Breaking news: The Florida Supreme Court has issued an indefinite Stay of Execution for Michael Lambrix. Mike was to be executed on Thursday, February 11, 2016. The order came hours after the court heard oral arguments that focused on the impact of a U.S. Supreme Court decision earlier this month that struck down the state’s death-penalty sentencing system.

UPDATE March 9, 2017: Florida Supreme Court has lifted the stay on Mike's death warrant!


Read more: http://www.southerninjustice.net
http://www.save-innocents.com/save-michael-lambrix.html




Michael Lambrix #482053
Florida State Prison
PO Box 800
Raiford FL 32083





Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Are Prison Rules Prohibiting Use of Social Media Legal?


Last month the United States Supreme Court, by unanimous decision, declared that the State of North Carolina cannot categorically prohibit convicted sex offenders from using social media websites, such as facebook, Twitter and countless others. In doing so, the court recognized that these cyberspace forums are the principal sources for knowing current events, checking ads for employment, speaking and listening in the modern public square, and otherwise exploring the vast realms of human thought and knowledge...they allow a person with an Internet connection to become a town crier with a voice that resonates further than it would from any soapbox.

The full court resoundingly rejected  - and even ridiculed - the State's argument that these convicted sex offenders could use access to the Internet to victimize more innocent children. But in doing so, the full courts recognized that limited restrictions that serve the purpose of prohibiting contact with minors could be constitutional as the state has a legitimate purpose in protecting the innocent, especially children.

However, just as the courts has repeatedly recognized in the past, any limitations the state imposes on "free speech" must be limited only to the extent necessary to accomplish that objective as the long standing rule is that the government "may not suppress lawful speech as a means to suppress unlawful speech" Ashcroft v Free Speech Coalition, 535 U.S. 234 (2002)

Myself, I don't exactly have a lot of sympathy towards perverts who prey on women and children. But then again, I have an equal measure of contempt towards those who are not merely satisfied with throwing stones at all convicted prisoners and find perverse pleasure in seeing us suffer.

But I do now wonder how this recent ruling in Packinghem v North Carolina, 382 U.S. (2017) will impact those incarcerated in prisons across the country, as most prison systems - especially states like Florida that are controlled by republicans - do significantly restrict our exercise of free speech. There's no doubt in my mind that if those who make the rules had it their way, prisoners would be prohibited from any and all communication with the outside world. By creating an "iron curtain" between prisoners and the free world, prison administrators would be able to run their prisons as they please.

Here in Florida prisoners are categorically prohibited from any access to the Internet, although there are rumors that within the near future we will be able to start sending and receiving emails and photos - but only because the prison system stands to make millions of dollars by charging us for each email or photo send o received.

                                                                      


However, the bigger issue is that increasingly, even the very limited access prisoners have to print forms of media, such as local newspapers, are no longer available. Newspapers and magazines now are transitioning to only digital access and without access to the Internet it is becoming harder and harder for prisoners to have meaningful access to forms of material that have long been recognized as protected from prison censorship.

Like many other states, under the pretense of protecting the public from prisoners who might take advantage of people, Florida prohibits all prisoners from any form of "soliciting" penpals. This rule was adopted almost 20 years ago when the Internet was still relatively new and prisoners began placing ads seeking penpals on various forms of social sites.

Florida also strictly prohibits prisoners from having Facebook pages set up, or any other form of social media, for the same reason - that if we were allowed to do so, some prisoners could use such social networking sites to scam money (or whatever) from people.

Bottom line, Florida, and other states, have long been determined to prohibit prisoners from interacting with the public. For many years now I have been posting my "blogs" and maintain my website (www.southerninjustice.net) which I actually do not maintain as these are actually controlled by a friend who allows me to write what i will.

But as long as I don't solicit penpals to write to me, or ask anyone for money, I am allowed to run my mouth as even the prison system recognizes that they cannot silence prisoners beyond what is a legitimate and limited prohibition.

But are these rules now called into question by this unanimous Supreme Court decision? If a convicted sex offender is constitutionally entitled to put up a Facebook page so that he or she can interact with others in what has become modern days forum for social interaction, then why shouldn't all prisoners not have the same right? As the Supreme Court recognized in this Packingham case, a categorical rule prohibiting all access goes too far - and so maybe the prison system has a legitimate interest in limited restrictions tailored to actual instances of abuse - for example, the Florida prison system prohibits those convicted of sex crimes against children from having social visits with children and so a similar limitation could be adopted that would prohibit sex offenders from interactions with minor children via Internet access.

Often we hear politicians talk about the objective of rehabilitating prisoners while modern day prisons are far more focused on punishing, the inevitable fact is that the overwhelming majority of prisoners will one day re-enter society, and for that reason promoting social interaction between prisoners and the real world seems a legitimate purpose, as allowing such will substantially decrease the rate of recidivism.

Even those such as myself who are on death row have a substantial interest in being allowed to interact with others online, such as by way of Facebook. One of my favorite quotes from the Supreme Court came in a prisoners rights case long ago..."prison walls do not form an iron curtain and that prisoners are constitutionally entitled to exercise their first amendment rights.

