Justice for Jimmy

I wrote to Jimmy Dennis in early December without knowing anything about him. Yesterday, I received a letter back from him which included information about his case. There is a campaign going on that has captured the attention of the likes of Susan Sarandon, and his case details do not paint a picture of guilt. In fact, it is cases like Jimmy's that initially compelled me to want to do something about the death penalty. 122 innocent men have been freed from death row, how many more remain? It's clear, to me and so many other people, that Jimmy Dennis is one of them.

"As a strong advocate for the wrongfully convicted, I have become aware of Jimmy's case and hope to help Jimmy and his supporters find justice in this case." - Susan Sarandon, Actress/Activist

Please find more information about Jimmy's case and the campaign to free him within the links below:

The Official Homepage of Jimmy Dennis

Save Jimmy Dennis

Jimmy Dennis: Innocent on Death Row

Alive Campaign for Jimmy Dennis

CCADP's Campaign for Jimmy Dennis

Jimmy Dennis ou les dérives de la peine de mort

Homem Inocente No Corredor Da Mort

Gerechtigheid Voor Jimmy

Jimmy Dennis vas prosi za pomoč

Wrongfully Convicted on Death Row

Donate To Assist With Legal And Investigatory Expenses: Please make checks payable to "The James A. Dennis Legal Expense Trust."

The James A. Dennis Legal Expense Trust,
c/o Sun Trust Bank, Dept. 28,
Washington, DC 20042-0028

If you would like to send stamped envelopes or paper to Jimmy to help him get his letters to me, to his webmasters, or the people working on his campaigns, or if you would like to send him or I any comments regarding our correspondence, please click here to email me.


Anthony Fletcher - Jan 24th, 2006

I received a letter from Anthony Fletcher yesterday. He has requested that I don't post his letters, but rather quote some things if I find them interesting.

Anthony himself is interesting. A former lightweight boxing champ, he's been incarcerated for over a decade in a case that seems like it shoud have been open and shut self-defense.

Anthony would like very much for you to visit his web site and read the case details for yourself. www.anthony-fletcher.com. The case details are there for you to review, and you can also donate to help Anthony fight for his freedom.

Remember, Since 1977, 1008 people have been executed in the United States while another 122 death row inmates have been released after they were found innocent.

At the time of Governor Ryan's blanket commutation decision in the State of Illinois, 12 people had been executed in that State since 1977 while 13 have been released after proving their innocence-an error rate of 52 percent.

Fifty-two percent

It makes you wonder, it really makes you wonder how many of those 1008 executed in the United States were innocent men.

In fact, here is a list of executions that have occurred where there were significant doubts about the defendant's guilt: deathpenaltyinfo.org - Executed but Possibly Innocent

I urge you to read Anthony's web site and come to your own conclusion. If you conclude, as most people do, that this man has an actual innocence claim, please donate. We can't afford to question another man's guilt or innocence after the fact.

If you would like to send stamped envelopes or paper to Anthony to help him get his letters to me, to his webmaster, or if you would like to send him or I any comments regarding our correspondence, please click here to email me.


Minister Dennis "Muata" Mayfield Brewer - Jan 17th, 2005

Dearest Courtney,

With all Praise to God, I hope this letter finds you well. The execution of Ray Allen took place this morning at 12:30am. I hope you received my first response with ideas for your web site.

There's another execution lined up for next month, and Michael and I have known each other since I have been here and we are friends. There's another execution set for April so we have to get busy, Courtney. The cases that are coming up for execution are all or many from the early 1980s. My case is from 1988 giving me 3 to 4 years appeal time in Federal Appeals. I'm at the first level Federal District Court as we are petitioning for new claims to be added and so forth before the judge reviews my petition. Just to give you an idea of where I'm in all of this.

I think that with all of these executions so close together many of the young new comers to death row will have a new attitude and will not want to waste any time passing time.

As you may well know that the people sit on death row for 5 years or more without legal counsel. I think you should check out the following web site and advertise it on your site as needed helpful information.

The Christian Civil Liberties Union

Mother Company USA
2190 Pummit Dr. Suite 202
Falls Church, VA, 22043

I also wanted to extend the info to you for Death Penalty Focus Email: info@deathpenalty.org. Mike Farrell is President and from here you can tap into all the news about the death penalty and developments and updates.

