Our Dear Friend Mike Lambrix left us on October 5, 2017
He went from the Darkness to the Light..

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.