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

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Date With Death: Weeks One and Two

By Michael Lambrix - written for MintesBeforeSix

Date with Death – Week One: Execution Scheduled for October 5, 2017

Shortly after 7:00 a.m. on the morning of Saturday, September 2, 2017, I watched my first sunrise in well over a quarter of a century. I had forgotten just how beautiful an early morning sunrise could be, and how it had its way of drawing you in and mesmerizing you. At first it barely peaked over that distant horizon and then, ever so very slowly, it grew from that first orangish glow into a sudden explosion of even brighter, almost crimson, radiance spreading to each side. A few clouds accented its majestic appearance and I stood silently in awe of this event that I never thought I would see again. It´s been a long time since I last saw a sunrise.

In that moment, I forgot where I was, despite the fact that to see the unexpected sunrise I had to look through a single set of steel bars and then the seven-pane security window about ten-feet away. For nearly 34-years, I´ve been on Florida´s Death Row and, late yesterday afternoon, I was taken from my regular death row confinement cell to the bottom floor of Q-Wing.  Once again, I was placed in Cell One (please check out the PBS documentary “Cell One”, featuring me, at www.cellone.wlrn.digital/). The Florida Governor has rescheduled my previously stayed execution and now I am counting down my last days. If the State of Florida has their way, at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 5, 2017, I will be securely tied down on a gurney with numerous I.V. tubes attached to my body and, with a barely perceptible nod of Warden Reddish´s head, an unseen figure behind a partition will then push the first of three plungers down. This will force the sedative “Etomidate” into my body, with the intent to render me unconscious, before they then flow with the second drug, “rocuronium bromide”, which is a paralytic that will ensure that, even if they screw the execution up (as they have too many times before), I will not be able to physically react. I will lie there experiencing incomprehensible physical pain until the paid executioner pushes that last plunger down, sending that lethal dose of “potassium acetate” into my body to cause a cardiac arrest, terminating my life.
I know exactly what will come as my final days count down and there´s not a damned thing I can do about it. This is the fourth time I´ve been placed in Cell One and watched as the clock counts down what are to be my final days. In late 1988, I had my first death warrant signed, scheduling my execution for November 30, 1988. I came within mere hours of being executed. Back then, Florida´s method of execution was the electric chair, and as I sat in this very same cell so long ago, I could feel that distinctive hum, accompanied by a low vibration on the concrete floor, as not more than 30-feet away they put “Old Sparky” through tests to make sure that it would work properly when they planned to kill me early the next morning.

By late afternoon of November 29, 1988, the Florida Supreme Court rendered a decision on my first post-conviction appeal, denying our demand for a new trial by a marginal 4 to 3 decision – refusing to address the numerous claims supporting my consistently pled claim of actual innocence because my legal counsel (who was only assigned to my case after the Governor decided to kill me) failed to “properly” present the innocence claims to the court (see, Lambrix v State, 534 So.2d.1151 (Fla. 1988)). The Florida Court subsequently found that the Supreme Court´s refusal to address these claims was unprecedented and in clear error (Order of May 12, 1992 by U.S. District Judge William Zloch in Lambrix v Singletary, case no. 4;88-cv-12107-WJ2).

But the Florida Supreme Court did grant a 48-hour stay of execution, to allow my lawyers to pursue an appeal to the Federal Courts. As I anxiously waited in “Cell One” for word, the hours ticked down, and with each tick of the clock my hour of death grew nearer. For days, I remained in that excruciating state of limbo, not knowing whether I would live or die, and overwhelming exhaustion set in, as I desperately tried to maintain under those circumstances. Out of exhaustion I tried to lay down and rest, only to be awoken by an intense spiritual experience that, to this day, I cannot hope to adequately describe (please read, “The Day God Died” and, “Scratching at the Scars of a Shattered Soul”).

Shortly after that, I received word that the Federal District Court had ordered a full stay of execution, and I was moved back to the regular death row housing area. Many years of appeals followed. Evidence was discovered substantiating my consistently pled claim of actual innocence. The prosecution had tried to coerce me into pleading “guilty” before my 1984 trial, to the reduced charge of second degree murder, which would have led me to my release after 17-22 years, if I would waive any appeals. I refused, as I naively believed our legal system would work, and I would be exonerated and released. Once again, in July 2006, the prosecutor came to me with an offer to reduce my death sentence to “life” (with the chance of eventual release) – if I would drop my appeal arguing my innocence.

But I wouldn´t do it. Instead, I was sent back to Florida´s death row, and as the years dragged by, both the State and Federal Courts invented procedural rules as to why the readily available evidence substantiating my consistently pled claim of innocence could not be heard. My fatal fault became only too clear – trusting the courts to do the right thing would cost me my life.

On the morning of Monday, November 30, 2015, the United States Supreme Court summarily denied review of my actual innocence claim (see, In re: Cary Michael Lambrix vssc case no. 15-6163) and, within hours, Governor Rick Scott signed a death warrant to formally schedule me for execution on Thursday, February 11, 2016. I was immediately moved to the bottom floor of Q-wing at Florida State Prison and placed on Death Watch (please read, “Slippery Slope to State Sanctioned Murder”). I was housed in Cell Three, where I would spend what was to be my last Christmas, only a few feet away from the execution chamber.

I wasn´t alone. About ten-feet away, Cell One held Oscar Bolin, who was scheduled to die on January 7, 2016. I took a back seat in Cell Three, and Oscar moved forward. I remained in that cell immediately adjacent to the heavy steel door that separated us from the execution chamber. Late in the evening on January 7, 2016, they put Oscar Bolin to death (please read, “Execution Day: Involuntary Witness to State Sanctioned Murder”).

Early that next morning of January 8, 2016, I was ordered to pack up my property and moved from Cell Three to Cell One. Oscar´s body was still warm, but they were already moving me into his now empty cell (see, “Cell One” PBS Documentary www.cellone.wirn.digital//). A few hours later, they brought Mark Asay, with an execution scheduled for Thursday, March 17, 2016, to join me. They moved him into Cell Three.
On Monday, January 11, 2016 – less than a week after Oscar Bolin’s execution – the Supreme Court issued its 8-to-1 opinion in Hurst v Florida (136 Sct.61b (2016)), declaring that the way Florida sentences people to death by allowing the judge to decide whether to impose a death sentence was unconstitutional; as, under the Sixth Amendment, only the jury could determine whether sufficient cause existed to enhance the punishment to death.


Suddenly, the legality of the Florida death penalty was called into question, and my lawyers expeditiously filed new appeals arguing that, since my imposed death sentences were based on a non-unanimous jury vote which the presiding judge used to impose sentence of death, under the Supreme Court´s decision in Hurst v Florida, my death sentences were illegal.

