Saturday, November 3, 2007

Update on Innocent in Mississippi

Well, ups and downs! Good news and bad! Like riding a roller coaster. Just when I think we are getting somewhere, we take a few steps back. And then I/we move ahead a little bit and then back again. I guess all in all we are making progress.

Thalia is doing well. She is keeping her spirits up and her faith strong. She has her bad days but we all do. But she is a strong woman and her faith is strong. I had a day last week where I needed her and somehow she knew it because she called at a time when she normally wouldn't have (just before I was scheduled to work in the morning) and I had just gotten some news about her case that really upset me. I found out the attorney we were hoping and praying would take her case wasn't going to have time so I was really upset about it. I didn't know how I was going to tell her but she called right after I talked with their office and she knew something was wrong. Since I don't keep anything from her, I told her. I don't want to keep her hopes up so I don't mislead her about what is going on with her case. She stayed strong for me during that moment and I am so thankful for that. Of course, I pulled it together and towards the end of the call, I was optimistic again and telling her everything was going to work out. I firmly believe that and I know that God is going to provide a way. So when she called me later that day, of course, it was my turn to be the comforter. She had a bad day after getting that news and was sick most of the day but I told her it was going to be okay and this just wasn't the right attorney or not the time for him to do anything with her case but I know that God will show us when and who.

So now we are on to other things. She should be getting her application from the Mississippi Innocence Project any day. I spoke with Mr. Carrington the first of the week and he said he had received her request and that the application would be mailed out by mid-week. That is one good thing we can keep in our hearts and thoughts and prayers!

The other is I began calling our State Representatives (House and Senate members). I spoke with several who are attorneys and several who serve on the Corrections Committee. I even spoke with the Vice President of the Corrections Committee. He heard a little about what I was trying to do and asked me to contact him back after the elections on Tuesday. He is running for re-election and if he gets re-elected, he is going to sit down and meet with me. He told me that if he doesn't get re-elected, obviously he wouldn't be able to help with anything. So, I will call him back on Wednesday of next week. My proposal is some sort of bill that allows people who are incarcerated to continue to fight for their freedom without the restriction of a time constraint. Now I know some of you may say that is a waste of tax payers dollars but it really isn't. There are certain criteria in order that they be allowed to continue the fight. And once again, I will tell you how wonderful the Lord is because I told Thalia about this and that this was one of the things I really wanted to see happen not only for her but for any other person currently incarcerated who may be in a similar situation. This was about mid-week, I believe. Well, she called me the very next day and told me about a law she had heard about in the Prison Legal News that one of the other inmates gets that is very similar to what I am talking about. This law was passed in North Carolina and it is H/1323. I looked it up the next day and it is worded almost exactly the way I would like to see one for Mississippi worded. This law for North Carolina, to my understanding, is based on something the United Kingdom did and the results that came about were as follows:

8500 cases reviewed
300 were sent back to court.
220 of the 300 had the sentence reversed.

How's that for some statistics? That number blows my mind. 300 cases were sent back to court and 220 of those were reversed. That is almost 75% of the cases that were returned to Court. That is 220 people who were wrongfully convicted and had served time for crimes they didn't commit.

Our elections are Tuesday and I am still undecided on my vote for Governor. I know I am only one person and just a very small sprinkle in the bucket but I am still struggling. Our current Governor, Haley Barbour, has done a wonderful job, in my opinion as Governor. He handled the situation with our Coast very well during Katrina and we are well on the way to the rebuilding of the Coast. Both bridges (Gulfport/Bay St. Louis and Biloxi/Ocean Springs) have re-opened. I'm not happy that he didn't stay the execution of a man sentenced to death on October 30th based on the US Supreme Court investigation into the methods of the lethal injection. I feel all scheduled executions should be held until the US Supreme Court makes that determination. And quite honestly, I feel all who have a sentence of death should be commuted to Life without parole. I am against the death penalty because I know what the Bible says. And thankfully the US Supreme Court did step in and stay the execution about 19 minutes before he was to be executed. I hope that this will be a message to all states who have executions scheduled to hold off until a decision is made. And I pray that one day we will abolish the death penalty all together. Now, some of you may be thinking that is wrong but let me explain this to you. If Thalia's case was such that the death penalty could have been sentenced, it would have been. Only because it wasn't a crime where the death penalty could be imposed is she not sitting on death row. For that I'm thankful. But if she had received the death penalty AND she were executed for this, we as a State would have her blood on us. And I feel that we as a Country have the blood on us for any person who has ever been executed for a crime they didn't commit. And I believe there have been people executed who were innocent. Therefore, executions in any form should be halted completely. Our judicial system isn't perfect and until we can show that it is, no one should be taking another persons life. But this blog isn't about the death penalty. This blog is about Thalia and her freedom.

So, back to my original thought and that is my torn decision between our two opitions for Governor. Haley Barbour or John Eaves. I will say that when I contacted John Arthur Eaves campaign headquarters, I spoke with a very nice lady, his campaign manager, I believe and she was very forthcoming with information and helpful in answering my questions. Of course, as I know this is a campaign and the candidates are going to basically tell us what we want to hear (and that isn't to say that they don't have good intentions of doing what they say), I also know what the reality will be in the end. So I further questioned the Eaves Campaign about how he would make the time to meet with the average every day citizen of the State of Mississippi if he is elected. My original question was would he make time to meet with the average every day citizen and, of course, the answer was yes. But, again, I'm not stupid. I wanted to know how he would make the time to do that, what is his plan on that. His campaign office was very informative on the subject. I was told that he, in fact, had already discussed this with them and this is in his plan. Not only does he want to do that, he wants to have a time for the children of our state to come to the Governors mansion and visit with him, ask questions and see how it is to be in the Governors office. So I was very impressed with the further disclosure of something I didn't even inquire about. So do I believe that is something that he wants to do for our state? Absolutely!

And I already know how Governor Barbour handles meeting with the average every day citizen of the state. He doesn't. You see, I have gone through all the channels and departments that he put forth in his office/cabinet, whatever. I am told he is the next person that I need to meet with but he won't meet with me. I am told he doesn't get involved in these matters. Well, you see, the Governor is the one who ultimately makes the decision in these cases so I'm not quite sure WHY he refuses to meet with me. I know I am just one person but you know what, my vote counts. And before I was in the position I am currently in, knowing the things I know about this case, I never realized how important it is that we (the average every day normal citizen) have access to our local government. Certainly, go through those steps set forth but once that is done, then it is my opinion the Governor should make time to meet with a citizen on any issue when that citizen has followed the protocol. BUT AGAIN, I TELL YOU, OUR GOVERNOR WILL NOT MEET WITH ME ABOUT THIS ISSUE. So what is your opinion on this? Do you believe that the Governor of your state should be accesible to you if need be? Do you believe that he should make time to meet with you when you have followed his protocol for the matter you are trying to get handled (no matter what that is)?

I guess that is all for now. I will see Thalia tomorrow and update again on how things are going.