Sunday, November 29, 2009

Phoning It In

November 29th, 2009

Forgive me, but I have been in a down place lately. Nothing that I will bore you all with, because God knows there is enough whining going on in Digital Land, and I’ve already added my fair share. I’ve also been extremely busy with some recent developments in my case and this always seems to take the wind out of my sails. There is a sort of totem pole of responsibilities that I try to honor, and this site has slipped down the ranks to a pretty lowly, third-rate God status. I recently mentioned that I haven’t felt like writing lately to a friend of mine who also blogs, and he cautioned me that studies show that people who allow more than two weeks to pass between weblog updates lose 75% of their readership. My first thought upon hearing this was: people actually study this crap? My second was: I care less and less about that than I did a year ago. Probably a lot of reasons for that, but I am far too tired to develop those. So, sorry in advance for the crapulence you are about to read. Your time would probably be better spend on YouTube watching….I don’t know, kittens dressed up as cupcakes, or something. Just in case my friend and these undoubtedly bored scientists are correct, however, here are some random bits of data you might find interesting. Again, sorry. My muses have abandoned me.


“Do you not know, my son, with what little understanding the world is rules?”
Pope Julius III

It turns out that I was wrong about Cameron Todd Willingham. Not about his innocence. Of that, the evidence and the science continues to pile up, despite the pathetically transparent attempts of the Perry administration to claim otherwise. I was wrong about thinking that people would actually care. I know, I know, who could possibly give a rats ass about an elected official hushing up an illegitimate state-sanctioned killing? I would imagine that if Governor Perfect Hair had gotten caught with his Argentine mistress, people would be calling for his head. Somehow, in the cretinous reaches of Conservative Hell, it has been decided that God hates a little extramarital hanky-panky more than he hates pumping a few dollars worth of poison into the veins of a man whose worst sin appears to have been a liking for heavy metal music. Makes sense to me!

You can’t make people care. I get it. Life is not sacred. Not anymore, and there is no forgiveness. No personal growth. Not anymore. Forgive me for missing the memo.

I get it: no one is listening. Fine. My goals do not depend on reader feedback, fortunately. They are buttressed by internal convictions, so at the risk of belaboring the obvious, I am going to continue to beat the war drum on this Willingham stuff for a little longer.

Recently, Perry made the comment that even Willingham’s own lawyer “called him a monster,” as if the opinion of DEFENSE attorney meant anything to him. If there is anything that Perry believes, it is that defense attorneys are liberal hacks, corrupting his chances of “responsible tort reform.” If I were not so f-ing angry, I might be amused at how he flounders about these days.

What Perry knows full well, and what every attorney who has ever breathed knows, is that once the trial is over in a capital case, the former defense counsel converts into the states star witness. The reasons for this are tragically mundane, and you will be forgiven for thinking that I simplified my argument to save time. I will not.

Once the appellate attorneys show up, the game has changed. You are no longer a person, merely a number, a pre-corpse. Even the decent guards (and there are a few of these, despite my cynicism…forgive me ye noble few) have the tendency to see you as something slightly less than human. Your key to survival is in proving that the errors that occurred in your case were so grievous that you are worthy of a new trial. A key point: there has never been, and never will be, such a thing as a perfect trial. This is not a liberal or conservative statement. It is a widely accepted truth within the legal community. I am fairly confident that nearly everyone reading this knows at least one attorney. Ask him/her of you do not believe me. One of the more common issues that appellate attorneys attempt to develop is that the trial attorney screwed up. If they committed enough errors, they are deemed to have been “ineffective.” This is a scarlet letter for capital defense attorneys. It is to be as avoided as the flames of the auto-de-fe once were. There are plenty of ways in which lawyers screw up, and just as many ways that they attempt to slither from the responsibility of a bad verdict.

You can see this exhibited in my own case. If an attorney can show that his horrible decisions were part of a “trial strategy,” he’s usually off the hook. Another truth of the legal world: your crime gets you arrested; your lawyer gets your sentence. For more on this, see this weblog.

