You know what is so awesome to see early in the morning? A sunrise; but not just an ordinary sunrise...one that actually accentuates the curvature of the earth...
I was looking out my window, the sky a warm orange and violet color...it kind of looked like sherbet ice cream. Well, there are clouds in the distance and the way they loated across the sky and the horizon you could actually see a bowl shaped effect.
Anywas, lots on my mind today but it is all a bit disjointed and it is getting a bit warm in the cell so I'm distracted...
Okay...first things first. I have a new attorney. I've been without one for a few months now, because my previous attorney left my case to accept a prosecution job in Tarrant County, Texas...
Which brought to my mind this question:
When I was trying to have him removed why did he fight me on it and save me time and himself time, by just removing himself? I mean, he had to have known that there was going to be a job offer if whoever was running for D.A. won? Or maybe he was just waiting to see what happened at elections time. Well, during this process I was on the hunt for a new one and some of my friends,. whom I can't thank enough, really helped. In the end, the Courts ended up appointing someone.
This appointment stirred up some alarm that I want to address and this really applies to anyone that writes someone on death row or is even going through any kind of appeals process... Good or bad attorney...the system is set up
in a way that the odds are against anyone going through that process. It is just a simple fact. However, support can go a long ways. I'll get to that in a bit.
It is easy to be alarmist or reactionary. Especially if you care about someone. Because an inmate or particular person has such a limited ammount of knowledge at their hands we don't always know what needs or should be done...
So, if an inmate hears that another guy on death row got some 'action' as we call it, on their case, it is easy to fool yourself into believing that that same 'issue' might apply to them. It is rarely the case, however. Guys then get
upset when they tell their attorney " I want you to file this or that, or do this or that..." and when the attorney doesn't they get all upset, but the fact of the matter is
WE AREN`T AND WILL NEVER BE SMARTER THAN OUR OWN ATTORNEYS.
We might be think we know things, we might even get some good advice from other inmates fighting their way through the process, but the simple truth is 99.9 percent of the time we don't know jack. All cases aren't the same and all appeal issues aren't appliled the same. So, it is kind of unfair to say that an attorney is 'trash' with that kind of ignorance. there are always exceptions, but there are attorneys-
How do you prevent a 'bad' attorney from getting away with not doing his job? By being proactive and involved. Show him that his client has LOTS of support and people who care about them. let him know he's being watched and doing what he's doing. Having the inmate be involved and active in his own case
by both writing the attorney and judge often. Telling the client not to be abbrasive or an asshole.
Who wants to work for an asshole? Who wants to be in communication with an asshole?
Uhhh. No one, is who. See, some of the guys back here who say " Oh, I've got a bullshit attorney" are very abbrasive and unsavory. I don't say that as a judgement, but just as an observation so I tend to take what they say with a grain of salt. I tend to discard someones statement about-
Not to say that doesn't mean you shouldn't be cautious, but definitely wait and see what the battle field looks like first. Another thing that kind of irritates me is when people say " Oh, he wasn't a good attorney because so and so was killed-
But hey, you guys elect (or don´t vote) the people/administrations that appoint these folks.
In texas the cold hard truth is that almost everyone dies.
How do you change that? What do you do?
It is all I ask for. Let me prove all the naysayers wrong by showing my worth.
.I read something interesting a couple of weeks ago and I wanted to do a long piece on it, but I think it would serve you, the reader, a better service by having you go look it up yourself and pass it on to every person you know for or against the death penalty. I have no idea how the Internet works, but you can find
" Killing Kelly: An open letter to Georgia's Christian citizens at baptistnews.com
I've read few arguements greater than this one against the death penalty. You could literally apply it to anyone on death row.Christian or not.
Man, it's getting quite warm in here...The sun is out, the cell is heating up. I'll have to turn on my fan which means it is time to shut my trap and stop here...
Another beautiful day and it is only 9:05 A.M. as I write this.
I'll be going outside, though, third round so I'll be getting some great sun
as well! I will run today. Actually, if I can talk my neighbor into playing some basketball I'd much rather do that, but definitely going to get back into the groove of exercise.
I've had over a week off so it is time to do something.
I still have no attorney so I've been writing various law firms/offices etc. and one of them were my old attorneys.