I'm already now looking forward to the challenges that will undoubtedly follow in the wake if last months US Supreme Court's decision and perhaps in the not too distant future I will be able to put up my very own Facebook page so that I can socially interact with those who "like" me, and go online to various websites so that I can read articles on news sites and online magazines.

They say times are changing and eventually even the prison system is forced to join the real world. Just a few years ago we were not allowed MP3 players or even color TV. So, there's hope - and it would be really cool to have my own Facebook page! :)

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Can Watson Save the Innocent?


Recently I watched the CBS news program "60 Minutes" and they did a story about "Watson", a a supercomputer that a few years back was programmed to take on contestants in the game show "Jeopardy". At first, the humans kicked it's butt but it went back to school and evolved, feeding off more and more knowledge and information, and adopting a logic based form of "artificial intelligence" that allowed it to consider all possible answers at cyber speed, then identify the most likely correct response...and then human brain power proved to be less than adequate...Watson kicked their butts and claimed its victory.

Since then Watson (the IBM supercomputer) has continued to "grow" and 'evolve" and is now being used to help fight cancer by using its powerful computing skills and still barely newborn artificial intelligence to consume volumes and volumes of medical information about treatments for cancer, then applying that "knowledge" to the specific circumstances of a particular patient and recommending the best course of cancer treatment.

Even in these earliest stages of application, Watson has already proven to be able to save those who might otherwise have died from cancer. What it comes down to is that the enormous volume of cancer research being done around the world and published in a wide variety of science and medical journals is simply too much for even the most dedicated doctor to consume. Even a team of the best doctors in the world could do nothing but read medical journals all day, every day for the rest of their lives and still not be able to read all the available material, much less possess the brain power to remember it all and apply it to the specific circumstances of a patient.

                            



But Watson can and by continuously tweaking it's program it's been able to "learn" and now routinely assists doctors around the world on identifying the best course of cancer treatment with remarkable success and as a result many lives have already been saved, and even more will be yet.

That is amazing. When I was in the military my job was "13 echo 10", Army code for "Computerized Cannon Fire Directional Specialist". I was trained to work a computer that was fed information such as wind, longitude, latitude and other factors, then it would kick out where the huge 185 Howitzers would fire their shells, hitting their targets miles away. That was 1978 and the "computer" took up a small trailer. Now my small (less than 2 inches) MP3 player has more computing power in it than that military weapon of war.

Watching this "60 Minutes" program got me thinking ...what if ISM was to program a similar supercomputer to assist our legal system in objectively analyzing cases to serve as a safeguard against fundamental injustices and protect the innocent from being executed for a crime they didn't commit?

Let's face it, our legal system is inherently corrupted by the 'politics of death'. It's not that those responsible for administering justice inadvertently make mistakes, as they inevitably will. Its far more than that - too often the courts that we trust to make these life or death decisions are themselves only too willing to quite literally lie - the ends justify the means and in this deliberate absence of integrity, innocent people will be put to death.

A good example of this is my own case. In the most recent appeals before the Florida Supreme Court we argued that evidence in the exclusive possession of the State could substantiate my consistently plead claim of innocence if subjected to DNA testing. And it could.

Unable to defend against my argument, the Florida Supreme Court denied DNA testing of this evidence by stating that DNA testing had already been done and that since a preliminary chemical test previously showed no blood on the clothing in question, no DNA evidence was available.

Both these premises are false - and the justices on the Florida Supreme Court knew that they were lying. First, no DNA testing has ever been done in my case despite repeated requests. And next, the absence of blood does not exclude the possibility of DNA evidence, especially since the specific DNA material we sought to have tested was non-blood epidermal (skin tissue, or commonly known as "touch DNA") cells on the clothing.

To err is human. I can accept that any judicial process administered by human beings is going to be fallible....there's going to b mistakes. But when our courts take it a step further and deliberately lie in a capital case, then that's indicative of a much bigger problem, and calls into question the integrity of the process itself, and whether our contemporary courts are willing to put the innocent to death, and whether, as a society that claims to pride itself in protecting the innocent should demand something better. It comes down to a very simple question...are we as a society willing to demand that extraordinary safeguards be taken to protect the innocent from being executed?

This brings me back to Watson, the IBM supercomputer and it's unique ability to consume large amounts of information and then objectively analyze that data and reach a conclusion uncorrupted by political influences. If Watson can do this for cancer patients, then why not program Watson to take on the criminal justice system?

Inevitably computers will one day do this - objectively analyze the facts and evidence of a criminal case and reach an untainted conclusion free from bias. This is one of the reasons that for the past ten years now I have methodically posted all the appellate briefs filed in my case as well as the actual transcripts of my trial on my website (www.southerninjustice.net ) in the hopes that people will read them and see for themselves why our courts can not be trusted to "fairly" administer justice as truth can never hope to prevail before politically corrupt courts.