The Florida Supreme Court heard my case the week before my scheduled execution and, much to my disappointment, the whole case suddenly focused on how the Supreme Court's Hurst decision would impact Florida's death row population, since the vast majority of Florida´s death sentences were by a non-unanimous jury vote (it should be noted that Florida is only one of three states that even allowed a death sentence to be imposed by a non-unanimous jury vote).

Later that same day, following oral arguments, the Florida Supreme Court ordered a stay of execution in my case until they could figure out how Hurst v Florida would affect these death sentences. But, because the death warrant remained in effect even though a stay of execution was granted, I remained on Death Watch until February 9. As coincidence would have it, that was my older sister´s birthday. She was visiting me with my parents and other sister, Mary, along with long-time close friend, Jan Arriens (founder of Lifelines, an international organization based in London, England) when the Warden came to the visiting area and told me that I would be removed from Death Watch, effective that day… Debbie immediately declared that was the best birthday present she´d ever received.

And so, on February 9, 2016 – only two-days before they had scheduled me for execution – I was removed from Death Watch and placed back on G-wing, the regular death row housing unit at Florida State Prison. Not long after that, Mark Asay received a stay of execution too.

All executions in Florida would remain on-hold until this legal issue could be resolved. As those months passed, and then a year, and then more, we had reason to believe that the courts would rule favorably and throw out all death sentences based on less than a unanimous jury vote; especially after the Florida Supreme Court issued its own opinion in Hurst v State (202 So.3d.40 (Fla. 2016)).

But then, only two-days before Christmas, the Florida Supreme Court released its decisions in Mark Asay v State of Florida (210 So.3d.1 (Fla. 2016)) and John Mosley v State of Florida (210 So.3d. (Fla. 2016)), in which a sharply divided court decided that while all death sentences imposed by less than a unanimous jury vote were now clearly illegal, the court would only retroactively apply this new rule to capital cases that were finalized (determined by the date which the first “direct appeal” was decided) after June 24, 2002. In Asay v State, the court declared that allowing retroactive application of this new rule to capital cases prior to June 2002 would be too burdensome on the state.

Bottom line, the Florida Supreme Court (by marginal majority) declared that it would throw out the illegally imposed sentences of death only as far back as June 2002, but those sentenced prior to that “arbitrary line in the sand” would not be granted relief – and they ordered Mark Asay´s previously granted stay of execution lifted. This meant that approximately half of the almost 400 death sentenced prisoners in Florida would have their illegally imposed death sentences thrown out, but the other half would not.

My own case would drag on for a few months longer. Despite the ruling in Mark Asay´s case, which made it clear that I would not receive relief from the illegally imposed sentences of death, I remained hopeful that the Florida Supreme Court would rule favorably on my innocence-related issues, especially our request for DNA testing of evidence that could substantiate my claim of innocence.

But on March 8, 2017, the Florida Supreme Court issued its opinion in my pending case, denying all relief, Lambrix v State (217 So.3d.977 (Fla. 2017)), and ordered that my previously granted stay of execution be lifted. My lawyers filed a motion for a rehearing, arguing that the court´s denial of DNA testing was clearly wrong; as the court ruled that DNA testing had already been conducted – and it clearly had not. Further, the court violated its own state procedures by refusing to address our claim of entitlement to a new trial based on F.B.I. records conclusively showing that my trial lawyer (an appointed public defender) was secretly acting as a witness against me in an unrelated F.B.I. investigation while representing me. Because that act established an irreconcilable conflict of interest, under applicable law, that violation should have entitled me to a new trial.


Refusing to address its clear mistakes of both fact and law, the Florida Supreme Court summarily denied the request for a rehearing, and as of May 10, 2017, the previously entered stay of execution was formally lifted. I knew that they would come get me and take me back to Death Watch again, even though I had my other appeals still pending before the courts.

On Monday, July 3, 2017, they came and took Mark Asay back to Death Watch, with a new execution date of August 24. Although he was previously scheduled 5-weeks after me when our death warrants we signed prior to the Supreme Court´s Hurst v Florida decision, since his case was ruled on, this time months before mine was, he was now at the front of the line.

And Mark was tired. He said he was ready to go, even though new evidence came to light supporting his long-standing claim that he did not kill one of the two victims in his case, but he had enough and was ready to die. Like too many others, he had lost the will to fight.

That is an element of the death penalty few give any thought to – after years of fighting the system (and sometimes our appointed lawyers), many become broken and just want the nightmare to end. By the time the condemned prisoner is led into the execution chamber, he (or she) has accepted their fate and their inability to do anything about it. They then surrender themselves to this ritual of death. That’s just the way it is.
At precisely 6:22 p.m., Mark Asay was pronounced dead by lethal injection. It appears that the execution went off as intended, and the unprecedented use of this new drug protocol (Etomidate, rocuronium bromide, and potassium acetate) worked; although some witnesses did report that in his final moments, Asay involuntarily “twitched”, whatever that may mean.

However, the primary question of whether the Florida Supreme Court´s arbitrary and unprecedented “partial retroactivity” rule, which has already held that those illegally sentenced to death after June 2002 would have their sentences thrown out, while simultaneously denying all pre-2002 cases under identical circumstances relief, can withstand constitutional challenge remains to be addressed and resolved – and now my own case will be the lead case in that fight, which will most likely be resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court… sooner or later.

This should have been addressed in Mark Asay´s case, especially since it was his case that established this partial retroactivity rule. But Mark didn´t want his lawyers to pursue that issue again. He considered a reduction of his death sentence to life to amount to a fate even worse than death, and refused to allow his lawyers to pursue the issue.

I´m not too happy about my case being the one that will now try to decide this issue, as, if the courts get focused on that issue, they will likely ignore my other pending “actual innocence” issues. And I know, very well, that the Supreme Court could simply refuse to accept review of that partial retroactivity issue, just as they did after the Supreme Court first established the foundation of requiring a jury sentencing in Ring v Arizona (2002), and for 14-years (and 47 executions) the Supreme Court refused to accept review – until they finally did in 2015, which resulted in the early-2016 decision in Hurst v Florida.

No matter what life throws at you, you got to play the cards you´re dealt, and the reality is that when Governor Rick Scott signed that order on September 1, 2017, rescheduling my execution for Thursday, October 5, 2017, from that day I was given only 35-days left to live. Maybe I won´t be executed, but since Florida adopted a law that makes a death warrant “indefinite” (that is, it never expires), nobody has survived a death warrant under Governor Scott. A few have received temporary stays, only to then be rescheduled, and they´re all dead now.

