I spent most of Thursday and Friday evening (6-9 PM) doing legal research for other inmates. Some of was to help Frank better understand what issues he might raise on the next step in the appeal process.
He has still not told me all the specifics of his case but he is seeking definitive and positive results from me. He has now been turned down by the NY Appeals Court and is at a place where he needs to pay more lawyers to raise his issues in the Federal Court. This is the same thing I have done without any lawyers.[Just got back from doing yet more legal research for Frank. About 90 minutes or so.]
I am doing the research primarily to add to my own legal research experience. Working on his stuff does not really benefit me directly as far as my own appeals process go.
When I do legal research I tend to get wound up and frustrated at the same time. It is amazing how while you read actual appeal cases, you can find one case that says yes, the sky is blue, but a few cases later they say yes, the sky is green.
I was attempting to decompress and got into an interesting debate with Walter (fellow inmate) about the hopelessness of the whole system. The whole thing that started me off was the connection between the level recommended by the review board and the actual level assigned by the judge.
Based on my research tonight, it appears that no matter what the formula comes up with, the judge has full discretion to assign what level he feels is appropriate.
While discussing the issues with Walter, he asked the question, "Okay what would happen if you came home from work one day and you discovered..."
I was saved answering by the 9:45 PM count.
By the time the count was done I came to the decision that it was time to tell Walter something about my case. I pulled him aside in the courtyard and told him that the question he asked is a tough one. Now I do not know if you are about this whole discussion or not and I am writing to save the moment for future research.
From what Walter has said, he has an MSW. I do not want any actual information on Walter. You can look him up if you want but do not send me any specifics. If you do pull up anything, maybe you could 'file' a copy of it with this letter.
By 11 PM we had some decent discussion and Walter said he would like to talk more from time to time. One of the things we were discussing was a thirty year study that was done in Canada.
My point was that even if it was historically accurate 95% of the time that means you would be wrong with five out of every hundred persons if you were to set up conditions for those hundred persons. The idea of predicting the future behavior of any one person is certainly not a science, and certainly not a principle our justice system is based on. Once you decide to get into the crystal ball business you stop.
Again this was an intellectual discussion and we did not have to deal with the reality of the world around us.
Walter also conceded that my nine plus years of prison experience does begin to come in handy against his one year of dealing with the system.
I think there was a thing on the web
about Hitler, Beethoven and one other famous person that describes their personalities without disclosing their names and what you would do with those persons. The result was Hitler smelt like a rose and you would have advised Beethoven's mother to have an abortion since this was her umpteenth child and it was going to have some birth defects.
I am not sure if any of this makes any sense to you. Walter said it showed that I trusted him. I said that it was not that at all.
Over the last several months, mostly through the blog, I have been dealing with people who know my legal background and as such I can take the position of testing various relationships with my true self. I told him I would appreciate him not sharing our talk with anyone else, but had not extracted any promises before I told him. Nor did I tell him to get him to tell me his crimes and I actually cut him off when he starts to confess to me. I told him I did not need to know the details.
Anyhow I am going to write you asother letter and some more posts this weekend. [Maybe if I say it enough it will come true.]