I hope that I have been of some help Courtney, as I am so limited without my property. I kept and ran my cell like a lab, as that's what a cell is to me. A place where I work to help others and myself, and share spirit of love through my writing. I haven't been able to get into my poetry as these executions are not allowing me the mental flow that I need to write poetry. But it will come along soon, I'm seeing, as love is the driving force behind my writing and you know nothing can stop love as it's gonna do what it's gonna do, ok? :)

I have to close, but I wish you well and a beautiful day,

With A Perfect Touch
God Bless You,
Your Friend,
San Quentin Death Row

Note: I sent Dennis a package a few weeks ago with envelopes, paper, pictures of me, picture of him he'd asked for and a printout of the web site. He doesn't seem to have received it, judging from this letter.

If you would like to send stamped envelopes or paper to Dennis to help him get his letters to me, or if you would like to send him or I any comments regarding our correspondence, please click here to email me.


Minister Dennis "Muata" Mayfield Brewer

December 28th, 2005

Hello Courtney,

Thank you so very much for taking time out to write me, as I would very much like to be your friend and help you gain understanding and knowledge about prison life, death row and the entire correctional system. I also hope that my letter has found you well spiritually and both mentally and physically. I also welcome you and our new friendship into the new year and for all eternity.

I would like for you to know that I also have a Swahili name (Muata). It means, "One who seeks the truth." Given to me by my late, great brother, Stan Tookie Williams - may he rest in peace. Having said that, I share your feelings, emotions and spirit to continue to do all we can to work towards an end to this cruel and unusual punishment, the Death Penalty and incarceration in place of education.

Yes, Stan was my beloved big brother and he has helped me to grow into the man of peace, love and harmony that I am today. With his help and daily example of charity of himself to help others, I began to help at-risk youth and anyone with the need to understand life and how to flow with nature and obtain a healthy constructive life free of jail and prison life. Education and communication are often the missing elements in the lives of hardship - lives, and leads to imprisonment. That, without a doubt, is also a flaw in the governmental system, as teachers have been underpaid, and classrooms over-filled, and many students simply left behind to go through a lifetime not knowing how to read.

I didn't learn how to read & write until I was 30 years old with the help of my brother, Stan. I never thought I'd become a youth counselor, teacher of vocabulary, art and Minister of the Lord God. But education and communication are the keys to life, and through this internet web site project that you wish to pursue, I'd love to help educate the world about the cruelty going on in America's jails and prison systems and especially death row.

Please visit this website to order the must read "Blue Rage, Black Redemption" by Stan Tookie Williams. www.tookie.com. You will find the information for the ordering as soon as you are into this web site, ok?

I have been thinking of some ways to best run your web site. You will need a catchy handle for the site, and I came up with this one: "Have you Heard" or "Have you HEARD???". Yes, to use your name as the catch of the viewer:

That's two that you can pick from to go with for the web site title if you like it?

In regards to drawing others pen pals you might want to offer each inmate his own web page. For an example, check me out at this site: www.survivingthesystem.org.

A web page allows each person to get into what he really feels and wants to say, as everyone's story, you will find, isn't the same. But with there being a web page program on your site it will allow one to take pride in what he or she says or puts upon that page that only represents their views and personality. Thus, allowing viewers to read and see into the hearts and souls of human beings who are living everyday with facing execution.

My 10 year old niece, asked her grandfather, why do they kill someone to show that killing is wrong? She didn't know that there was already a button out with that question that too many people are ignoring. By all means, I think it would be a great idea to pose this question and some answers ok?

Courtney, it has been tough dealing with the loss of my brother, and I'm doing that one day at a time as we were very close and I miss him so much. But as if that doesn't matter I'm being punished, I feel, for loving my brother. Please allow me to enlighten you.

On Dec. 10th, 2005 I was on my way out to the yard to hold Saturday church services. On the way, I was moved to the side and told that I was going to the hole pending the outcome of Dec. 13th [the day Stanley "Tookie" Williams was executed]. On Dec. 16th, 2005 I went before the warden and about 10 others and told that I was a model inmate of 11 years with no violations. But I was being placed in the hole as a result of the execution of Mr. Williams. I have been put on 90 day property control, meaning I don't have any of my belongings, and will not get any of them back until March, 2006 or when an investigation is concluded providing that I've done nothing wrong. I can't go to the store, no care packages, can't order anything from outside stores. I was put in a cage fit for a dog for my exercise yard time. It looks like Guantanamo Bay here in the AC hole. I'm housed in one of 6 of San Quentin's maximum security cells. Can't see no daylight, don't know what time it is most of the time, and I don't sleep much at night.