Was today´s sunrise an omen, or a curse? Or, was it simply a sunrise that held no meaning other than its beauty? Before I was brought down to Death Watch (yet again), I had previously spent about 141-days in late-1988, and then the winter of 2015-16 here. It´s an environment I´ve become familiar with.
As I was escorted into this Death Watch cell, the first thing I noticed was the smell of a fresh coat of paint. The substantially larger size of the cell no longer surprised me. I stepped into it, then obediently held my hands to the cell-front bars, so the guards could remove the handcuffs and chains, while engaging them in casual conversation.

The Death Watch Lieutenant knew that I already knew the Death Watch routine, so he didn't explain to me again that things work different down here, and that they would try to make my last days as easy as they could, short of compromising security.

Directly outside this Cell One, there is a generic and rather plain state-issued desk, and nobody had to tell me it was built by inmates in the woodshop. It very well could have been the same prisoners who, when ordered to do so, also constructed the electric chair many years ago. There are two multi-colored blue chairs, with obviously aged paisley patterned cushions accented by a heavy wood frame. They looked comfortable, and I asked the Death Watch Sargent if he´d mind moving one of those chars into my cell and we both laughed, a moment of intentional levity to break the ice.

It was hot, and I quickly began sweating. Late summer in Florida is like this, hot and humid. It didn´t help that I was wearing the heavy denim prison uniform we are required to wear anytime outside our cells (as well as when official visitors come around on one of their “tours” of death row). Without further thought, I began to strip down to nothing but my boxers – and the guards thought nothing of it, as that is the standard uniform we wear in our cells during the hot summers.

Directly in front of Cell One, securely fastened to the wall between the two windows, hangs a 40-inch flat screen T.V., a luxury only afforded to those condemned prisoners scheduled to die. Perhaps it was for that reason I asked the Sargent if he´d mind if I used my own small 13-inch color T.V. in the cell, but I already knew they´d allow me to do so, if I wanted to. My personal property had not yet been brought over from the adjacent regular death row housing wing (G-wing), however, it would arrive soon. I knew the Property Room Sargent and his crew were already collecting it and, as they did, they were going through what I had to make sure I wasn´t given anything that could be a threat to the heightened state of security on Death Watch.

Normally, the staff use inmate labor to do the work, but once a person is placed on Death Watch, no contact with other inmates is allowed. The guards serve me my meals, each plastic-wrapped by the Kitchen Supervisor and marked “Death Watch.” The Laundry Room Sargent will personally pick up my laundry and then wash and neatly fold it before bringing it back. And the guards assigned to work Death Watch will also do the janitorial work that inmate trustees typically do. Even when I have legal or (non-contact) social visits while under active death warrant, I will be escorted up the long main hall (check out “Alcatraz of the South” Part I and II), only after the entire prison is fully locked-down.

As I finally move around a bit in this Death Watch cell that I´m already far too familiar with, I make up the bunk, using the small stack of freshly washed and folded linen piled at the foot of the plastic covered foam mattress, and check the sink to make sure that the water works. Everything appears to be in order.

I´m allowed one legal phone call and one call to family when a death warrant is signed and, once I´m situated in the cell, the Sargent puts the call through to my lawyers. They already knew that the Governor had rescheduled my execution and assured me that they were already putting together what needed to be done. We filed numerous appeals in both the State and Federal courts in recent months, and these remain pending but there´s more to be done. They would talk again next week.

My personal property arrived and, with the help of the Sargent, it was passed through the open feed slot (what we call a “bean flap”) a handful at a time and I stacked it up against the walls. I would put it up in the large steel footlocker bolted firmly to the floor the next day.

A few hours later, the Sargent puts the phone call through to my sister. She already knew about where I was, as my lawyer had contacted my family. My parents were at her house and she put the call on speaker phone, and I did my best to be positive and tell them not to worry, reminding them we have the appeals pending and the question of illegally imposed death sentence should stop all of this. But we all know that the courts don´t do what they should, and there´s a reason that of the last 25 men who occupied this Cell One here on Death Watch, I am the sole survivor. Nobody has survived a rescheduled execution on a fourth date with death.
But, for now, I will enjoy watching that unexpected sunrise through that window, and I will watch the next thirty-four to come; enjoying each as if it will be my last. And that last one will most likely come on the morning of October 5, 2017. By that evening, I will be dead.


Date With Death - Week Two: Countdown to Execution 

When I was brought down to Death Watch on Friday, September 1, 2017, they gave me 34-days to live and, at precisely 6:00p.m. on that thirty-fourth day, they plan to pump lethal drugs into my immobolized veins and kill me. As I sit at this small steel table in Cell One waiting, I'm now down to only 25-days. Just that quickly, nine days have already passed. That's almost a full one-third of the rest of my life.
I've been here before, and this Death Watch cell is familiar. But the last few times I've counted down what were to be my last days, I was not alone.  This time I am, and I'm still trying to figure out whether that's a good thing or a bad thing. On the plus side, it's often very quiet for long periods of time.  No one else is around other than the guard sitting at the desk on the other side of the steel bar gate. He makes his rounds about every 30-minutes to check on me before returning to his desk. More often than not, we will momentarily engage in idle conversation, as, like me, he too is alone. It’s just the two of us down here.

On the negative side, it's very quiet down here when there's nobody around. I feel isolated and this enhances my feelings of loneliness. I have a t.v. outside my cell to keep me entertained, and I have my MP3 player to get my head out of this place. But it just doesn't feel the same this time, being down here all by myself.  Not that I'd wish this on anyone – I wouldn’t do that. I'd rather be down here alone than put anyone else through this.

As luck would have it, shortly after Governor Scott signed the order on September 1, rescheduling my execution for October 5, a major hurricane, “Irma”, developed and grew into what was soon being called one of the worst ever. The projected path had it heading straight for South Florida and, as I write this, it's still coming this way.


Just a week earlier, Hurricane Harvey slammed into Texas, with record rain and within days at least 60 people died. I read that Texas had an execution scheduled that week that was postponed.

Now I'm going through the same thing. Shortly after my execution was rescheduled, the Florida Supreme Court issued an order instructing that all appeals had to be completed before the lower state courts no later then Monday September 11, so that any review before the Florida Supreme Court could be expedited. But with Hurricane Irma heading straight for South Florida, by early Thursday (September 7), the Governor ordered a statewide emergency and all state offices (including the courts) were shutdown.

It’s kind of hard to file an appeal if the courthouse is closed. My lawyers quickly filed a motion asking the Florida Supreme Court to rescind its order, due to their inability to work the case, and it didn't take long before the court issued an order granting another full week to file whatever had to be filed in the lower courts - but they refused to postpone the execution date. So, even though neither my lawyers or the lower courts could do anything for that week, and probably wouldn't be able to do much after Hurricane Irma blows through, the Florida Supreme Court wasn't going to postpone my execution.