But what if one day all the evidence and legal arguments in a capital case are fed into a computer like Watson, and everything objectively analyzed like Watson already does for cancer patients, and a result is reached that is free from the bias that infects humanity?

As I said, I think one day computers will be used to serve as a necessary safeguard against human error - and more importantly, inherent human corruption. Hopefully bu that time our society will have evolved beyond what it is today and there will be no death penalty.

But when that day does come, although i will probably be long dead, I wonder if maybe some enterprising college student might feed into that computer all the information, evidence and legal arguments on my own case (and so many others!) and patiently wait as the supercomputer methodically analyzes all the data, then just like Watson reaches it's conclusions today for the cancer patients, that computer will objectively spit out it's response ..." Based on all the available data, the defendant Michael Lambrix, executed by the State of Florida in the year 2017, is innocent of the crime he was convicted of". Although I may not live to see that day, I'll probably still smile. Bottom line, Watson could save the innocent from being executed if only we as a society were committed to saving the innocent.




 
 
 
 
 

 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Mike Lambrix - Regrets of the Dying, a podcast about life, death and regrets


Mike Lambrix has been on Florida’s death row for 34 years. Convicted of double-murder, he’s been scheduled to die three times, with a fourth execution date expected soon. 

Here he tells us what it feels like waiting, the regrets he holds, and what happened on that late night in Glades County.

Based on years of letters, written and read by Lambrix, and recorded on location in Florida State Prison.

 https://www.acast.com/regrets-of-the-dying/mike

                                                                   

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Save-Humanity - Article from Mike Lambrix about his journey through life


Mike Lambrix, from death row in Florida: "Life is about choices and our choices define not only who we are, but who we become"

July 13, 2017
Read this article from Mike Lambrix currently on death row in Florida, and learn about his journey through life, and his testimony that may help others in their own journey:

"Too often I find myself asking that man in the mirror how it is that this has become my so-called "life" and in search of that ever-elusive answer I think back upon the journey that led me to where I am today"


- Credit Photo: Rune Eraker -

In his testimony, Mike Lambrix reflects on how his life was drawn into a "black hole" -- In physics, "black holes" are caused "when a massive star explodes with such a force that it rips the fabric of space, creating a hole not unlike what would occur if you could create a hole on the ocean floor so massive that it would drain the water, (...) pulling everything into it". -- an event called in physics " The Event Horizon".

Mike then recounts his life from childhood. Whilst many would perceive his childhood and his later adult life as extremely hard, full of black holes that somehow make him a kind of survivor, Mike Lambrix himself does not dwell on this. Rather he states:
"An expert in my case said I never had a chance, that the trajectory of my life was all but predetermined by the environment I was brought in and the trauma that I encountered along the way. But I don't believe that."


- Credit Photo: Rune Eraker -



Mike Lambrix will be part of the exhibition "Noble Is The Man"  by Norwegian photographer Rune Eraker at the Nobel Peace Prize Center in Oslo from September 2018 till January 2019.

To learn about the case of Mike Lambrix, visit

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Florida Cranks Up The Killing Machine


Just when we thought that executions in Florida would remain on hold for a while, Governor Scott unexpectedly rescheduled Mark Asay's execution, and he is now scheduled to be executed on August 24, 2017.

Those who regularly read my blog know that Governor Scott signed my death warrant on November 30, 2015 and I was scheduled to be executed on February 11, 2016. While I was on death watch in the segregated housing area immediately next to the execution chamber, they killed Oscar Bolin on January 6, 2016 (please read: "Execution Day - Involuntary Witness to State Sanctioned Murder") and the very next morning Governor Scott signed a death warrant on Mark Asay, commonly known as "Catfish".

But the following week the United States Supreme Court issued it's decision in Hurst v Florida which by almost unanimous vote the court recognized that the way people were being sentenced to death in Florida (since 1974) was illegal, effectively rendering these death sentences unconstitutional.

A week before my scheduled execution the Florida Supreme Court granted a "stay of execution" until they could decide whether that USSC "Hurst" decision required my death sentences to be thrown out. Subsequently, the following month the Florida Supreme Court also granted Mark Asay a full stay of execution and since early 2016 there have been no further scheduled executions.

But just a few days before Christmas (2016) the Florida Supreme Court issued a decision in Asay's case that unanimously recognized that in light of the US Supreme Court ruling in Hurst v Florida, there is no question that (like me) Asay was illegally condemned to death by a non-unanimous jury (his jury vote was 9-3).

However, once again reflecting how the politics of death override principles of moral restraint, by narrow majority the Fl Supreme Court ruled in Asay v State that they would only throw out the illegally imposed death sentences (retroactive application) of those whose sentences were filed after June 2002 as to retroactively apply Hurst to all death sentences would be too much of a burden on the state.

So, despite the unequivocal recognition that Asay (and about 190 others) were illegally sentenced to death, the Florida Supreme Court said to go ahead and kill them anyway.
   
                                                                


This absurd "partial retro activity" rule is now being challenged in my own case and many others as no court has ever before recognized a substantial change of constitutional law as only partially retroactive - it is either fully retroactive to all cases, or none.