I lost my appetite when clemency was denied, and didn't eat for like 3 days. I'm not at all used to Satan having fun at the price of my joy, health, and daily productive activities. So I processed everything and got in my exercise as I needed to lose some weight. I got into my writing of positive messages, and for these 90 days I will use them for a much needed time out to be away from the many distractions that I deal with everyday in the building I was taken from, and my TV, Radio. This quality time with God for me, as I do have a Bible to read and study. So I have made the best out of a bad stay in the hole, or situation.

I do need some help that you [or all you readers] may be able to provide. 100 sheets of lined writing paper, 20 envelopes, USA stamps and a picture of you.

Courtney, I have run out of paper so I am going to have to bring this letter to a close. I was just warming up. I hope to receive some of the stationary that I have been requesting so I can really get into my writing here. I deeply miss my typewriter with word-processing on it, I hope to be back with it really soon.

May the love of God always flow between us, as we move forward in His grace to be great friends. Always sharing, and always caring about how the other is feeling and doing. It's my delight that God has brought us together, and I look most forward to doing all I can to help you with this website to be one of the best and most effective to put an end to the death penalty.

I wish you a Happy New Year and hope to hear from you soon,

With Peace Always,
God Bless You,
Minister Dennis M. Brewer
San Quentin Death Row


If you would like to send stamped envelopes or paper to Dennis to help him get his letters to me, or if you would like to send him or I any comments regarding our correspondence, please click here to email me.


Injustice Toward Minorities II

by Robert Talib Douglas on Death Row in Pennsylvania

Well it's almost two years since I last wrote my last essay on the injustice toward the poor, how much has changed? Well to start we know since 1976 about 80 American men/woman that have been sentence to death were later found innocent and 13 of them got help from journalism students "Think of this" "Students,Kids on a research assignment" expose what the law and courts couldn't expose, and the politicans continue to convince society that the justice system is a just system.

But the injustices don't just happen in death pentaly cases. I just read a case of a white male accused of raping and murdering a young lady He recieved a life sentence, but always claimed that he was innocent. After years of trying to get someone to listen, he found someone who would, a lawyer who believed him. Now after the lawyer reviewed the notes and evidence, he came to find that some vital evidence was withheld. Sperm found in the victim didn't come from the defendant, but the jury was never told of this information. Now the higher court judge justified it by saying that there were two suspects. One was never caught, and when the defendant raped the lady, he used a condom. But regardless of her opinion, how could you allow them to withhold vital evidence? The jury took it as the sperm found in this lady was the defendant's.

I didn't want to get into the habit of writing about cases, but it helps bring a lot of light to the sistution at hand. Now this one really saddens me. A young black male was charged with a burglary & a rape/burglary. This rape victim gave a statement, that she wasn't raped, that she entered her apartment and the suspect dropped everything and ran off,and that he never touched her. So why did the police bring this in? Because of an unsolved homicide/rape/robbery, the police puts this suspect into a car and drives him around to sites of crimes, they stopped where the murder took place and asked the suspect has he ever been to this house before. He said yes, and yes to the other sites that he was taken to. This person had an IQ of 69, that's equal to a 9 year old. He then goes to trial for the cases. He was found not guilty on all burglary cases, but found guilty on the murder and sentenced to death. Now for a couple of years his attorney was trying to get a DNA test to prove the man didn't committ the crime. After exhausting all his appeals he was down to his last hope, clemency or pardon by the Governor. The attorney pleaded for a DNA test. The governor allowed a DNA test to be done. He received the results months later, then called the defendant's attorney and told him, "I'll give you two hours to make a decision. Sign these papers and I'll grant your client clemency. The attorney asked for a copy of the DNA test,then they claim they didn't have them. The attorney had no choice but to sign the papers. The attorney asked for a copy of the DNA results before he sign the papers. They claim that they didn't have the DNA test results,,so the. attorney signed the papers and his client was given a life sentence. During a TV interview months later about this case, he received a copy of the DNA test, and it showed that the defendant was innocent, and that the judge, prosecutor & governor knew this from the start before the attorney was asked to sign the clemency papers.