The prison system has been locked-down for days as this hurricane draws closer and, other than a quick phone call with my lawyers, I haven't had any contact with them. One of my lawyers had a visit scheduled for this past Thursday, but couldn’t get any flights out of the Fort Lauderdale airport, as that part of Florida was being evacuated, and the investigator assigned to my case is a Coast Guard reservist, and was called up for duty.

I don't blame them.  Call it an act of God. But I'm quickly running out of time and I haven't had any meaningful communication with my lawyers. We’ve already lost valuable time, and that clock keeps ticking away, and there's nothing I can do about it.

Funny how not even what appears to be the worst hurricane in Florida's history can slow down the machinery of death.  This unexpected natural disaster serves to stack an already loaded deck against me, as this inability to get the work done favors the state.

But is isn’t all bad. On Monday (September 06), my younger sister came up for a visit. My other sister planned to come up with her, but couldn’t make it due to the hurricane. Still, it was a great visit, even though restricted to non-contact through glass.

Here in Florida (unlike Texas and a few other states), death-sentenced prisoners are allowed regular contact visits each weekend from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., in a large open visiting park. Although relatively few get regular visits, it means a lot to be able to give someone you love a big hug, and to be able to sit at a table and talk and eat a meal bought from the prison store.

But, once the Governor sets an execution date, then they immediately terminate those contact visits and all social visits become non-contact. That means that they are conducted though a glass wall with a small hole covered by a steel plate with holes in it so you can talk through it.

Even as much as these visits mean, they are also one of the hardest parts about facing an execution date. Regardless if what any of us in here may have done, our families remain innocent victims of this circumstance. While the victims families, and the justice system are driven by vengeance to push for our deaths, those that care about us are driven by love and want us to live, and nothing brings them more pain then to know that, in a matter of weeks, or even days, or hours, we may be put to death.

That's the reality that hangs over these Death Watch visits and I do what I can to keep the positive, to find a way to joke and laugh and talk about long ago memories of the good times that we shared together. But how I wished I could just reach through that thick plate of security glass and give her a big hug and tell her that it will all be alright.

Those few hours passed quickly and we said our goodbyes. My sister tried to hide the tears as she turned to walk out the door, but I could see that she was crying.  All I could do was smile and wave as she disappeared through that steel door. At least I had that time with her.

It was a long walk back to my Death Watch cell. The area where the non-contact visits are conducted is at the front of the prison, just inside the main door. But the Death Watch area is at the opposite end of this long building, over a quarter of a mile walk and, with each slow step in my shackled and chained feet, I felt that I was walking further away from all that means so much to me; leaving what gave me the strength to keep going (my family, friends, etc.) and returning to that cold loneliness of a Death Watch cell only a few feet away from the steel door that leads into the execution chamber.


If not for those visits, I wouldn't have had the strength to maintain my sanity through the years. If I've learned nothing else in the too many decades I've spent in this manmade hell, it is that all of us have our breaking point, and no matter how strong you may want to be, this place can break you. It will break you.

I remind myself of what Victor Frankl wrote about in the book Man's Search for Meaning; how, as long as a man has a reason to live, he can find the will to live, even under the worst of circumstances. To love and to be loved gives reason.

For a long time I thought it was hope that gave me the strength to keep going. But, in recent years, I've come to accept that hope is a fragile thing, which fades away with each new setback. Hope builds its foundation on circumstances beyond our control, and crushes our souls when what we hoped for is taken away.
Love is what keeps us going. The love of family, the love of friends, and if the stars even momentarily align themselves in just the right way, even the love of a new romance before it to quickly fades away. It's the love that others so generously extend to me that gives me strength.

Even before the Governor signed the order rescheduling my execution, I was expecting it. Earlier this year, the Florida Supreme Court denied my appeal that argued that I'm entitled to DNA testing of evidence. Evidence, that if tested, could substantiate my innocence, and that under the 2016 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Hurst v Florida, I was illegally sentenced to death.

Knowing that this was coming, and that there wasn't anything I could do to stop the State of Florida from killing me for something I didn't do, I decided awhile back that once the Governor did reschedule my execution, I would begin a hunger strike while on Death Watch. This would be a means of protesting against the intent to kill me without allowing the readily available evidence that will substantiate my innocence from being heard.

But my family and friends didn't like that idea. They worry about me, and were afraid it would cause me harm. My lawyers expressed their opposition because they remain confident that I will get another stay of execution, as I have four appeals pending and a number of strong issues (including my innocence) that still are not resolved.

I don't want to argue with them (and didn't), as these are people who have stood by me for many years. And I didn't want to add any more stress to what they were already going through as it is.
For that reason, I reached a compromise - I would delay initiating this intended hunger strike until after I had the visit with my sister. I’d then talk to her and explain why it is important to me that I do something, as I don't want to just lay down and die... Maybe a hunger strike wouldn't accomplish anything, maybe some would even laugh at me, but this is something I had to do.

So, I agreed to wait until after her visit that Wednesday (September 06) to begin, and it was a great visit.
Once I returned to my Death Watch cell, it was almost 4:00 p.m., and I knew that at 4:00 p.m. I would receive a phone call from my dear friend Geesje, who lives in Athens, Greece. For so many years, Geesje has stood by me, giving so much of herself to help fight the injustice of my wrongful convictions, as well as advocate on behalf of others. In my world, it's only too easy to forget that there are good people in this world. For reasons I will never understand, I have been blessed with a number of family and friends who are genuinely nothing less than angels... and Geesje is, unquestionably, one.

The call came through and I smiled when I heard her voice, her Dutch accent always frosted with a healthy dose of humor, and soon we were laughing despite the reality of my date with death. We only had a few moments, but just hearing her voice, especially after spending the earlier hours with my sister, just brought a happiness to my heart that had me smiling long after I had to hang up the phone.

Then I turned my attention to what could very well be my last meal as, beginning that following morning (Thursday September 7), I would start the Death Watch hunger strike and continue it until I either receive a stay of execution, or I'm put to death.

For months I had saved a “Roast Beef with Gravy” that I got from the food packages we are allowed to receive from the outside twice-a-year. It was a ready-to-eat meal that only needed heating up. I also saved a small bag of instant mashed potatoes, just for this occasion.

On Death Watch, we have access to a microwave oven and need only ask the Sergeant to put whatever we need heated in it, so I knew that I could prepare my meal as it should be.

I planned every detail for months. I began by first taking the small bag of instant mashed potatoes and pouring that into my bowl. Then I pulled out ten individual servings of liquid coffee creamer, that I bought from the canteen, and added that to the instant potatoes, stirring it into a paste.

I then took a two-ounce pack of Philadelphia Cream Cheese (with jaleapeno's) and added that to the instant potatoes, and then a small bag of sour cream and onion potato chips, which I crunched up into a fine powder before mixing that into the potatoes as well. Finally, I imposed upon the Sergeant to boil a cup of water, which I then slowly mixed into the potatoes until they were just the right thickness. I tried not to eat too much under the guise of tasting them - that was not easy!