I received a letter from them this morning and said they'd contact the courts and see if they couldn't get them to speed things up...I was like, " Hey! I'm looking for an attornye, yes.
But I don't want to speed the process up! I'm in no rush so long as the Judge is in no rush!"
Geeze... We'll see what happens, though. I really want some positive things to happen.
Lock down is over! Woohoo.
I was kind of surprised because it is a saturday and they were setting up recreation early this morning.
We had heard two rumors; that we were looking at another week because general population
or that we would come off of it on monday morning. Both rumors were wrong. But the great thing?
The torrential rains have stopped and the sun was out in full effect.
I was set up for recreation inside for third round but I had noticed that no one was going outside.
I think they put three people out total. The sun was calling my name and I was thinking,
" I do need to get some things taken care of in the day room, but I also told myself I would take full advantage of outsdie this year and get sun..." Outside won.
I asked a guard if I could go out third round and she was like, " Sure!" Very nice of her.
I enjoyed every moment. It felt amazing. About 75 degrees and perfect. Loved it.
I was going to jog because I haven't in a week, but honestly?
I just laid on the concrete like a seal on rocks and soaked up the sun.
It is going to take a lot more than some spring sun to bring color to my skin, but hey-
I was sitting in the dark last night. I turned off my radio and just sat there quietly, thinking about all of the things I wrote about...
I don't think I've ever really gone into as much detail as I did and there's one thing that bothered me, because there's a word that was used a lot during my trial and even some hearings that happened years later.
Minimize. Like, " Halprin is just trying to minimize his role in things..."
that I'm blame shifting or not accepting responsibility for my actions. And I suppose things could be interpreted that way by some, but how can you minimize the truth? Honestly, I think out of all of my co-
I MUST be held responsibile for some, but murder is not one them. Again, it is difficult to wrap my head around the fact that even after all of the truths to come out of the night,from the facts and even co-
"Hey, Randy didn't kill anyone..."
I still face the "ultimate" Punishment.
At times I feel like there's hope; that somehow I'll get through all of this. That live to see another day.
I think about all of the things I WANT to live for...Some selfishly and material: Like seeing to the end of the comic The Walking Dead or Alex Ada -
I do get angry at times...Angry at myself, angry at life. I'm not a person who openly expresses that anger and even when all seems calm and peaceful on the exterior, there can be storms on the interior. I tend to internalize things, put a cork on it and just deal with it in my own way. Hence, this journal acts like a pressure valve for me at times. But I do get angry.
I get angry about injustices in this world. I get angry at the people who poke and prod my brother because of his mental illness. I get angry because wasn't there in his life when he needed me most. I get angry at my own in securities and faults and how, at times I feel so little control over my impulsiveness.
I get angry at my own stupidities and poor choices. I get angry that life isn't always fair and I have little control over some people's perception of who they think I am.
With those same things that I get angry about, I am also grateful for so much more and I try to express my own gratefulness often. Some things in life we just can't control. I don't know what I feel about fate and God and all of that; whether things happen for reasons or not...Times I feel that they do and times I just wonder if it isn't all happenstance...I guess it is one of the great existential questions...When I was a kid I believed blindly. There was something about going to temple that was calming and peaceful. When my
dad didn't feel like going to Shabbos services on friday night I would sometimes beg and plead to go. I would pray and ask for God to show me the purpose of life-
at school in Kentucky and there was so much crap going on in my life...for a teen it felt like the end of the world for me. If it could go wrong, it did. So, I was back at school, fall semester-
a summer suspension because the school had felt that previous summer I was " Suicidal " and so I spent the summer and early fall living on my own
The schools 'Year Book Pageant' was coming up and my girl friend at the
time was elected to be a part of it, so I threw myself into the process completely. I was excited if not nervous as hell!) but also sad because I wouldn't be able to spend the celebrations with her because her parents were coming down as well and they cut me off due to events earlier that year.
They didn't approve of me and so I would have to step to the side. I was at odds with my own parents and so the feeling of being excluded was only magnified.
I spent the day practicing with my girlfriend and setting up the stage. There was a point when I left to go get ready and I stopped at these two big boulders that over looked the schools ttack and field. The sun was setting and dipping behind a hill and it was a beautiful sight. I lost it and started crying.