Politicians & Judges are subject to election with disturbing frequency. Judges who follow the law and overturn death sentences are challenged for being soft on crime. The public is encouraged to view any ruling which interferes with a death sentence as intrusive, "technicality". For a judge to follow the law and the constitution there can be perilous consequences.

Here's an example: Justice White was the only woman on Tennessee's Supreme Court. In her first death penalty case, she joined the unanimous vote of the other justices in affirming the conviction of a man, but overturned the death sentence. The Tennessee Conservative Union attacked her as an opponent of the death penalty. In the judicial election, White's appointer including the State Republican Leader accused her of never voting "to uphold a death penalty conviction" (even though this was her first captial case she had upheld). But the State Republican Senator voted absentee before the official election and then publicly announced that they had voted against Justice White. The Republican Governor Don Sundquist proclaimed before the election that he would never name someone to a criminal court judgeship unless he was sure the nominee supported the death penalty. In the end Justice White lost the election and no longer served on the courts. Clearly, if she had gone against her sworn duty to follow the law and voted instead to execute, she would still be on the court today.

These are stories that the public don't get to hear about, but are discussed in a closed room. In New Jersey, they don't have to worry about a Supreme Court Justices making a political decisions, rather the decision that are based on facts, because their judges are appointed for a lifetime and therefore do not fall under the political pressure that comes from making decisions that will favor the public and/or those who would be in a positions to help them get re-elected to their position. Prosecutors and some Judges are one-minded, that every person that comes before them are guilty. Once a man was place on death row in Alabama even before his trial. He was accused of murdering a well liked white woman He was already unpopular because he was dating a different white woman. After the murder had gone unsolved for months the police convinced some witnesses to testify against the defendant. Ironically, this trial occurred in Monroville,the hometown of Harper Lee and the setting of the famous novel, "To Kill a Mockingbird". The defendant maintained his innocence. The witnesses against him were weak. The jury convicted him of murder, but given the lack of physical evidence they recommended a life sentence. But he (judge)had the ultimate decision and the judge stated the appropriate sentence is death by electrocution. Six years later witnesses admitted that they lied. In their zeal to solve a troubling murder, the prosecutor had focused on the wrong man and the judge overruled the jury and sentenced him to die. But for the extraordinary intervention of the Alabama Resource Center in showing his innocence,he would have heen executed.

Last week I read an article in the newspaper about a man charged with murder, found guilty and sentenced to life in prison in 1997. The only evidence that linked him to the crime was a bloody fingerprint found on a fan. Now one would think, they don't need any other evidence because nobody has the same fingerprints. Well this defendant's lawyer disagreed with the three prosecutor expert witnesses,so he called one expert witness of his own, and his witness stated the prints do not match the defendant. He was found guilty. On the appeal the attorney asked a judge can he have the prints looked at by an F.B.I. analysis. The judge agreed. The F.B.I. found no match, so the judge ordered the defendant released on a Sl.00 bail. Now it came to light that the three so-called expert witnesses were not certified to analyze any test. These cops took the stand and claimed under oath and said they were certified analysts, but lied. The NAACP said that all cases involving these so-called experts should be reviewed, but the country said a review would not be done. So we'll never know how many others are in jail because of these so-called experts.

Over the years I have read and researched a lot of cases on law and most of the decisions are unbeleiveable. The judges handed down so much injustice and I've come to one conclusion that the system is just a gang just like any other gang. Politicians, Prosecutors, Judges & Police Officers, and we know gangs stick together and try to win battles at any cost. Whoever they are up against are the enemies and whoever is charged with a crime whether he/she be innocent or guilty. The idea of innocence is not an option nor is it the authorities concern. Their concern is a conviction because a conviction is a win. Many times evidence that's helpful to a defendant is misplaced or lost that's in the possession of the gang. When a prosecutor calls his homeboy (cop) as a witness you best believe that they went over the case numerous times to make sure the story fits the theory they put together. Thats why cops testimonies seem so perfect all the time, most are just professional liars on the witness stand. In Nebraska, they have a law which ensures that anyone knowingly testifying falsely in order to get someone convicted will be charged and sent to jail and what this did was cut down on perjured testimony, and tampering with evidence by the police & district attorneys. This is what they need all over the United States. Without it district attorneys and police get away with whatever and are not held accountable for their misdeeds & therefore have no problem doing what they feel to win a conviction. This happens over and over and continues to happen now.