Using my other bowl, I poured the generous portion of roast beef with thick brown gravy into that bowl and, again, imposed upon the Sergeant to heat it. Once that was steaming hot, I had him throw my potatoes into the microwave for a few minutes and then, using a couple of paper plates, I laid out a small mountain of my flavored potatoes in the middle of a plate, carefully creating a small bowl in the very middle. I then slowly poured the roast beef with gravy into that hollowed out cavity, until the thick gravy generously poured over the sides, with the chunks of roast beef spread to the side of that mountain.

I then sat down at my small table - the same table that so many others who previously occupied this Death Watch cell before me had eaten their own last meal before being put to death - and I took a moment to say Grace and remember those who went before me. Then I slowly ate that meal, savoring every bite, and knowing that it very well could be my last meal.

That plate of potatoes and roast beef with gravy filled me up, but I wasn't quite done yet. I reached into my footlocker and took out the last two small bags of Keebler Fudge Stripe Mini's cookies that I’d also saved from my food package. I had bought two small Kraft chocolate pudding cups from the canteen, and had them placed in the Death Watch refrigerator. I poured that thick, and almost frozen, chocolate pudding into the bowl, then poured the mini cookies on top, and began to eat my dessert. With each bite, I made sure that I had just the right mixture of pudding and mini fudge cookies. I deliberately took my time with each slow bite until, finally, it was gone. Then, like a child in his mother's kitchen, I licked the bowl clean, putting extra effort into making sure that I got every bit of that chocolate.

Once I had finished, I began to wash my bowls in the small sink, then dry them out. It was now early evening and I laid back on my bunk. I put my headphones on and watched t.v. for the next few hours, before I finally fell asleep. For a day on Death Watch, and only a few feet away from that steel door that leads into the execution chamber that patiently awaits me (please read, “Execution Day: Involuntary Witness to State Sanctioned Murder"), it wasn't a bad one.

But, it was also a long day, and I was tired and ready for sleep. However, sleep didn't come easy, as I struggled to focus on the time spent earlier that day with my sister and the way we laughed and shared memories of better days, and on the sound of my dearest friend Geesje's voice.

I fell asleep, then woke again, and pushed myself to sleep again. Before long it was almost 5:00 a.m., and the Death Watch Sergeant was standing at my cell door holding a white styrofoam food tray. I already knew it contained two biscuits with what they claim to be meat gravy, and potatoes and grits... that was our Thursday morning breakfast for, at least, the past ten-years.

Politely, I refused that breakfast tray, just as I would every meal they brought after that. Making his routine rounds, the Warden came by and I explained to him why I was doing this hunger strike, and that it had nothing to do with prison staff.

A few hours later, the Assistant Warden came by with a small folder of paperwork and, just as I had done when my death warrant was signed in November 2015, he advised me that they needed to go over a few things. He asked whether there were any changes to my previously stated next of kin, and how I wanted my body to be disposed of if the execution took place.

I answered each question as if I had that conversation every day, and within minutes we were finished. Just that quickly, the decision on how my body, as well as my personal property, would be disposed of was decided, and it brought me another step closer to death.

By Friday (September 8), the prison was already shutting everything down as they prepared for Hurricane Irma to blow through by early-Monday. Because of the hurricane, my previously scheduled visit with my elderly parents and other sister was cancelled, as was any communication with my lawyers. It would be a long weekend, until Tuesday.

As I write this, I have 25-days to go until they will come to take me to the other side of this floor and countdown those last minutes until, as I lay strapped to that gurney, they pump a cocktail of lethal drugs into my body and kill me. And there's not a damned thing I can do to stop them.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Nobody is going to execute Michael Lambrix

Law professor: “Nobody” executing Death Row inmate

by Dara Kam

Chance Meyer, a Nova Southeastern University law professor who previously defended prisoners sentenced to death, penned an op-ed in advance of the execution of Cary Michael Lambrix, scheduled for Oct. 5.

Meyer, an instructor and adjunct professor at Nova’s Shepard Broad College of Law, contends those involved in the execution process — including Gov. Rick Scott — maintain that they are merely following state law in ordering and performing death by lethal injection.

Here’s Meyer’s take on the proces:

Nobody is going to execute Michael Lambrix
On Thursday, October 5, around 6:00 in the evening, in the lethal injection chamber at Florida State Prison in Bradford County, nobody is going to execute Michael Lambrix.
Nobody on the team of corrections officers that performs the lethal injection will be the one who executes Lambrix.
Department of Corrections procedures give each officer a discrete task in the overall process, so nobody is responsible for the end result. The tasks are “requisite,” so nobody has to choose whether to perform them. The officers’ identities are “kept strictly confidential,” so nobody has to be anybody.
The officers just follow orders from the warden. And the warden just follows orders from the Governor.
On September 1, Governor Rick Scott sent the warden a death warrant ordering Lambrix executed.


In the warrant, Scott explained that a Florida statute “requires that I set a . . . date for execution . . . .” In other words, he didn’t choose to have Lambrix executed. Nobody did. He just followed orders from the Florida Legislature.
The Legislature passed the statute in 2013, as part of the so-called Timely Justice Act. At that time, legislators explained that their intent for the act was “that capital postconviction proceedings be conducted in accordance with court rules, and that courts strictly adhere to the timeframes . . . established therein.” In other words, the Legislature was not giving new orders. Nobody was. The Legislature was just trying to ensure that everyone would follow court orders.
A court ordered Lambrix executed, but neither the judge that issued the order nor the jurors that voted for the execution are responsible.
Lambrix was sentenced in 1984. His judge made the critical findings necessary to impose the death penalty. Since then, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that only juries, not judges, can make “the critical findings necessary to impose the death penalty.”
In 1984, his jury’s recommended sentence of death was not unanimous. Since then, the Florida Supreme Court has held that a “jury’s recommended sentence of death must be unanimous.”
So nobody made a lawful decision to execute Lambrix.
“Tumbling down the dizzying rabbit hole of untenable line drawing” is how Justice Lewis of the Florida Supreme Court describes the legal regime that permits defendants like Lambrix to be executed. Nobody understands it.
So, on Thursday, October 5, around 6:00 in the evening, in the lethal injection chamber at Florida State Prison in Bradford County, nobody is going to execute Michael Lambrix.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Death Watch Journal (20 days to scheduled execution)

As I write this it’s now Friday evening, September 15, 2017. About this time less than three weeks from now I will be strapped down to a gurney and by pre-planned and practiced ritual, I will be put to death as others watch, for a crime I did not commit.

Around the world many people are doing all they can to protest my scheduled execution and I cannot even reach out to them to let them know how much I appreciate all they’re doing. I hope somehow they know.