But like a relatively few others, Mark Asay decided not to let his lawyers challenge this "partial retro activity" rule as he doesn't want his death sentence reduced to "life" in prison. The truth is that there are a number on Florida's death row who prefer to be under a sentence of death than to "life" in prison with no realistic hope to ever being set free again. The way they see it, they're going to die in prison anyway so why delay the inevitable? Growing old in prison is not an easy way to go...as you grow older, you become less able to defend yourself from the younger predatory prisoners and your existence often becomes a living hell. So, if you're going to die anyway, why not force the state to kill you instead of slowly rotting away?

Myself, despite spending way over three decades on death row and facing execution several times, somehow I do still hold on to the hope that the courts will one day do the right thing and exonerate and release me. I must admit that at 57 years old, it's becoming harder to see that rainbow in the distant horizon.
And so yesterday afternoon (July 3, 2017) when the lieutenant came on the floor and took Asay away to death watch, for a while there I wondered whether they'd come back and get me to. They always pull only one at a time when you're execution date is scheduled, so it was very possible that Governor Scott, who is running for the United States Senate now, said to hell with the courts and went ahead and rescheduled both me and Asay.

But they didn't come back and get me. That doesn't mean that they won't as the governor certainly could, as the Florida Supreme Court formally lifted my stay of execution - but unlike Asay, I'm allowing my lawyers to pursue legal challenges to that "partial retro activity" rule, so it would seem that the governor should not attempt to reschedule my own execution until that legal issue is resolved.

Even though Asay has made that choice not to allow his lawyers to pursue a similar challenge in his own case, it is still very troubling that Governor Scott made the choice of wanting to carry out his execution.

If Florida proceeds with Asay's execution, he will be the first person to be put to death despite the Supreme Court's recognition that he was illegally condemned by a non-unanimous jury vote. It's one thing to carry out a legally imposed death sentence, but another thing altogether to put a person to death who you know was illegally sentenced to death - who under current law absolutely cannot be put to death. But for no other reason but that the court decided to create a time limitation to retro active application, Florida will go ahead and try to kill him anyway.

Even more troubling is that those who would allow Asay's execution to be carried out next month knew that the pending challenges to this politically motivated "partial retro activity" rule will most likely be successful, recognizing that all of those sentenced to death by a less than unanimous jury vote are entitled to have that death sentence thrown out.

Is this really who we are as a society? Already the United States is the only Western country in the world that continues to allow for the death penalty and we stand in the company of North Korea, Iran and China when it comes to this thirst for putting people to death under the pretense of administering justice.

But Florida is now crossing another line altogether - now Florida is proceeding to carry out executions that they know are illegal. There is absolutely no question that in light of recent Supreme Court decisions the death sentence imposed on Mark Asay by non-unanimous jury vote is illegal.

Does the ends justify the means? many have long argued that it's a slippery slope from administering justice to state sanctioned murder. As Florida crosses this line they cannot come back from, I'd venture to say that as a society Florida has now slid down that slippery slope and the scheduled execution of Mark Asay is nothing less than a cold-blooded act of state sanctioned murder.




Monday, July 3, 2017

The Carrot and the Stick

 Written June 15.
Basic psychology...you have a carrot and you have a stick. At some point way back when Neanderthals ruled the world, they figured out that when you put the two things together you can tame even the wildest of animals. A good example are the lions, tigers and bears at a circus, and how they bow down to their trainer under both the threat of the stick and the treat that follows when they submit.But as only a good trainer knows, try to beat an animal down without throwing a treat their way, and it's just a matter of time before that animal will reach the point were it turns on you.

The problem on Florida's death row today is someone ate the freaking carrot and all that's left now is the stick used to constantly beat us down. And there's no doubt in my mind that it's going to get a hell of a lot worse before there's any hope of it getting better as I've seen these same cycles come and go through the many years and they always end the same way, and it never ends well. It just goes to show that there's a lot of truth in that saying that those who refuse to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.

You see, when it comes down to it people are not so different from lions and tigers. Some would even argue that humanity is by far the most vicious animal on earth and there's a lot of evidence to support that argument.

There's a balance to everything and in this context that's why the carrot is so important. With few exceptions, prisoners will generally jump through whatever hoops they're told to - as long as there's at least the illusion of a reward that follows. It has been long recognized by prison administrators that giving prisoners basic privileges (social visits, allowing electronic play toys like radio and TV etc) really are not about pampering convicted felons as some would want others to believe, but it's about promoting a safe and, dare I say "peaceful" prison environment as experience has shown that if you don't treat prisoners as human beings they will become animals, and when pushed too far, any animal will reach the point when they will bite back.

Many in prison today believe that that's exactly what these now in power of the prison system actually want. Why, you ask? Because by actually promoting disruptions and inciting violence, the puppet masters can then argue for the need of substantial budget increases. As it stands, the Florida Prison system has been choked almost to death by the republicans that control the state legislature. These politicians want to lock up everyone but they don't want to provide the necessary funding to pay for it.