The defendant that was freed because the fingerprints didn't match, his Father stated this, "no one said that they were sorry". They never do!!! Let's take a look at the card hand you are dealt, the death penalty resource for the poorest defendant are fully inadequate, the lawyers are underpaid and don't recieve money to hire investigators and specialists any affluent defendant would employ. It seems that the state is purposely running good lawyers away from taking "Pro-bono" cases, because of the lack of funds they get to put on a defense, and these good lawyers don't like half-stepping when it comes to defending a defendant. Then the state brings in what I call the puppet lawyers. The ones they can control and have very little experience in capital cases. Now if one recieved a bad eye injury he/she will not let a dermatologist work on the eye,regardless if he has a medical degree,but one would hire a specialist on eyes such as an optician who has the knowedge. Just like in the courts in death penalty cases one needs death qualified lawyers and not lawyers who's specialty are in family court matters. This is why so many lose their cases. In Alabama the legislature passed a bill for hiring better lawyers in death penalty cases,but governor Bob James vetoed the bill. Here in Pennsylvania, Harrisburg recently came up with $500,000 so the state attorney general's office can help district attorneys prosecute death penalty cases.

As far as race and the system, I believe that there is obviously racism constantly flowing throughout the system, but it's more then an issue of race thats involved here. More so is the justice for the poor and the justice for the rich is the greater issue. In my opinion racism will always exist in this here country and therefore will always play a part in the justice system. The justice system is politically motivated and therefore real justice which is equal justice is very rarely administered .

Let's look at some of the same types of cases and you decide which law is which:

1.a) A young man is arrested and charged with vehicular homicide. After he crashed his car into another, driving fast and killing a person. He was arrested at the crime. He was convicted and sentenced to 5-10 years in prison.
b) A woman hits a man while he was changing a tire,killing him. She stopped, looked at what she did, got back in her car and drove away. The next day she takes the car to an auto shop to have the damage repaired, but someone tipped the police,she was arrested & convicted and sentenced to 2-years work release and gets out in 6-months.

2. a) A young lady goes to her prom, then goes into the bathroom and gives brith to a full baby. She puts the baby in the trash bin and was found guilty and sentenced to 7-15 years in prison.
b) A young lady goes to a hotel with her boyfriend and gives brith to a full baby, then puts the baby into a plastic bag and puts it in a trash dumpster. She was found guilty and was sentenced to 3 years and got out in 18-months.

3. a) A homeless man goes into a bank, gives the teller a note, "I have a bomb. Put $50,000 into the bag". Once outside a dye pack explodes. He's caught minutes later(no bomb found) and he was sentenced to 5-I0 years in prison.
b) A man works for a trust fund. He sells $95,000,and was caught years later he was sentence to 4 years probation.

4. a) A man rapes a woman and is convicted and sentence to 6-12 years. (good)
b) A man moseless a little girl and is convicted and given 2-years probation. (bad law)

5. a) A man is charged with possession of drugs (50 grams of crack cocaine) he is found guilty and sentenced to 25-years in prison.
b) A man is charged with possession of drugs (5O kilos of cocaine) he is found guilty and sentenced to 5-years in prison.

6. a) A man is charged with murdering two people. Evidence of his DNA is found at the scene. Numerous witnesses testified against him, to tie him to the crime,he is found not guilty.
b) A man is charge with one murder,no weapon.DNA,found and no eye-witness at trial,he is found guilty and sentence to death. (Me)

A lot of the public contuine to be blind about the numbers of laws in this country. It's always been two laws, POOR-LAW (injustice) & RICH-LAW (justice).

But we all must remember, this is a country that kills its Presidents and its Civil Rights leaders, so why really expect different from a law that they KNOW is unjust toward an ordinary poor citizen.

Talib R.Douglas ( Pa. Death Row )


If you would like to send stamped envelopes to Talib to help him get his letters to me, or if you would like to send him or I any comments regarding our correspondence, please click here to email me.

The Death Penalty and Injustice Toward Minorities

by Robert Talib Douglas on Death Row in Pennsylvania.

First thing, Prison is no place for a person to be who can't handle pressure especially on death row, where it is a very tense atmosphere and very unpredictable. I'm just one of many who have felt the pain and experienced the injustice of being a minority in the belly of the system, (Death Row). I sit on death row after being convicted of first degree murder without a single witness at trial saying I had committed such an act (crime). The people who run the criminal court system are professionals in how to prove and make one guilty of a crime he/she faces (is charged with). It's called a smoke screen, you only see what they want the jury or judge to see, and hide and withold evidence that would prove one's innocence. On death row, some men have given up hope of being free (no-self esteem) at all. Myself ? I have self-realization of being free and home with my family.