For my own part, I’m now on Day 10 of my hunger strike, and I’m feeling its effects. Although I drink plenty of water (and only water) I’m now down to 185 pounds. I was over 200 pound just a few weeks ago. The didn’t start taking my weight each day until I formally missed 21 meals, so the prison records reflect that I began at 202 pounds. But truth be told, I needed to lose some weight anyway. And other than some light-headedness and stomach cramps, I’m doing all right.

The warden came down earlier today and asked me why I’m doing this, and offered his observation that in his decades of experience, he’s never seen a hunger strike do any good. So I politely explained that it wasn’t about changing the outcome, but rather my only means of passively protesting the state’s intent to kill me for a crime that I didn’t commit. It was not an adversarial conversation but a polite exchange between me and the warden. Of course, I imposed my own unquenchable sense of humor upon him by inviting him to join me in my hunger strike, and he laughed as he declined.

But my biggest problem now is that I’m already almost halfway into this 34-day death warrant and I still haven’t been able to meet with my lawyers because of Hurricane Irma. My lawyers are in Fort Lauderdale and were forced to evacuate due to projected landfall in their area. When Irma hit Florida and made its way up to this area, it knocked out the prison’s phone system so that no phone calls could come through. And it caused “historical flooding” in the entire Northeast Florida area, making the roads to the prison impassible. Many employees couldn’t even make it to work, forcing the prison to cancel all social visits this weekend.

My lawyers requested that the execution be postponed due to the statewide emergency, but not surprisingly, Governor Scott quickly refused to even consider it. His only objective is to kill as many of us as he can as he campaigns for the 2018 U.S. Senate race, so I’m sure that he considers my lawyers’ inability to represent me as my execution draws closer as an advantage to him.

But as I’ve written before, at least I already had four separate appeals pending in various courts before my execution was rescheduled. With any luck, the U.S. Supreme Court will take an even closer look at the two appeals arguing my actual innocence that are before it now that I have an imminent execution date.

If the courts do the right thing and review my case rather than rubber-stamp it denied, then there’s a really good chance that I could finally have the readily available evidence substantiating my innocence claim (including DNA evidence) heard and then be exonerated and released, as others  have before me.

I try to focus on that positive — the truth is that if the rescheduling of my execution will compel the courts to now take a closer look at my case, and finally do the right thing, then maybe the best thing that has happened to me is that Governor Scott tried to kill me, and it could lead to my exoneration and release rather than my death.


And I wouldn’t be the first one in Florida who only won release after facing down a date with death. By far, Florida leads the country in the number of men and women wrongfully convicted and condemned to death only to be judicially exonerated and released after having a death warrant signed and coming close to execution.

I guess sometimes you got to dance with the devil to get through hell… that’s  just the nature of the beast. But this time feels different, like a dark and ominous cloud hangs over me that I just can’t shake. Maybe it’s the reality of knowing that nobody has survived a death warrant under Governor Scott. Even if you do get a stay of execution, like a psychopath he continues to methodically stalk you and reschedules the execution until you’re dead, all the while categorically unwilling to even consider substantiated claims of innocence.

Or maybe it’s because for the first time I’m down here alone, nobody but the single hard who sits mostly at his desk some distance away on the other side of the locked gate, giving me an overwhelming feeling of isolation. He will make his round each 30 minutes, but for the most part I have nobody to talk to to relieve the anxiety and stress.

And nobody’s heard from my daughter yet. She lives in the part of Florida that was hit with some of the worst flooding and was forced to evacuate to an emergency shelter. But she is mentally disabled and nobody has heard from her since the hurricane passed. Hopefully, I’ll hear something soon.

And it’s the letters or cards that I haven’t received. There’s a few people that I’m hoping to hear from that haven’t yet written. Don’t get me wrong, I truly am so incredibly blessed by having a small group of friends who have stood by me through the years, and my family, too. And they are all giving so much of themselves to help me through this. But it’s those that I was hoping to hear from that apparently haven’t written that kind of brings me down as I need to know that they are all right.

I do try to focus on the positive and maintain the hope. But it’s become hard… it’s been a really hard year altogether, and I guess I was already kind of down. Years ago, I wrote an essay about the resilience of not being knocked down so hard that I can’t get back up and declared myself a “weeble.” (“When Weebles Wobble.”)
But the truth of the matter is that more and more I really don’t want to get back up. I’m tired. It’s been a long journey and I have no confidence in the courts. I do have hope, but not confidence and there is a big difference. If it wasn’t for the people in my life who encourage me even at their own sacrifice, I probably would even welcome this scheduled execution.

And that’s just the thing — although the administration of “justice” always bow down before the alter of the politics of death, love will always prevail. And I am loved. And at that thought, I am now smiling.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Death Watch Journal (25 days to execution)

As I write this, it’s now Sunday night, September 10, 2017, and I now have less than 25 day to go before the state of Florida plans to put me to death for a crime that I didn’t commit… and there’s nothing I can do about it.

Just my luck, one of the worst hurricanes in Florida history decided to form about the same day that Florida Governor Rick Scott signed the order rescheduling my execution. I was already placed at a substantial disadvantage when Governor Scott only gave me less than five weeks — and in what has become a too familiar pattern, he deliberately waited until late Friday, September 1, to sign the order for October 5, knowing that Monday, September 3 would be a holiday (Labor Day), and everything would be shut down.

When he did that, he knew it meant that even under the best circumstances, nothing could be done until at least Tuesday, September 4. And he did the same when he signed the order rescheduling Mark Asay’s execution on July 3, the day before the Fourth of July holiday.

Some people continue to remain skeptical of what many call the pervasive “politics of death” that infest the death penalty process. But when it comes down to it, capital punishment is not about objectively targeting the “worst of the worst,” but rather it’s about politically targeting those least able to defend against the vast resources of the state. From the very beginning, a local prosecutor exercises his or her discretion in seeking the death penalty and once that process begins the deciding factor is politics.

Governor Scott knows that the courts will not allow him to schedule executions without providing ample time for appellate review. So he colluded with his attorney general, Pam Bondi, to try to stack the deck — to make it look on paper that is providing reasonable time between signing the order and the actual execution date.


On top of that, Hurricane Irma decided to target Florida. As this monster storm ravished the Caribbean islands, all but wiping out several of them, Florida began to prepare for what was expected to a major direct hit. The early projections had Irma blowing in as a destructive “category 5” in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area, and everything in southeast Florida was shut down.

That included all the courts and my lawyers’ offices. I’m not 10 days into a 34 day death warrant and because of Hurricane Irma, I still haven’t been able to meet with my lawyers to go over our legal strategy. In fact, they all had to evacuate southeast Florida and I haven’t even had a phone call since last week. But it isn’t their fault.