I prayed and just prayed asking God to allow me this night and experience with my girlfriend. I wanted it so badly. I remember going back to the chapel where the pageant was being held and doing some last minute cleaning up and to say goodbye to my girlfriend before it started and then I would have to run across the campus to get dressed.I was vacuuming the floor and my girl friend came out.
Her parents were with her and so I gave her a hug and kiss real quick and was about to get out of Dodge. As I was leaving, her mother called out to me and she said she wanted to talk to me. I was nervous but went up to her and she said she forgave me and wanted to start over on a clean slate. I lost it!
I was crying, and then she started crying and then my girl friend started to cry...We hugged and I said, " I'm sorry. I really am!"
and then I had to leave to get dressed, but I ran out full of happiness and for a brief moment I thought maybe the downward spiral that my life had been taking was about to stop. Things would turn around...
Of course they didn't and not long after that I continued to fuck up. I look back at that particular moment and wonder was that really " God " or just coincidence? I don't know. But shit, I don't know a lot about life almost
19 years later.
Religions often talk about a " plan " for us as if we're just one sprocket
in a larger mechanism that makes this universe go around. We're all connected in some way, each individual life having its own particular value, each life affecting another. I do see truth in this part, maybe not the whole plan thing
in the context of religion or God, but definitely believing we're all connected. That each person affects another. Kind of like in the book The Five People
You Meet In Heaven. I wonder, then, what is my value? If maybe, what is my plan? If I'm a sprocket does my clock keep turning
I'm fairly confident the bible is made up. There might be some small historical value to it, but people tell stories and we use stories to best explain the world the way we think it works. I once listened to a program and a scientist who studies language said " We are the stories that we tell." I can agree
with that. Stories push us forward. I can't prove whether God exists or doesn't exist. All I can do is take the lessons I've learned from my life and my life's own story and try to push forward, a better human being.
But I do wonder...I wonder about everything. I have a curious and inquisitive mind and it bugs me to nth degree that I don't have anymore answers than I did a decade ago.
But back to sitting in the dark last night...thinking about everything. I prayed. Whats to lose?
Another day on lock-
I don't have:'.raid rage, I swear!" Suuuuure.
So, I haven't been in the greatest mood today and had very little sleep last night. I had recieved a copy of the State's response to the Federal Appeal that was filed by my previous attorney. I´m still currently attorney-
pulled out a single time during that robbery. Infect, at some point it even fell down the leg of my pants. There was just no way it could've been used.
I was never anywhere near any of the employees of the store. Just never was. Though, some of them mistakenly testified that they saw me, which is just not possible. Even if, they wouldn't have been able to identify me because
I was disguised. When Rivas pulled the car up to the back of the store I was the first outside. I remember him telling me to load up the car with the bbags. Shortly after is when the police car pulled in behind our car, a white ford Explorer. It was THISCLOSE to us. Rivas said, " Stay right here."
To me. I stayed put. I remember him going for what I thought was his security badge, as he was dressed up like a store security type figure and then the next thing I know there were gun shots. Then, gun shots erupted from everywhere. All that was in my head was GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE! and I took off running.
I had to run between the two vehicles and in the process got shot somehow. I made it onto some grassy type embankment when the Ford Explorer pulled up beside me and the guys in the car were yelling " Get in! Get In!"
I jumped into the front seat, passenger side where Newbury was sitting. He then shot out the window for some reason. This is exactly what happened. Period.
Later that evening back at the motel I was in the bathtub washing my foot and removing bone fragments. Newbury came in and said, " What the fuck is wrong with you?"
" I got shot, " I replied. " Well, you shot Rivas, also."
" That is impossible."
" No it's not. You shot him and you shot yourself."
" I never used the gun! I never pulled my gun out. Find it and you'll see. It is in a bag somewhere."
" We'll see..."
I was in shock over everything and now I was being accused of shooting myself and Rivas?
They found the gun and lo and behold and it was NEVER FIRED. All of the bullets remained.