One of the first of many questions a death row prisoner is asked, What is it like there? Well for one ,no one individual feels the same, because you are totally in a 6x8 foot cell isolated 23-24 hours a day, with the exceptions of... One hour yard five days a week in a cage that one would see at an SPCA where they keep animals, three fifteen minute showers a week, and if you sign up for law-clinic that's two hours. You can only recieve a one hour visit a week, not allowed any holiday or weekend visits (when family/friends are off work & children are out of school). Each time one leaves his cell, he is handcuffed from the back, except for visits, then one is handcuffed in the front attached to a belt around your waist. As for the officers (guards) there are just a couple with a human heart, but majority are biased, always trying to dehumanize a person. My method? Try not to allow them to rent space in my head and keep my focus on my objective (getting out).

Now for an insight on this unjust system towards minorities. The majority of the public don't know that the politicians have been using the death penalty to enchance their elections to office for years. Now the same strategy is being taken up by Judges & Prosecutors, regardless that they are entrusted by the law to persue justice with an even hand. Also the District Attorney's are entrusted with unviewable decision whether which case he/she should seek the death penalty, and run for office pleading to have more people executed.

A quick history lesson; From 1930 to 1967 of the 3,850 people send to their death 54% were African American and once again the majority of death row prisoners are African Americans. It was these conditions that lead to the Supreme court's invalidation of the death penalty in the 1970's. Now the same thing has arisen in the 1990's today : the rate African Americans were setenced to death was neary 40% higher that the rate of other eligible defendants. IS the 38 States with the death penalty laws, 794 prosectors were white, 56 were black, 22 were hispanic. IN the state I reside (Pennsylvania) according to a law professors and the statisticians who have examined cases between 1983 and 1993 for the Death Penalty Information Center, when all factors were equal, black defendants were sentenced to death at a rate of 42% higher than others. As of July 1998 there are 223 defendants on death row here in Pennsylvania;139 blacks, 71 whites, ll hispanic and 2 asians.

Nationally, politicans convince society that there is a need for the death penalty by flaunting the Jeffery Dahmers,John Wyane Gaceys and Ted Bundys. Now with the addition of child killer Jesse Timmondequa and Oklahoman bomber Timothy McVeigh, they are always spotlighting such high profile defendants, but label us all as psychopathic killers.

In Pennsylvania when the talks about the death penalty arise, the politicians feed the media who then feeds the public and spotlight the most high profile cases, such as Gary Hidnik, Harty Graham and Mumia Abu Jamal, but you never hear talk about the cases with very little circumstantial evidence. Once again their smoke screen (only get to see what they want you to see).

In Philadelphia alone, 95% of death row prisoners are minorities,and more than 65% are black. There was a time in Philadelphila when the state funded an Public Defender Program. The result of the prisoners having experienced & dedicated lawyers was "shocking". Death row prisoners were being aquitted or given lesser sentences. The politicans who ran for office saw what was happening an took away funding for the program to win office and then brought in death penalty juries, the ones who favor the death penalty. Then 85% of defendants that were eligible were sentenced to death.

Our society needs to realize and understand that the only ones who benefit from execution are the politicans, putting a person to death does not deter crime (never did, never will). It's used as a stepping stone to boost their careers and move up the political ladder. They continue to blind the public of the injustices done unto minorities and why so many blacks are the ones on death row.

Lets examine some key points: Now 90% of death penalty cases against blacks and minorities are lost from the start,because of the inexperienced lawyers they recieve. Only top District Attorneys with at least 10-12 years of experience prosecute death penalty cases. The majority of minorities facing these charges have little to no income and cannot afford a good lawyer, so one is given, free of charge. Yeah. One that may be fresh out of law school for a year or two and other lawyers who may have never handled a death penalty case in there entire short career. A lawyer who works for the Center for Legal Education Advocacy & Defense Assistance spoke of this last year; "I have handled cases where the lawyer who is appointed as guardian of a defendant's life is someone who has been out of law school 15 months." Also, I have seen a case in which the appointed lawyer was a divorce lawyer who had never handled a homicide case. She had done court appointed family matters and if she did not accept the death penalty case, she was going to lose her livelihood and not be able to contuine taking cases for which she is qualified for. What kind of sentence did her client recieve ? I don't have to tell you. You know (Death). I myself had a lawyer on one of my appeal stages. After he filed my brief, I recieved a letter from him stating that he had never filed or handled a death penalty case before, and you know the result of the appeal? (I'm sitting here!!).