As a result, prison employees haven't received any pay raises for about the last decade. Politicians have stripped them of many of the benefits that once made working for the state attractive (and it's not only prison employees, state employees are also being screwed, for example read: "We need to fix the crisis in FHP's ranks" - The Lakeland Ledger, June 3, 2017.
Yes, I really do have a point. But as anyone who regularly reads my rhetorical ramblings already knows, I suffer from a chronic, and apparently incurable form of diarrhea of the mouth...which is also why in this age of the Internet and the inconvenient truth that we, as a society, have devolved to the point most people now have the attention span of gnat :-( and so only my most committed friends have the patience to read what I write.

What is my point? I have a bookshelf firmly attached to the wall of my solitary prison cell. It was designed to put books on and for decades that's just what i did - I put my books on that bookshelf. But then the animal trainers abruptly decided that all our property in our cell must be stored in a steel footlocker we are provided, and absolutely nothing can be out of that locker unless in actual use at that moment. Anything that doesn't fir in your locker is immediately declared "contraband". And if you fail to follow this rule then the first few violations result in what they call a "72 hour property restriction" in which they will take all your property out of your cell and for at least 3 days you will be stuck in an empty, stripped down cage (and in the hot, humid summer months without the small plastic fan we are allowed to have). If you still refuse to follow the "rules", then they will write up a formal "disciplinary report ("D.R.") and you will lose all your property and privileges (canteen, visits etc) for at least 30 days.

But coming up with this policy was only the beginning. Then it was decided that from early morning until the evening our bunks had to be made up in a military fashion and anytime an "official visitor" came on the floor we had to be in our full dress "class A" uniform and stand at attention against the wall - and, of course, in strict silence until they completed their so called "inspection", and non-compliance resulted in the above disciplinary sanctions.

With few exceptions, most death row prisoners complied, including myself, as you have to pick your battles in prison and nobody wins a pissing contest with the puppet masters.

However, now this has taken another big step - now these so called "inspections" are happening 2-3 times a week, and often there is never any actual inspection, but rather this has apparently become a perverse form of entertainment just to watch us jump through hoops. They'll wake up everybody relatively early in the morning and tell us to be prepared for "inspection", and we must wait and wait, only to be told hours later that it's all clear.

Some might say: "So what?", as on the free world side of these bars it's hard to see how these things cause significant disruption and create an escalation of unnecessary animosity between the prisoners and staff. The simple truth is that nobody likes to get beat down with that metaphorical "stick" without reason and constantly putting us through this just because they can has nothing to do with any legitimate form of institutional "security and order", but at least from our perspective, it's about abusing and provoking us for no reason but to incite disruptions to justify their need to convince the state legislature that they must have more money for staff to manage the prison system.
                                                         

And it all comes down to the stick and the carrot. Since this escalation of essentially beating us down just because they can is one-sided, with no promise of a carrot to follow,the death row environment is becoming increasingly disruptive - the balance no longer maintained - and many of the guys are now talking about standing together in a hunger strike to protest this escalation of abuse of power.

What few also realize is that the death row unit is generally the most disciplined housing and not because they're beating us over the head with a stick, rather it's because most of us have been here for many years and all we want is to be left alone. Most guards actually want to work death row as we don't cause problems. Allowing us to maintain our sense of dignity and self respect gives us that sense of humanity that is vital in this inferno we must exist in. (Please read - "Death Row, the Ninth Ring") 

And when people are reduced to nothing but animals, beaten and broken and forced into a corner, then they will begin to respond as animals, and that is not an environment we want to live in. And while many will take great pleasure in seeing condemned prisoners suffer, I like to think most people will find it morally intolerable.

At the end of the day one fundamental truth remains - treat people with dignity and respect and you retain the humanity within all of us. But allowing those entrusted to control the environment to systematically abuse that power not only compromises the humanity within the prisoners but within all of society as if history has taught us nothing else, it is that ultimately any society is judged by the way it treats the very least amongst it's ranks.

To illustrate where this escalation of abuse of power always inevitably leads to, I would strongly encourage everyone to read what the Federal Court wrote in Valdes v Crosby 450 F.3d. 1231 (11th cir. 2006), detailing how a familiar escalation of abuse of power led to the violent assaults of at least 167 prisoners by staff, climaxing with staff physically beating a death row prisoner to death. Again, those who refuse to learn from history are condemned to repeat it. And by the way, the prison official responsible for that escalation (James Crosby) was subsequently sentenced to 8 years in Federal prison on corruption charges. Is that really who today's prison administrators want to see as an example to follow?

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Latest developments..


 As summer begins there are a lot of commercials on the TV promoting the biggest and scariest roller coasters at the tourist traps spread out across Florida. Each one claims to bring the willing rider that much closer to a death defying trip - but if someone really wants to take a trip on Florida's ultimate roller coaster, they should spend some time on death row.