I tell this part of the incident for this reason...The Attorney General is now arguing that I was a shooter because while ballistics show that only five guns were fired, some bullet fragments were untestable and therefor meant that there could've been a -
I ran by that side. Well, there was only one way two run! The back dock of the store was basically a loading ramp for trucks. And because the cars were so close I could only run between them and along that side. Everyone was on that side of the vehicle! Just because I say I ran that way-
the other guys because they would spend all of their money on gear; bullets, weapons, etc. and I'd buy movies and CD's...MOVIES AND CD'S!
They would say, " Whatever happens if we get in a shoot out Randy? You gonna throw CD's at them?"
I'll be clear here...I've never been an anti-
I don't want to be EXECUTED for something that I didn't do or even want to happen.
Other examples they used of my 'intent' was a note I left behind during the escape. This stupid note has been afreaking thorn in my side, but not because of its content, but because ONE SINGLE LINE of that note has constantly been taken out of context. I can't remember the exact note as it has been years -
pull off a successful escape then there's no reason that prisoners as awhole shouldn't be able to get together and make a change for better conditions.
I was talking about the corruption of the institution as a whole and Larry and I had planned on writing an expose and manifesto for prison reform after the escape. THIS is what I was refering to when I wrote " Believe me, you haven't heard the last of us. " It wasn't a threat. What kind of idiot is about to escape and taunt the authorites like " Hey, we' re trying to escape and lay low, but you know, we're gonna tear some shit up out there-
They used the actual escape and the fact that some of the guards were injured during the initial take over of the maintenance department on the Connally Unit. This is true, but again, I had NO part in this. My only duty was to
be a look out. Make sure no one came out of the blue and derailed the escape. When Michael Rodriguez hit one of the maintenance workers on the head with some kind of metal spout I yelled, " What the fuck are you doing!?" Ran to where a first aid kit was and helped bandaged his head. Another worker,
Mark Burgess testified that I made threats to him and said " You think I like you but I hate your fucking guts" and then when he complained that the handcuffs were on too tightly I said, " I was on a Bus for ten hours like this. Now you know what it feels like. " Well, guess what? Never happened with me and it is quite possible he had mistaken Larry Harper for me, as guards would mistake Harper and Halprin (and people still do to this day, just listen to Execution Watch on the night of February 4th for Newburys execution on . The hosts of the show repeatedly confuse me with Harper) all of this time.
Larry, however was on a bus for over 10 hours because he was from El Paso, Texas. And Larry couldn´t stand Burgess. But the larger fact is that I was talking to Worker Gilley in the work shop at the time Burgess was taken down. My point is, I never hurt anyone.
Then of course, the use my initial offence on Incury to a child as further examples of my character and history of violence...I´ve written about this topic before and in a vignette I titled " Tulmutuos". It is by far the thing I am most ashamed of in my life and the one thing I will never be able to forgive myself for. I was on LSD and snapped. There are many factors that lead to that night, but the fact remains that it happened and being remorseful for it doesn't even begin to describe the shame I feel. But this is what bothers me the most about this all with how it is being presented now and by the A.G.'s office...they've made up other injuries that I didn't do and were proven by doctors to not be the case. For example: saying I burned the child with cigarettes. Absolutely not true. Anyone who knows me knows I've never smoke in my life and can't stand cigarettes. I didn't even like smoking weed. I thought it was nasty and I don't like the feeling of not being able to breathe. A doctor in my trial testified that it was cold sores and not
the other way around and yet the State still pushes this and puts it in things like the appeals process, in my opinion to prejudice the Judge further against me. I've always been honest in my writings and through out this process and yes, I hurt a child. I hate myself for this, but anyone who knows me also knows that was an eighteen year old version of myself that was wacked out of his head and imploded because of all of the shit going on his life at the time. It is the ONLY time I had ever been violent in my life. Other than being in fights defend myself or people I loved that is it. I live with my mistakes on a daily basis. I don't need the state or anyone else making up shit to
make me look like even more of the monster I know that I'm not.
One other fact about the Shooting that I left out...My co-
all ( well, except for one who has made no statements at all-
There was a document produced by the state and the Texas Rangers (yes, they are a real police organization and not just a show with Chuck Norris in it) It was a ranking document that had the most dangerous to least dangerous. Rivas was number one. Guess who was number seven? ME. During the trial, the
state argued that because " No one knew the author of the document " it should not be allowed as evidence for a jury to see on the basis that it was 'hearsay'. The judge agreed and the jury never had the chance to view the document.