What I do know at this point is that last week my lawyers did file a motion with the Florida Supreme Court requesting more time due to the unexpected hurricane, and the court granted an extension of one week for filing the state appeals (which are now due no later than September 17) — but the court refused to postpone the scheduled execution date of October 5, even though they knew that my lawyers lost a least a full week of ability to work.

By late Saturday, Hurricane Irma turned away from the Miami area and began a NW path that ultimately led to landfall precisely at the Naples/Marco Island area of southwest Florida. I had to wonder whether that was the hand of God spanking Governor Scott, as it was a direct hit on his private mansion on the waterfront in Naples. It also directly his the hardest that part of southwest Florida that makes up the Twentieth Judicial Circuit — the very same judicial circuit that wrongfully convicted and sentenced me to death.

I believe in the concept of ‘karma’ and that God does still take an active role in the bigger issues around us. Can it be just a coincidence that an already powerful hurricane formed into the monster it became about the same time Governor Scott signed the order rescheduling my execution, then shifted as if guided by some Supreme Power (God?) from its projected landfall in Miami, all the way over to the other side of the state?

It is what it is and there’s a lot stronger evidence that this hurricane was the universe’s (ie. God) way of sending a message to those responsible. But people like that are too consumed with playing God than actually listening to God - and I have to wonder what wrath God might inflict upon the state of Florida if they do proceed to put me to death despite the wealth of readily available evidence substantiating my actual innocence?  Comes down to it, there’s no free rides in life. And the God that I believe in is not tolerant of a politically corrupt process that is only too willing to kill the innocent under the pretense of administering “justice,” Florida will have its day of reckoning and we can all thank Governor Scott when that happens.

I’m doing all I can as this methodical process continues to unfold, and each day I step a bit closer to the day that they plan to kill me. I know only too well that there’s nothing I can do to stop this runaway train. But that doesn’t mean I will just lay down and die. As I previously gave notice of, I will passively protest this act of state-sanctioned murder by initiating and maintaining a hunger strike while on death watch. This is not an easy thing to do, but what else can I do to protest this? Already I’m experiencing severe stomach pain and muscle cramps. But far better people than I have endured much worse to stand up and protest an injustice by engaging in a hunger strike.

I will be posting longer weekly updates on www.minutesbeforesix.com, and you can read updates on the international campaign to stop my execution at www.save-innocents.com. Many people around the world are doing all they can to help me, and I wish I could thank each of them in person with a big hug.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


What you can do:

Contact governor Scott:

Governor Rick Scott: Tel: 850-488-7146
Email: Rick.scott@eog.myflorida.com
Address: Office of Governor Rick Scott, State of Florida, The Capitol 400, S. Monroe Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-000, USA.

Letter template, please adapt/personalize as you wish.

Dear Sir,

I am writing to you about the case of Cary Michael Lambrix, #482053, with the purpose to respectfully ask for a clemency hearing on his behalf. Michael Lambrix is scheduled for execution on 10/5/2017.
I am [describe who you are, any particular moral, human or personal reason why you are writing to them).
This case is unique enough that it should compel the State of Florida to grant a
special attention to under the form of an official clemency hearing (his last clemency hearing was held over thirty years ago).

Many reasons could be given in support of such a hearing, such as:

1. The inordinate length of time already served
2. He has never been given the opportunity to present his version of events as a coherent whole. The members of the Cabinet deserve to hear the full story.
3. Lambrix’s version of events (manslaughter in self-defence) remains credible. By contrast, the case against him appears in many ways legally contentious:
- The key witness changed the story she told the police several times
- The key witness admitted in court to having had a sexual affair with the
State’s lead investigator
- Another leading witness later retracted her evidence
- Key forensic evidence has gone missing or is unavailable for testing (namely
fingernail scrapings and the tire iron)
- The State theory of the sequential killing of the two victims appears to many
questionable at best.
4. The jury verdicts were not unanimous, but 8-4 and 10-2. Should Mike Lambrix be tried today, he would NOT have been sentenced to death.
5. Mike Lambrix has twice refused offers of a plea-bargain, even though had he done so he would long since have been free.

However, there is one human picture that the courts will not be able to address:
Mike Lambrix is a man of exceptional intelligence and personal resolve who has educated himself in prison and managed to make his experience valuable to others:
He will be next year part of a major exhibition at the Nobel Peace Center in Norway, and his writings, his advice to others on how to pursue legitimate successful lives are already part of a wider, burgeoning effort to educate and encourage the public.


Sign Mike's Petition:  petition:  https://www.change.org/p/governor-rick-scott-please-grant-michael-lambrix-a-clemency-hearing

Friday, September 15, 2017


Press release Lambrix September 2017

Amidst tragedy of Hurricane Irma, Death Row Prisoner in Florida Declares Hunger Strike To Protest His Innocence

September 15, 2017
In an unprecedented move, Florida death row inmate Michael Lambrix has declared a "hunger strike" to protest his scheduled execution (October 5, 2017)
Michael Lambrix has consistently maintained his innocence in a case that remains essentially a highly circumstantial case (no eye witnesses, no physical or forensic evidence, no confession). Despite the case receiving international attention, his appeals for justice  in courts have been defeated for over 30 years.
The State funded agency CCRC South recently filed a strong and comprehensive "habeas petition" in the Florida Supreme Court specifically arguing that he must be allowed to present and be heard upon the wealth of evidence, including DNA testing (see  Lambrix v Jones, Case No SC17-1608)
Support in the US and around the world, as well as attorney Adam Tebrugge strongly believe that should Michael Lambrix lose his appeal again, he should then get a unique clemency hearing.
Mike Lambrix has said:
I have been forced into a non-win situation in which the vast resources of the State of Florida
are being employed to put me to death for a crime I am actually innocent of. I cannot stop anyone from executing me. But I am constitutionally entitled to protest against this injustice by declaring and maintaining a hunger strike as an expression of the free speech without governmental intrusion.