For over 18 months now I've remained under an active death warrant, not knowing if I will live or die, and as that constant uncertainty weighs heavy I find myself (especially lately) wishing they'd just come on and get it over with as that weight of uncertainty itself is almost a a fate worse than death, especially when other forms of drama drag me down even further.

As I wrote recently, I had expected that I'd already be rescheduled for execution after the Florida Supreme Court denied my appeal recently, and formally lifted my stay of execution. There didn't appear to be any reason for the governor not to reschedule both me and Mark Asay now that the Supreme Court rejected review of the state's challenge to Florida's new death penalty laws on May 22, 2017. I spent that week going through my personal property, throwing out the mountain of paperwork that always seems to accumulate - old letters, articles I collected and legal material that has no real value anymore.

I prepared my family and friends for what I thought was sure to come - that each visit might be the last visit, and that anytime I could be back down on "death watch", counting down the the last days. But this week I received news that in all probability the governor will not reschedule my execution anytime soon as the state courts are still struggling with whether the Florida Supreme Court's unprecedented declaration in Mark Asay v State of Florida - that those illegally sentenced to death prior to June 2002 will not be granted relief - is a legal decision.

                                                           

This is what is now commonly being referred to as the "partial retroactive" rule. In context of my own case, there's no question that I was illegally sentenced to death as the jury vote was not unanimous, but my death sentences became final prior to 2002 and so by narrow majority the Florida Supreme Court ruled that I was not entitled to relief  and the state could go ahead and kill me.

But it "aint over 'till it's over" and now that ruling itself is being challenged in at least 20 cases, including my own.Now it appears that the governor will not reschedule executions until this issue has been resolved by the courts. The front case now addressing this issue is not my case, but that of James Hitchcock, who has been on Florida's death row for about 40 years, but has had his illegally imposed death sentence thrown out 3 times over the past 4 decades, the last time was prior to 2002, so he too was denied relief under Hurst.

With Hitchcock's case now leading the growing pack of other cases, this issue should now keep all executions on hold for a while. Ultimately, there's a good chance that the earlier decision, refusing to grant relief in pre-2002 cases will be reversed, resulting in many more death sentences (including my own) thrown out as being illegally imposed.

Bottom line, it now appears that I will not face yet another execution date anytime soon.  I'm not excited about the prospect of having my death sentence reduced to life in prison as I've already spent 34 years in prison  for a crime I did not commit and at 57 years old, doing time is becoming harder and harder. Pope Francis said it right last years when he said that a life sentence is in fact a slow death sentence.

What keeps me going are my other appeals that continue to try to compel the courts to allow full review of my substantiated claim of innocence. But if the courts deny my claims then I guess it will come down to the question of whether my will be thrown out and I end up with life in prison..


Friday, June 9, 2017

Cell 1: Florida's Death Penalty in Limbo (Epilogue)



                        


On March 9,  Lambrix lost his appeal to have his sentence overturned in light of the Hurst decision. You can read the decision here.

Despite a scathing critique of the Florida Supreme Court’s decision about how Hurst should apply to already sentenced inmates, his subsequent appeal of that decision was denied on May 10.

Unless a federal appellate court steps in, it looks like Lambrix’s death sentence will stand untouched by all the changes brought about by the Hurst decision.

“I think it’s yet another example of politics trumping the administration of justice and once again exposes the moral corruption of our highest courts,” wrote Lambrix after the Florida Supreme Court decided he would not get a chance at a new sentence.

He is confident that the U.S. Supreme Court will take up the issue of how the state interpreted the Hurst decision to apply only to some Death Row inmates, but is not confident that will happen this iteration of that petition for review.

“The real question is how many more of us will be illegally executed before the U.S.  [Supreme Court] gets around to telling the [Florida Supreme Court] it was wrong again?” writes Lambrix.
“The truth of the matter is that I do struggle with feelings of anger and contempt towards our politically corrupt judicial system, and I don’t like that. It’s been my philosophy to not allow the negativity of my experience to become part of who I am. I’ve seen far too many here grow angry and bitter as the years pass and it eats them up like a form of cancer--and that’s not who I want to become,” Lambrix writes.

He says when he is rescheduled for execution--he is pretty sure it will happen sooner or later--“there’s nothing I can do about it, except choose how I will respond,” writes Lambrix.
He says he plans to hunger strike if his death warrant is signed again.

Read the article and listen to Mike here

                           


And in Mike's own words, written on May 29, 2017:


Every day now I anxiously wait to see whether they'll come to take me back down to "death watch" with a new date of execution set. Mentally, I'm already there, as I have no doubt that they are coming. On May 10, 2017 the Florida Supreme Court denied reconsideration of their earlier decision denying all relief, even refusing to allow DNA testing of evidence that if tested would substantiate my consistently plead claim of innocence.