I think this document was crucial during punishment because it could've saved my life. During the state appeal (I'm now in Federal stage) my attorneys found, buried in boxes and boxes of stuff, the author of said document. The state contends that because 'we had it all along' they never hid anything from us and it was my trial lawyers duty to find it. Therefor, my Brady claim
(a ruling that says that the prosecuters have a duty to turn over any evidence to the defense) is meritless because we had the author of the document in our posession all along. But come on, who the heel buries things in boxes
and boxes of paper work unless it is you INTENT to keep it hidden. I'm hoping the judge sees through this line of crap and lets it go further. And to say it wouldn't have changed the mind of a jury or juror? How do they know?
Let me share a fact...out of the six trials, I had the longest jury deliberation on the punishment phase considering death or a life sentence. One or more of those jurors was struggling with the decision on whether to spare my life or not. The jury had to be sequestered for the night and then the next day sent me to death row. It isn't out of the realm of possibility that a document saying I was least dangerous would've spared me the death sentence.
They then dismiss my claims of Inaffective Assistance of Counsel saying it was the lead attorneys trial strategy. This logic is full of holes!
Lets go back to the document for example. Lets say, for arguements sake the state
wasn't hiding exculpatory evidence and the document wasn't intentionally buried in a Mount Everest of paper work. Wasn't it, then, my Attorneys Duty to dig through all of that and FIND the author? Strike one.
During the state habeas process my attorneys were persuing the IAC claims
(ineffective assistance of counsel) and asked my trial Attorney why he did some of the things he did, his thought process etc. He said, it was trial strategy (that term is like a get out of responsibility free card used amongst had attorneys) based in part because, my co-
Trial strategy because I said I did it. So, my attorneys call up the co-
" Did Randy Halprin ever tell YOU that he was a shooter in this crime?
Because lead Counsel says you told him he did. "
The judge interupts tells him to be cool with the language.
His story has never changed as far as I'm aware and I've been keeping up with him."
Strike three is less diabolical, but still an important issue and is actually getting some traction in the courts with other cases and that is that my trial attorney also filed a direct appeal and on capital cases it is a conflict
of interest in doing so because a trial attorney isn't going to exactly bring up the fact for appeals sakes that he was less than stellar. I'm hoping I have a leg to stand on with this issue as well. Never mind that he filed
a half ass direct appeal. We'll see if it goes anywhere.
There's some other stuff about mitigation and psychologists and that kind of stuff, but it probably has no legs, but then again you never know. She wasn't -
I still have no Federal Attorney and I can only hope and pray that I get someone who can fight and argue against all of this. I don't think I've ever asked the readers of these journals to ever really do anything for me, but I'm going to ask this: Pray. Pray that something good will turn around for me, that I'll get a good attorney and have a fighting chance. I accept responsibility for my actions and choices in life. I'll accept a life sentence if that is what it comes down to, but I cannot accept being executed for something I didn't participate in. I can't wrap my head around the possibility of that. Am I at peace with the concept of death and dying? I think that I am, but
it doesn't me I'm ready to die.
I look back at my life and even permit myself, at times, to look forward and I've spent so much energy trying to control my narrative and the story of who I know that I really am and it gets exhausting. It really does. I get angry, I throw fits in my cell and scream and cry...I am, after all, human.
I'm normal. But I don't believe that I am defined by the mistakes of my past. I think I have value and I think I still have something to offer to the people I love and care about and those that love and care about me. All I want is the chance to prove my worth.
Still on lock-
Running in place for 30 minutes just doesn't cut it.
We've been having torrential rain since Sunday and I've-
On the plus side I was able to shave and shower today. I'm so glad to have shaved. I HATE hair on my face. Hate it. I've had a goatee before and all that nonsense when it was all the craze, but I felt and looked like a wild mountain cannibal, those kinds you see in a bad 8-
Eireakfest was three cold pancakes and plastic bowl of cheerios-
I've been eating them almost EVERY FREAKING MORNING for the past 18 years. Again, yes, I agree-
Or hamster. Or one of those beasts of burdens they use to trek up Mount Everest.
A human isn´t going to eat it.