Photo: Rune Eraker
Mike Lambrix will be part of an exhibition "Noble is the Man"
at the Nobel Peace Prize center in Oslo, 2018

 Background information

. Summary of the case, key prior media interviews, and general campaign information:

. To access Mike Lambrix story and his life advice to others:

. For all detailed appellate actions filed in Lambrix's case and more information:

Sign the Petition here


Write/email the Governor:


His last clemency hearing was over 30 years ago.
He never has had an opportunity to present his version of events as an integrated whole.
Should he be tried today, he would NOT be sentenced to death (the jury was not unanimous)..
He twice refused offers of a plea-bargain, even though had he done so he would  since have been free.
Mike Lambrix has educated himself in prison and managed to make his experience valuable to others: He will be next year part of a major exhibition at the Nobel Peace Center in Norway, ("Noble is Man") and his writings, his advice to others on how to pursue legitimate successful lives are already part of a wider growing effort to educate and encourage the public, which needs to be supported.
Tel. : Governor Rick Scott: 850-488-7146
Email: Rick.scott@eog.myflorida.com
(Office of Governor Rick Scott State of Florida The Capitol 400 S. Monroe St. Tallahassee, FL 32399-000)

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi:
Tel 850-414-3300 Pam Bondi
Email: http://myfloridalegal.com/contact.nsf/contact?Open&Section=Attorney_General
Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis:
Tel (850) 413-2850
Email: CFO.Patronis@MyFloridaCFO.com

Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam
Tel 850-413 2850
Email adam.putnam@wustl.edu And info@adamputnam.com

 Emmanuelle Purdon emmanuellepurdon[at]mac.com

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Death Watch Journal (Execution Rescheduled)

On Friday, September 01, 2017, Florida governor Rick Scott decided that it was time kill me again and signed an order rescheduling my previously “stayed” execution for Thursday October 5, 2017. That gave me about 35 days to live. By that afternoon I was pulled (not forcibly) from my regular death row cell on “G-wing” and escorted up to the front of the prison and brought to an office where FSP warden Barry Reddish then read the governor’s order to me and then it was back down that long main corridor to the very end of the prison where the heavy steel door leads on to “Q-wing.”

The bottom floor of Q-wing is Florida’s execution chamber as well as the 3 cells that house the condemned prisoners while on “death watch.” Since they just put Mark Asay to death last week (August 24) I was the only prisoner down here and was placed in “cell one” (see Cell 1— PBS documentary, featuring myself), to once again slowly count down what the state of Florida intends to be my last days in this life.

The question now is where do we go from here? I must first accept the reality that especially since current governor Rick Scott began his unprecedented campaign to kill as many prisoners as he could — he’s running for the U.S. Senate and in these southern states nothing wins more votes than a good old fashioned lynching — not even one person he’s targeted for execution has survived.

That’s just the reality of it and so going into this I must accept that the odds are stacked against me. By confronting and accepting that truth, I can at least come to terms with it.

But with that said, my lawyers seem somewhat confident that at the very least we have a good chance of having the courts put a stop to all this on the one big issue of whether Florida can continue to execute those who have been illegally sentenced to death. This is generally referred to as the “Hurst” issue and it is what the Florida Supreme Court ordered a stay of execution on in my case only last year when I was originally scheduled for execution on February 11, 2016.

This issue comes from the January 2016 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Hurst v Florida in which by a rare super majority (8 to 1 vote) the Supreme Court recognized that the way Florida was sentencing prisoners to death by allowing the judge to determine the sentence was illegal, as under the Constitution any such sentence has to be determined by a jury.

In the aftermath of the Hurst v Florida decision, Florida change the laws on the death penalty., now not only requiring that the jury determine the sentence (life or death) but that it must do so by a unanimous vote (12 to 0) instead of the simple majority previously required.

However, in Mark Asay  v State of Florida, the Florida Supreme Court decided that they would allow this substantial change of law to be retroactively applied only as far back as 2002. Specifically, the Court decided by a marginal majority that those illegally sentenced to death after June 2002 would have their sentences thrown out, but those illegally sentenced before June 2002 would not. This “partial retroactivity” rule is unprecedented and as the lawyers are arguing, creates an arbitrary process that is itself unconstitutional.


                                                            - Photo by Rune Eraker -

This issue was not resolved in Mark Asay’s case as he didn’t want his lawyers to pursue it. Although they did superficially present this “partial retroactivity” to the court, it was not fully addressed. My case will now be the first one to fully address this issue, but it is expected that the Florida Supreme Court will be very unreceptive to the issue — after all, they are the ones that created this absurd rule. For that reason, it’s far more likely that if it is fully addressed, it will be by the U.S. Supreme Court, and we won’t know if they will grant review until only shortly before the scheduled execution.

While that issue appears to be what the lawyers will undoubtedly focus on I do have at least 3 other appeals already pending in the courts, which focus on my consistently pled claim of actual innocence.

As those already familiar with my case know (see www.southerninjustice.net) I have maintained my innocence in this wholly circumstantial case (i.e, no eye witnesses, no physical or forensic evidence, no confessions, etc.) and there is a virtual wealth of readily available evidence, including including DNA evidence — that supports my claim of innocence, but the courts have refused to allow this evidence to be heard because they say that my lawyers failed to present it in my original “post conviction” appeal.

Before Governor Scott signed the order rescheduling my execution, my lawyers filed a comprehensive “Petition For Writ of Habeas Corpus” in the Florida Supreme Court; (see Cary Michael Lambrix v Julie Jones, Case No. SC17-5153) that fully summarizes how the collective evidence does establish my actual innocence and that I am entitled to have this evidence heard before they kill me. Also, in this original “actual innocence” habeas, my lawyers challenge the Florida Supreme Court’s earlier denial of our request for DNA testing — the Court stated that DNA testing was already done, but that simply is not true and our argument is that the courts cannot deny in a case presenting a claim of actual innocence, on clearly false pretenses.

Additionally, I have two separate appeals still pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, both arguing why I was wrongfully convicted. In Cary Michael Lambrix v Julie Jones, we argue that the federal court’s refusal to allow the evidence establishing my actual innocence heard violates established federal law. If the U.S. Supreme Court grants review of that case, not only would it probably lead to my own exoneration and release, but it would open the door to forcing the Florida federal courts to allow other cases to be heard.

Last, in the other case already pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, Cary Michael Lambrix v State of Florida, case17-5539 we argue that the Florida Supreme Court violated its own rules by denying me a new trial on the issue based on irrefutable evidence that my appointed public defender that represented me at trial was secretly acting as a witness against me to the FBI, and that  under long-established federal law this undisclosed “conflict of interest” requires the court to throw out my convictions and order a new trial.

Bottom line is that I do have numerous strong appeals already pending and several more that haven’t been filed yet. Legally, I’m in a better position now than I have been in many years. But we also know that one of the reasons that Governor Scott hand picks which cases he will sign a death warrant on is because he is deliberately stacking the deck — he knows that once you’re “under warrant” the politics of Trump justice and the courts are significantly less receptive to anything you file - even becoming openly hostile. That’s why nobody has survived a death warrant under Governor Scott — I’m the only one still alive.


I don’t know how this will play out. I don’t have any confidence in our legal system as it has long been corrupted by the “politics of death,” and proven itself only too willing to sacrifice the innocent. But I am blessed with my friends who will advocate my case the best that they can…. politics work both ways. Maybe with their help we can turn the politics of death to our advantage. Maybe.

Read Mike's moving essay written for his sister Why the Butterflies Must Die at MinutesBeforeSix