Some of the men here are first time offenders who committed their crimes while high on drugs or alcohol and not in their right state of mind, but the prosecutor seems to get the public to believe that all people on death row are there because they deserve to die. Well if one believes in the death penalty, one must also believe in justice. No one can make this kind of statement unless one has absolute assurance that the defendant had a fair trial. It's part of the constitution. So ask yourself this question: is it fair for the defendant to be assigned a lawyer with very little experience or none at all in a death penalty case and have to go up against a prosecutor who has 10-12 years of experience in captial murder cases?

When the pubic is not aware, then they start cutting corners and it doesn't matter who the defendant is,as long as he's a poor one. Prosecutors are prone to cheat,they wine and dine witnesses, purchase them things at times to win their trust, imply bad things in their heads concerning the defendant and why he is guilty and should be convicted of the crime he's charge with. Then, during trial is able to coerce them to say and agree with everything to help them obtain their conviction. Also, they (prosecutors) like to go into prisons and get inmates to lie and say that the defendant told them about the crime he committed. The inmate would say under oath in front of the judge or jury that he wasn't promised anything for his testimony or recieved any compensation. So, a question that might come to mind, why would an inmate come out the blue sky & become a witness and put his own life in jeopardy while still in jail? But you must remember that these people you are dealing with are professionals and have ways of compensating an inmate for his testimony. Example: once a prisoner testified against another inmate, he then is tranfered to a better jail for their safety, then is told to file a reconsideration petition to their judge who knows ahead of time that its coming, by the prosecutor informing him of the help he recieved to get a murder conviction (note: at times they may use this in other cases,) then the inmate gets early parole for a reason no one knows and 97% when seeking help from inmates believe me they are murder cases.

Its in a discussion in the higher courts at this time, about prosecutors that are using jail house snitches to help them win a conviction. Then they're the judges that take sides with the prosecutors. I just read in the papers the other day, how there was a delay in a trial beccause of a missing witness (police officer). The judge stopped the trial and told his clerk to find out where the witness was and I'll go get him. And yes, the judge left the courtroom, got into his personal car and went and picked up the witness and brought him to trial. What was the outcome for the defendant? Guilty!!

Then there are the juries who are biased (will talk on that a little later). One Philadelphila police officer, a 12-15 year vet, named Jack Baird who was arrested for corruption along with other officers and stated in Federal Court; routinely police officers lie under oath and fabricate evidence, especially against blacks, now remember this a person who took an oath to uphold the law.

Now for juries. The top district attorney, Lyann Abraham, was running for re-election against a former district attorney, Jack McMahon, who became a defense attorney. What enabled Abraham to win the election is she brought out a viedo tape that McMahon had made while working under her,showing young prosecutors how to pick a jury that will convict. Now this tape was some 10-12 years old,some of the things that were said on the tape; "Keep certain blacks off juries, especially young black females from low-income areas off murder cases, like the ones from around 33rd & Diamond because they "STINK". You don't want smart people they will try to analyze the hell out of the case. They have higher standards. They will take the word reasonable doubt and will actually try to think about it. You really don't want teachers or social workers.But maybe a white teacher who works at a black school, she may be tired & sick of these guys, but its bad luck with teachers, social workers and doctors" Without them is the only way that you can get an unfair jury that will convict. The prosecutor aims not to get a fair, impartial jury, but only one that will convict.

Even Abraham showed her bais once when she was a judge presiding over a murder case involving nine defendants. 1 black & 8 hispanics. The victim was white. She told the defendant's family & friends who wore ribbons to show support for their loved ones, to remove the ribbons because she (Abraham) didn't want any voodoo in her court room. One of her clerks told her during jury selection, an ideal jury consists of 12-Archie Bunkers (this was a old TV show back in the eary 70's of a white man who didn't like blacks or hispanics). Now with this kind of biased people running the system, how can a minority recieve a fair trial? When the playing field is so uneven from the start?

Now here are some quotes from judges and politicans around the state.

