full well that as a result of their action innocent people will now die.

Think about this - why is it that the United States now remains the only country in the western world that continues to embrace the death penalty? Simple answer - because American politicians
know that killing wins elections. Whether it comes from feeding the frenzy of the lynch mob by advocating nothing less than death when someone is murdered, or throwing billions of dollars into morally justified wars where under the pretense of "avenging" 9/11 countless women and children are killed - it's all part of the same sick mentality that has now come to define what America has become in the eyes of the world.

These politicians do know that as the direct and undeniable consequences of their action innocent people will die - but they simply lack the mental character and integrity to car. Why should they care as it is not like it will be their children who are wrongfully convicted and condemned to death, or sent off to fight a war in a foreign land and coming home in a flag covered coffin. It's only too easy to condemn another to death when you believe you are so far removed from the consequences of your morally corrupt actions.

But I have learned nothing else in the now almost 30 years on Florida's death row, convicted and condemned to death for a crime I did not commit (see www.southerninjustice.net ). It seems for the most part America today has sold the very soul upon the alter of arrogance and ignorance - and like a cancer consuming all that was once good and moral in our society - apathy now prevails and even the most inconceivable injustice - the deliberate execution of innocent men and women - are now tolerated by the vast majority of Americans. Where once upon a time we prided ourselves as a beacon of hope, liberty and freedom for all the world to see, the Lady Liberty that is America today is nothing but a heartless whore who has abandoned her soul to the greater good of the politics of death. Florida's new rush to execute more people reflects the true nature of Florid today - scratch just a bit beneath that smiling face of Mickey Mouse and you will see the cold soul of the grim reaper as Florida moves towards a modern day holocaust and innocence be damned.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Florida Pushes For Expediting Executions - Again


The dark clouds are again on the distant horizon and promising a storm is on the way, as Florida's politicians push to pass new laws intended to adapt the Texas capital post conviction appeal process to Florida.

We have seen this before. Back in the year 2000 when Jeb Bush
was elected governor here in Florida. (Jeb Bush is the younger brother of former president George W Bush) His first order of business was to collaborate with conservative republican politicians in the Florida legislation to pass what was then called the "Death Penalty Reform Act of 2000". Within months of being elected to office Governor Bush signed this law into effect. Under this law Florida intended to transform the existing multi-level post comviction review process into a single consolidated streamlined process that would require all death sentenced prisoners to file their appeal within a matter of months after being sentenced to death. Further, it would limit any chance of pursuing any succesive appeals, such as those based upon newly discovered evidence, including evidence supporting innocence. Quite simply, the clearly stated intent of this law was to expedite executions by eliminating meaningful appelate review even if it meant that innocent prisoners would be put to death without any chance of proving their innocence.



However, this law never actually went into effect as before it could be implemented the Florida Supreme Court declared it to be unconstitutional. But even so, they informally reached a compromise to appease those bloodthirsty politicians by adapting its own amendments to the rules governing capital post conviction appeals, which placed substantial limitations upon succesive appeals.

But of course, that was not enoughto satisfy these politicians, whose only agenda was the bottom line of turning the Florida death penalty into a Texas-style killing machine. In the past 12 years since the Florida Supreme Court spanked these over-reacting politicians, this same group of fanatical conservative politicians set out to methodically take control of the Florida Supreme Court itself.. "By God, if the State constitution says that only the Supreme Court can change the rules governing capital appeals and these damned bleeding hearts liberals on the Court were standing in their way then they would simply find a way to take control of the Court itself"...and they did.

In recent years these Florida republicans have methodically taken over the all important Judicial Committees responsible for nominating the judges to the courts, and forced a change of law that now prohibits the governor from choosing anyone who is not specifically nominated by these Republican controlled committees.

As a result, when a vacancy is created on the Florida Supreme Court the Governor must now appoint only one of their own pro-death penalty justices. In the past 5 years this has proven incredibly effective, as when the most recent vacancies were created by the forced retirement of several judges, these republican-controled committees forced the appointment of Charles Canady and Andrew Polston to the Florida Supreme Court.

Before being appointed to the Florida Supreme Court and quickly elevated to Chief Justice, Charles Canady was General Council for Governer Jeb Bush, and the one who personally pushed for the Death Penalty Reform Act of 2000, and Canady was then substantially assisted by then Florida Supreme Court Justice Polston. This is how incidious politics of death corrupts over judicial process - these conservative pro-death politicians are deliberately stacking the the deck to accomplish their own agenda. And incredibly, nobody in the main stream media seems to care, and of course, the brain dead sheep (i.e. Florida citizens) are blissfully ignorant of these political manipulations...nobody cares.

So now the pro-death politicians have taken control of the Florida Supreme Court they are now pushing new proposed laws through the Florida legislation, again adopting the Texas-style appeals process to Florida, and threatening the Florida Supreme Court with a proposed Constitutional Amendment that would allow the Florida Legislature to have the power to promulgate rules governing death penaly appeals.

The difference between the previous attempt and what is now proposed is that this time these politicians have their own hand-picked justices controlling the Florida Supreme Court. Not surprisongly, Chief Justice Polston and his cohert Canady have now chosen a 5 members "task force" empowered to study ways that the capital appeal process can be speeded up so that these sentenced to death will actually be put to death within 6-10 years of being sentenced.

This task-force studying the Florida post conviction appeal process is to issue its conclusions and recommendations by this September, but whatever their conclusions may be, it certainly will not be an objective and impartial study as each of these 5 commission members were hand-picked because they possess the same agenda as the poiticians who appointed them. The final report will undoubtedly paralell the political agenda of expediting executions by any means necessary.

Of course, this task force will not look into - or even address - the systematic prosecutional misconduct that causes substantial delays in appelate review, and that Florida indesputably convicts and condemns more innocent people to death than any other state.

What really troubles me most is that I do believe that the majority of Americans are guided by a sense of moral conscience and believe in the concept of fundamental fairnes and whn it comes to the death penalty, moral conscience and the integrity
of our judicial process are quickly abandoned and inevitably too many themselves become blindly intoxicated by the insatiable zeal to kill, as if they were part of the old west lynch mob and cannot see that by eroding the process available to protect against executing innocent people, each of those who go along with this new drive to "streamline" the death row appeals are themselves complicit in the inevitable execution of innocent men and women. But make no mistake about this truth - our process as it currently exists is already fundamentally flawed and there is no doubt innocent people have been put to death. But if and when these anticipated "reforms" do pass - and they most likely now will - Florida will go from already convicting and condemning more innocent men and women to leading the nation in actually executing more innocent prisoners.

It is truly a sad commentary that this is what America today has become - a nation that was once a beacon of protecting basic human rights for all the world to see, but now has become so consumed by its need to hate that we now not only lead the world for the rate of incarceration, but also openly compete with China, Iran, North Korea and other nations defined by their indifference to human rights, to put more and more people to death. Those who say that America has abandoned its moral concience are right and as we continue down the slippery slope of apathic indifference to basic human rights and even continued advocacy for an obviously flawed death penalty will evode that foundation upon which we as a country stand upon and it is this country itself that will inevitably fall once that moral foundation crumbles.


Michael Lambrix #482053
Union Correctional Institution
7819 NW 228th Street (P3226)
Raiford, FL 32026-4400
USA

Read here an article from the Miami Herald about the Timely Justice Act


Sign here to urge Governor Scott to Veto Florida House’s shameful bill to "speed up" death penalty

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http://www.southerninjustice.net




Innocent and Executed - please read