I am beginning to feel the squeeze. Florida is scaring me. They have a blood lust almost on the scale of Texas and California. Not only do they seek to execute but execute quickly and I almost wonder if it is because they are afraid someone will catch a mistake.
They scare me now more so than ever before. I have felt scared for Tiffany Cole on Florida death row. I had a long standing friendship with Tiffany Cole for many years. While this girl is anything but innocent, she doesn’t deserve to die. She was another instance of little girl lost, as Dawn Schiller (the infamous porn star John Holmes’s teen concubine) has said – a throw away teen. Those girls always find themselves mixed up in some terrible situation because no one ever taught them how to stay out of one.
Tiffany and the state of Florida have been in a long, bloody battle of appeals for many years now. Tiffany has a crazy, erratic Aunt who threatened me and ranted about incoherent nonsense on a pretty regular basis. She began to stalk me and harass me on social networks. I have since ended my relationship with Tiffany but still worry about her.
While Tiffany is special to me and I don’t believe she should die for her crimes, it isn’t her that concerns me most in Florida.
My biggest fear is that Florida will execute Dane Abdool. The Timely Justice Act has me scared shitless.
The Timely Justice Act is designed to significantly expedite executions by statutorily mandating the Florida governor sign “death warrants” on every death sentenced prisoner who has completed his/her first round of state and federal appeals within 30 days. Under this new law at least 125 Florida death row prisoners, including Dane and Tiffany, become immediately “death warrant eligible” as of July 1, 2013, with all 125+ executions to be scheduled within 6 months.
The Florida Supreme Court took a lovely little summer vacation while my stomach knotted up and I developed a chronic nervous cramp in my gut.
Dane’s appeal I wrote about this summer, when he was being shuffled all over the state, was an appeal of the Timely Justice Act, which for all intents and purposes, is unconstitutional. The actual challenge to the act can be found here. http://www.docstoc.com/docs/159604367/Challenge-to-Timely-Justice-Act
Dane and I became friends almost 4 years ago when we began correspondence about newsletters and penpal programs. I helped him find the things he needed and we began to get to know each other. Most often, when I receive inmate mail, it is in request for something vital.
I try my best to get these people what they need. Sometimes it’s a book or toiletries, sometimes they ask for help for their family on the outside or for a penpal. More often than not, I don’t hear from them again until a new need arises. Albeit this is the nature of my work, it is required because of the sheer amount of mail.
Every now and again, something special will happen. A spark ignites, a connection is made and a friendship happens. Throughout the years of work as an inmate liaison, I have only experienced this a few times. Dane is one of those cases.
Dane’s case called to me from the very beginning. I was in shock that he was convicted at all, much less at such a young age. I saw, at first glance, a scared little boy. He shouldn’t be there. What happened was never meant to happen. It was all a terrible, careless, waste of two young lives.
Over these years I have grown closer to Dane than many people I see every day. He has shared his life with me and I with him. I know in my heart that he is no ruthless killer but only an exhibition in the devastation of reckless youth.
This man has so much left to give the world, if even from behind bars. There is so much he can provide to make up for the pain and suffering he has caused. I know this because Dane has helped me see inside myself at some very difficult times in my life. He’s helped me find strength and perseverance when I had none.
So, still I wait. Wait for Florida to say they can kill this beautiful soul for killing another. It would be laughable if it weren’t so tragic.