"Well I will go along with that as long as you allow me after the sentence to reach down my left leg and come up with my pistol and shoot the defendant right between the eyes" - Florida Judge Richard Stanley

Another one tells the defendant, "I'm only doing God's work to see that you are put to death." - Texas Judge, William Harmon

Now again, with this kind of climate it is extremely difficult for a person who may be well innocent to obtain a fair trial. As I stated before they only show one side of things, you don't get to hear stories like the 28 men who serve a total of 197 years on death row before establishing their innocence. A state representative had this to say about that, "If an innocent person was put to death, thats fine and dandy with me. I'11 take the percentage" - Rep-Leslie Johnson of Arizona.

There is another story about an inmate who stayed on death row for 12 years and six hours before he was to be put to death, he was given a stay, which lead to a new trial and then personal freedom. The sad fact about cases like these, is that most prosecutors know from the start that the person is innocent and almost put to his death, but the prosecutor continues their zealous ways of proving other innocent people guilty by any means and will never admit that they almost put a innocent person to death. They are just concerned with moving up the political ladder. These days some lawyers are just as bad. Some don't really care if a defendant lives or dies, it's all about the money.

I had a lawyer assigned to my case for over 3 years. During that time I had written him over 20 letters, leaving messages at his office by phone, but still this lawyer never answered one of my pleads. But these are the type of court appointed lawyers we are assigned 90% of the times. Next thing this lawyer files your appeal without your knowledge, until you recieve a letter from the Courts that your appeal was turned down. Now ask your self this, Is it right for a lawyer to file an appeal on that person's behalf without communication with the most important person at trial, the defendant? This causes issues to be overlooked and years to get another court to hear them.

There's an investigation going on against a Resource Center in Florida that handles death penalty cases. One lawyer exposed how they have a betting pool set up on who lives or who dies. Their job is to defend, not to gamble on that person's life.

So you see? Nothing is fair towards minorities in this system. It's about who has the money and power. I'm often asked, "What keeps me strong?" Number one is my faith in "ALLAH" (GOD), then I have my son & daughter, along with my family, children who energize me through letters and talking to them on the phone. But, the must important people, I have to say are my sister (Rita) and my brother (Ron) they've always been there for me, they encourage me to always look for the light at the end of the tunnel, but not to stand back and look at it, but be a part of it, of the uncertain brightness, and that the uncertainties which will give me the incentive to go deeper & deeper until I reach that Light (freedom).

There are others who came into my life by letters. They have become family to me,they all help me to maintain balance and stay positive and look forward to that brighter day, and with all this put into one and "ALLAH'S" Blessing, I vindicate myself not just off death row, but out of jail. While I'm here, I spend time helping the other brothers. I find that some are innocent and that most shouldn't have recieved the death penalty from the start. Their cases didn't meet the criteria, but in the eyes of the politicians they do. They're poor & expendable.

People like Thurgood Harshall, Hartin Luther King III, Justice William Breman and Harvey Blackman would probably never be appointed to any Federal Court. Why? Because they hold the minorities' point of view of the injustice that's being done to them. But then again still the politicans will continue to convince society that it's fair!!!!

by Robert Talib Douglas (Graterford death row prisoner)


If you would like to send stamped envelopes to Talib to help him get his letters to me, or if you would like to send him or I any comments regarding our correspondence, please click here to email me.

Robert Talib Douglas

Dec. 25th, 2005

First, I'd like to thank you for taking time out of your life to write to me. Secondly, consider this as a blessing. I'm one who has great insight of prison life in general population and on death row.

I have written many stories (essays), about my life, prison life, the system and some world problems.

What I write is real (truthful), I'm not into con-games, but into touching people's hearts so they cannot just read what happened to me, but feel what happened to me. Now at times, it might be a delay in recieving mail from me, I'm working with a $15.12 to $15.84 per month pay which I recieve (Idle-pay).

Now, I have a booklet titled, "Blind Justice" which consists of 41 pages and over 35 exhibits (showing and proving the truth of matters). The booklet will give a deep insight of all the foul tactics that was used to convict me of two crimes, robbery and murder. I know you have heard many stories of people saying they are innocent in, please believe, there are many innocent people in prison, who become expendable to help enhance careers (judges, prosecutors). I'm living that now. Here's an article to start you off, "The Death Penalty and Injustice Toward Minorities".

Peace be unto you,


If you would like to send stamped envelopes to Talib to help him get his letters to me, or if you would like to send him or I any comments regarding our correspondence, please click here to email me.