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.