Why is the ineffective title such a big deal? Why, money, of course. We are dealing with attorneys, remember? How could it be anything else? If an attorney is labeled ineffective, Texas law states that they can no longer act as first chair in capital cases. This effectively means that they lose out on the immense fees that they have become accustomed to. Capital defense is rarified air. Most attorneys wont touch these cases. Those that do, however, are top-gun types who are quite well remunerated for their efforts. Thus, instead of making six and seven figure paydays, these lawyers must now lower themselves to taking on more mundane cases. This is a huge slam on their egos, as the entire legal community in the state becomes aware of their failings. I have found that my trial attorney has put far more effort into defending his “strategy” in my trial than he did into actually defending me. That is not abnormal: that is Justice on the Lone Star State.

And so we come to David Martin. He was Willingham’s “lawyer.” And his comments of Willingham being a monster were a pathetically self-serving attempt to distance himself from the moral and tactical failure of having allowed an innocent man to be executed. You can see an interview this “lawyer” did with Anderson Cooper here. This quack seems to be an interested in actual justice as Lord Byron was in marriage counseling. A complete and total ignoranus. (Get it? A person who is both stupid and an asshole. Sigh. Like I said, it’s been a long few weeks.)

In this case, the truth seems to keep escaping us all. Forgive me for harping on this, but whenever the truth does evade us on whatever matter, we have no one to blame but ourselves. We are always willing accomplices to its flight. Well, I will not participate in allowing this mans memory to be buried. To that end, I will conclude this with the opinions of a few people who you really need to listen to.

Gamso for the Defense

Defending People

Rants of a Public Defender/Preaching to the Choir


A few of you appear to have enjoyed reading my writ of habeas corpus (or, at least you pretended to be interested…thanks for that), so I thought I would file periodic case updates. To summarize, my direct appeal has been rejected. We filed my writ in April of this year. Recently, that state has responses to my writ, and as stated earlier, my trial attorney is their star witness. He threw me under the bus with expected aplomb, even going to far as to call me a “manipulative psychopath,” something that now even the ADA has uttered. (Big difference between a sociopath and psychopath, in case you cared.) Fred Felcman also got his say in, though his affidavit clearly contradicts several of my own. In order to resolve these contradictions, we have filed a motion in Judge Vaceks court for an evidentiary hearing. Here is a copy of this motion, which states in more detail the reasons for having a hearing. In addition, you can read a supplemental affidavit that my Dad has put forward here, in response to some of Randy McDonalds claims.

© Copyright 2009 by Thomas Bartlett Whitaker.
All rights reserved.


Lisa said...

Thomas, siento que se ha estado últimamente en un lugar hacia abajo. Pero es tan grande escuchar que estás haciendo bien. Sé que no es de esta época del año la forma más fácil de veces para obtener a través de. Pero sé que no está sola y siempre Recuerde siempre te sientes hacia abajo; hay alguien que cuida acerca de usted mucho. Permanecer fuerte y caja fuerte.

trinnean said...

i'm listening.

i think your birthday is tomorrow? happy birthday. :) i hope you find more than a few reasons to smile, and that 2010 is a better year to you.


Anonymous said...

Your blogs can be very interesting and informative at times. I feel for you and your dad. Unfortunately, sin has a way of proving destructive for ALL involved, not just the guilty party. And of course, when we play in the devil's hands, his lordship (temporary as it may be) wreaks havoc all around.

I do hope that you're spared the death penalty but I also hope you put it all in the hands of the true Lord, Jesus Christ. This doesn't mean being inactive, just that you're trusting His ultimate lordship in the process. In return, you get His bring "life" instead of "whining" as you put it, and your life becomes fruitful, in and out of and out of this life. Hope this doesn't sound judgmental or anything. It's just something I've observed in reading your writings.

God is all about our heart issues. What is your heart issue with Him? Is it true? Then no prison doors can tame it. Have you ever read any of Richard Wurmbrand's writings? He was in prison for a number of years and in solitary confinement for a few....being beaten many times. His insights were out of this "world". You're in a similar position. You've stated things that the average person cannot comprehend. But in the end, what are we looking for....really looking for? Is it our glory or His....our life or His? We all fall so very short, but our spiritual eyesight has to be clear in this one area. Think about it. Thanks for your patience in reading.

Tracey said...

Sad to say that Judge Vacek rejected Thomas' motion for an evidentiary hearing. Then again 2010 is an election year in Texas and we all know what is means to be a Republican in a deeply Republican district.

The hearing was to determine the truth as to whether the ADA was a liar. It seems the truth doesn't matter much anymore and no one seems interested in finding out out the truth in Texas. Not just in Thomas' case but in many other cases as well (Todd Willingham ring a bell?)