I thought they would come for me on Monday May 22, as on that date the United states Supreme Court issued it's order declining review of the State's attempt to challenge the Florida Supreme Court's own decision in Hurst v State that for the first time declared that an unanimous jury vote was necessary before a death sentence could be imposed. Florida's Attorney General Pam Bondie took that ruling personally. She built her career on prosecuting capital cases and sending many to death row, although more recently she's made national headlines for allegedly accepting a 25 thousand dollar political contribution from one of Donald Trump's organizations and just coincidentally dropped her office's investigation into trump's University alleged fraud shortly after reviewing that generous "political contribution".

Bondi argued to the US Supreme Court that the Florida supreme Court went too far in legally requiring an unanimous jury vote on death - she argued that the US Supreme Court never said unanimous jury votes are constitutionally required, although it's undisputed that almost all other states have long required an unanimous jury vote as a condition to impose death.
                       

Had the Supreme Court accepted review, then it would have effectively put a hold on all Florida executions until that issue was resolved as what it comes down to is the constitutionality of the Florida death penalty. But the court declined review, and now executions can resume.

So I've been spending a lot of time going through what personal property I have, throwing out the unbelievable amount of stuff that has accumulated since I came off "death watch" in early February, 2016. it doesn't seem that it's already been 15 months (almost 16) since I was last scheduled for execution. But in that time a lot of now irrelevant legal papers, magazines, and personal letters have piled up. I'm alright with throwing out unnecessary legal papers and give away the pile of magazines that have accumulated, but I draw the line at throwing out personal letters that still hold special meaning to me as when I'm really missing someone I go back and reread those letters so that at least in that moment, I'm there once again.

But I know when they do come to get me and take me back down to the death watch area adjacent to the execution chamber, the guards will pack my property up and if they think I've accumulated too much "crap", they will decide what to throw out. So, I'd rather thin it out myself and keep whats important to me.

And as I sort out my property, what weighs most heavily on my mind is that I'm doing this with the expectation that once again I will face that final count down to my own death...and this will be the fourth time that I've had an execution date set, and once again i know that i will come close as that's how it is - only too often the courts will sit on the case until you're close to that scheduled execution. That's how our legal system plays the games.

But I think that I will survive this latest date with death, as I do still have a number of appeals yet to pursue, any one of which could stop the execution.

However, I cannot assume that the courts will do the right thing for good reason, I have no faith in the integrity of our courts. I do think the legal system in this country is to be admired as It does attempt to instill fairness. But the problem is that while in principle our process is a model of what a legal system should be, in actual practice it is too easily exploited by those with their own political ideology and agenda.

too often, judges at the highest level of our legal system will simply lie to justify their intent to deny relief, and few people will ever know that they are deliberately lying as unless you know the facts of the case, there would be no way for the average person to know these judges lied.

Take for example the most recent denial of relief in my case before the Florida Supreme Court. Our primary issue was that state law required that we be allowed to have evidence potentially substantiating my plead claim of innocence subjected to DNA testing. You would think, even assume, that the Florida Supreme Court justices would at least have the integrity to be honest, especially when making a conscious decision to take a human life. But if they followed the letter of the law, then they would have had to allow DNA testing of this evidence, and then I might be exonerated - and they don't want that.

So, they denied our request for DNA testing by simply lying - the Court claimed that DNA testing had already been done on this evidence. Now, even if this was an inadvertent mistake in their March 9, 2017 decision, my lawyers did specifically bring this to the court's attention in a Motion for Rehearing filed on April 4, 2017 (Lambrix v State, FSC Case no SC16-08 page 20, "This court's assertion that DNA testing was performed on Bryant's panties" is blatantly false.There has never been any DNA testing conducted on any item in this case), then the courts would have corrected this mistake on rehearing.

But they didn't correct this "mistake" because it wasn't a mistake - the knew exactly what they were doing and they also know that the only way their deliberate lie can be further addressed is if the United States Supreme Court accepts review - and this will now be brought to the Supreme Court.

This is why I've often said that people out there just don't realize how completely corrupt our legal system is. We have laws and constitutional protections that are the envy of the world, but our legal system is politically corrupt and dependent upon judges motivated by their own pro death penalty ideology and only too often they will lie and there's nothing anyone can do about it, and so innocent people can be put to death.

And now I will once again face execution for a crime that I'm innocent of because the justices on the Florida Supreme Court don't have the integrity to tell the truth. But we will still pursue other appeals and take the case to the Supreme Court. And so while I have nothing but contempt for those who took a vow before God and country to administer justice honestly and fairly, I do still believe that there are other judges and Supreme Court justices who have not abandoned all pretense to prevent the execution of an innocent person.

but it sucks that I must now go through the death watch process again, knowing that if the Supreme Court refuses to intervene, then I may very well be executed for a crime I did not commit.





Friday, May 26, 2017

Life On Death Row: WUFT Interview with Michael Lambrix (with audio)

Michael Lambrix Has Thrice Avoided Execution
By Rebekkah Mar

                                                                 


May 26, 2017   

Michael Lambrix, a 57-year-old death row inmate, walked into the small room with a smile as he greeted the lieutenant standing by the door.
He’s in an orange jumpsuit, bulky handcuffs and prison guard by his side. The location: the Florida State Prison in Raiford.
Lambrix joked with the lieutenant saying this wasn’t his first interview. Later, he says, “This is your show, I’m just along for the ride.” 