Back in early 1996, right before I was locked up there was a food scandal in Texas. They were giving horse feed to the prisoners to save money. It was called " Vita Pro " or something like that and from the stories I would hear from other guys once I was in prison is it was horrendous. ON the bag it said specifically " Not for human consumption" and still to save some money the State was giving it to prisoners. Guys would say it would cause rashes and all sorts of allergic reactions in inmates. I'm glad I missed that era of fine prison cuisine! I do remember hearing that the guy who was responsible in selling it to the prison did some jail time ,for it, but Texas is no stranger in pushing the envelope in seeing what they can get away with.
Well aren't I just all rainbows, sunshine and gmmy drops today? I think it is the rain and humidity. I'm just feeling...blah.
Here's an actual exchange I had with the mail room lady this morning...
Honestly, I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.
Knock. Knock. Knock. I'm brought out of a DEEP sleep as I hear a banging sound on my cell door.
" Huh?" I say sleepily.
"Halprin! Get up. You have a mail denial."
I get up, turn on my light and grab a pen.
It's almost become second nature to do this just about every morning because ever since they ammended
the sexually explicit definition there's something always being denied; newspapers, magazines, comics, books...
" You're being denied O. D. Y. C."
" You mean, odyssey?"
" No. O.D.Y. C."
" Yeah, Odyssey...it's a sci-
" The simpsons?" She says back at me.
" Simpsons? What? You never read the Odyssey and the Illiad in school? Seriously?"
" So, it's not a cartoon?"
" Are you fucking with my head 'cause I just7 want to go back to sleep. Just give me the paper to sign."
I sign the paper and hand it back over.
I've always known that Livingston, Texas is not the most cultured place in the world, hell, but I think if you're
working in a position that requires a basic education you should definitely know certain things and being able to differentiate the difference between a classic and a cartoon series...just sayin'.
It reminds me of the time some years ago I recieved a copy of Gone With The Wind from a friends and the mail room lady said, " Oh! I didn't know they made a book from the movie." Really?
Well, another day of lock-
Okay, a few grey chest hairs but my face...Jesua Harold Christ!
Okay...I now have two vanities: Grey hair and being bald. It is hard to make the connection between the person I see in the mirror and my mind. They are definitely two different ages. I mean, how many people do you know who are grey and balding that have a badass poster of POVO the greatest rooster to ever walk this earth on their wall?
Well, everyone knew it was coming but I do believe they caught some people off guard. But whatever, it's here and better to get over with. This morning they did the cell searches and finished up our Pod. They didn't really mess with me, only tore down my clothes line but I always keep a back up pair of shoe laces in its wrapper just in case this happens. It could've been a lot worse. I have some knick knack 'contraband' like a fishing line II something made out of string so that we can pass stuff to one another like food, books, magazines etc.) and a headphone cord but that is about it. Some guys were caught with razor blades Now, before you start think they've had them for nefarious reasons most guys who take that risk use them for jalapenos, cutting up pickles etc. not human beings.
I think in the 1:B plus years I've been locked up now I've seen about THREE people cut or attacked with a razor. Quite a different comparison to say, like the movies or something. Unless you count the pickle holocaust. Poor poor pickles. They just don't stand a chance against the cold aluminum blade of cucumber death. But I digress...Anyways, some guys were sent to the discipline pod for having a razor blades. Now, here's where I just don't get it. you KNOW they are going to shake us down and cell search. You KNOW they're going to use metal detectors and a freaking x-
" Well, maybe they won't find it..."
and then in all of the places you could hide something in you hide it in a book? Or tape it under a cup?
I've done a lot of dumb things in my life. Too many to count and yet, having a few days to to get my shit in order for a lock-
So, they breezed through and it wasn't all , that bad. I've had much worse. Actually, my biggest concern is before the lock-
Have I mentioned I'm ready for spring? Day light saving was early this morning and while it's not quite spring yet
I can feel it. Just sick and tire of all this rain, though. My goal is to get outside as much as I possibly can this year.
I seriously need some some. Some guys have taken to calling me " White Shadow" or " Casper The ghost" I'm becoming translucent. Bring on those cancer inducing UV rays, I say!
Tomorrow is shower day. The first shower we've have since wednesday. I always bathe in my sink on lock-