Read More: WUFT Interview with Michael Lambrix


 

                                                                  

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Death Watch Journal (Part 36)

Chances are very likely that by the time this is posted, I will be back down on "death watch", once again counting down the final days before my scheduled execution. As those who read this blog regularly already know, on November 30, 2015 Florida governor Rick Scott signed an active death warrant against me, scheduling my execution for February 11, 2016.

But on February 2, 2016 the Florida Supreme Court entered a "temporary" stay of execution so that they could consider whether the US Supreme Court decision issued in January 2016 in Hurst v Florida had any impact on the legality of my own case.

The court issued an opinion on march 8, 2017, rejecting all issues raised. My lawyers filed a Motion for rehearing, arguing that the court made numerous significant factual errors that required rehearing. But on May 10 denied any further review and formally lifted my previously stay of execution. this means that at anytime now the governor can reschedule my execution, and he most likely will do so towards the end of the month.

However, this doesn't mean that I'm out of appeals, as there still are numerous appeals yet to be filed in the near future. But since the death penalty is more about the politics of death than the administration of justice, the state of Florida will try to stack the deck against me by rescheduling my execution before my lawyers can prepare and file these next appeals as the state knows that the politically corrupt courts are especially hostile towards any appeals that are filed while under active death warrant.

Specifically, the Florida Supreme Court's recent denial of relief will now be challenged in several ways. first, we will ask the US Supreme Court to review the Florida court ruling. And we do have a few strong points - most especially, the Florida Supreme Court denied the request for DNA testing that could substantiate mt consistently plead claim of innocence.

Let me say this..most people who read about what courts do assume that those on the courts possess a measure of moral integrity that compels the courts to at least tell the truth, especially when they are deciding whether to take someone's life.

                                                                       

But once again my case (and many others) illustrates the complete absence of integrity by our courts - I ask you this...how can justice ever hope to prevail when truth becomes irrelevant?

For years now my lawyers have repeatedly sought DNA testing of evidence that could prove my claim of innocence. At first, the state claimed that there was no evidence to be tested, but when that proved to be a lie, they switched to argue that since no blood was found on the evidence, no DNA could possibly exist. Of course, that's not true, as skin cells also have DNA, especially if embedded in fabric, which is exactly what we argued.

Unable to get around this inconvenient truth, the Florida Supreme Court decided to just create their own lie - in the March 8, 2017 ruling, for the first time the court declared that DNA testing had already been done, which is absolutely not true. And my lawyers filed a motion for rehearing, arguing that they made a material mistake, as no such DNA testing has ever been done. But even when a person's life is at stake, the Florida Supreme Court refused to correct this - they would rather kill a person on a lie they created than admit they were wrong.

So, now we will appeal their ruling to the Federal courts and hope that they will have the integrity to intervene when they see that the Florida Supreme Court's decision is based on an undeniable false finding.

My lawyers will also be pursuing an appeal to the US Supreme Court challenging the March 15, 2017 denial of my actual innocence appeals. Again, to deny relief, the lower federal court (a judge known for his extreme pro-death penalty stance) simply lied to deny relief and the ends justify the means.

In that case, my lawyers presented numerous specifically plead claims of substantial evidence that have never been addressed by any state or federal court because my original "initial-review" lawyer failed to present them to the court, resulting in these claims (and evidence) substantiating my innocence being procedurally barred. But in 2017 the US Supreme Court announced a new rule of law that for the first time allowed procedurally barred claims to be raised heard by the federal court providing the petitioner can establish that the failure to be heard upon them would result in a manifest injustice.

But the Florida courts controlling Florida are comprised mostly of pro-death penalty conservatives and they use their control to block all death sentenced petitioners from being heard, and often they will deliberately lie to deny relief.

In my case, the judge declared that all my claims were previously addressed on the merits - which is absolutely not true. And not surprisingly, the Federal Court could not identify any prior court ruling that addressed these issues substantiating my innocence.

So, within the very near future we will appeal that to the Supreme Court, asking them to overturn the lower Federal Court's "clearly erroneous and objectively unreasonable" decision (based on the judge's deliberate lie).

Bottom line is that there are still numerous appeals we will yet pursue. But the state of Florida will stack the deck by scheduling my execution within the near future, and even though I do still have reason to hope that justice will prevail, I cannot have any faith in a judicial process governed by judges who repeatedly fabricate lies to deny relief and since they are the only ones who can overcome their own lies, truth can never hope to prevail.

Because most people are generally good people and try to do whats right, they need to believe that those we place in power to administer justice are moral and ethical. I don't think many people would support a legal system that is governed by judges who will lie to justify killing even one innocent person. But it's so much easier to ignore the truth than to lose faith in who we are as a society.

I may not be able to stop this corrupt system from killing me for a crime I'm innocent of, but I know this...I will fight this fight until I breathe my last breath.

Innocent and Executed - please read