Jul-Sept 2022 - Randy Halprin

Randy Halprin
"You can't go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending" C.S. Lewis
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July 11th, 2022

When I'm stressed I find it difficult to write a journal, which is not how it should work because writing is supposed to be a cathartic practice. But my thoughts tend to get all jumbled up and so I end up not writing anything.

I don't know what has happened but things on this pod have turned really negative...Mostly the people. Couple that with being excluded from taking classes to better myself for no other reason than I can't be around my co-defendant. It's like having a boulder tied around your neck...It's been pulling me down and so I woke up this morning, did my exercises and prayed that I'd do my best to not let myself be dragged down in everyone else's misery. I need to be a little more empathetic and patient with the guys around me as well, because I think at the root of it all is that many guys are either at the tail end of their appeals, or completely run out, and facing potential execution dates. I understand that for them, seeing someone in my position or others whose cases are going well, it can be rough on them and I get that. I also know – and I told this to a guy who went to death watch on Thursday – that no matter how impossible it seems, and no matter how many people try to convince you it's over, it isn't. You can't give up, and anything can happen.

No one can prepare someone for an execution date, and everyone handles their experience differently. But why spend those days in bitterness and despair? Make the most of your time. Be grateful for the friends, family, and things you might have and just live. Anything can happen!

That all being said, it still doesn't give anyone the right to be belligerent, mean, or nasty to another person. Being here, in the position we are in comes with a certain acknowledgement and acceptance that taking responsibility for the choices we make does come with consequences. Right or wrong, or whether or not we're guilty or not guilty, you can't get mad at the world or everyone around you. That is the same for how you choose to live your life in this place. If you've wasted your time and find yourself suddenly at the end of the road and you're mad, you've got to acknowledge that you wasted your time.

When I was on death watch, one of the most awful things to witness was to see a man in complete panic for being in the state he was in because he had 'sorry' attorneys that dropped the ball, but all of these years, he didn't pay attention. He didn't seem to care. He could tell you every sport statistic known to man, but could tell you nothing about his appeals. It wasn't until he was at the end did he realize that his attorneys missed filings, and didn't bring up certain issues that could've potentially saved his life...

So, some of that, in my opinion, has lead to the turn towards darkness on this pod. I think it's also frustration...Everyone was expecting the tablets by now. Visitation has still not fully returned to the way it was pre-pandemic, so guys can't get their special visits, only one four hour extended visit with the approval of the warden. Staff shortages that derail recreation or phones, the disappointment that while the field ministers roll in a movie every now and then, there were promises of putting a TV in each dayroom that still hasn't been fulfilled. So, there are definitely other 'agitations'. I get it...Just don't take it out on the people around you. Be a big boy and suck it up.

I'm still in the process of fighting the decision that I couldn't attend the multi-faith classes on A-Pod. I filed the grievance and Field Minister Troop came by and said, “They talked to me about your grievance” so at least I know that the matter is being looked into. We talked for a bit and he said he was going to talk to the Head Warden for me as well. I did write a passionate please to the warden so we'll see what happens. It's a bit ridiculous when you really think about it because I'll be nowhere near my co-defendant, and again, it's because of something that happened almost 22 years ago. They  just let a guy out of AD SEG into general population and he now has a trustee job. This dude has escaped twice, has numerous staff assaults, and has been found with handcuff keys and weapons over the years...and he gets to go to General Population. I've had no disciplines, no assaults, no incidences of being a threat of any kind, and I can't take some classes to better myself after something that happened almost 22 years ago?

I'm going to keep trying though, and pray and keep positive...I refuse to give up, or give up on myself.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


July 13th, 2022

By the time this is posted I'll more than likely be back in Dallas County Jail and either beginning my hearings or about to. At first, when the CCA ordered new hearings I was a bit bummed out, but now it's like, “Bring it!” Let's put my trial judge's bigotry and racism on a stage for the entire world to see. Let the State defend all of that. My first hearing, as of now, is scheduled for August 29th.

I do hope the ride up is similar to the ride to Dallas last year because the ride back to Livingston just sucked. Worst trip ever! I'm looking forward to seeing civilisation again.

Well, the past two days went really pear shaped. Actually, it's more of yesterday than today. We had the worst crew possible and I was screwed out of my rec. They were leaving people in the day room for 5 hours which all but guaranteed that I would never make it to rec because the night shift is so short handed the daytime has to be done with all of their rec by 5pm. Admittedly, I didn't take my own advice that I wrote in a recent journal, and I kind of blew a gasket. I was trying to let the guards know that had they not dragged their butts we wouldn't all be in the predicament we were in. The male officer said,

“I don't work for you. I don't have to explain shit to you, murderer.”

Well...I blew  up and then my neighbour jumped in and stated cussing the officer out and I realised this was spinning out of control really fast because the officer started punching my neighbor's door and yelling,

“Do something, bitch! Do something!”

My mind was racing, like, oh man...I hope my neighbor doesn't do anything and I started yelling,

“Hey! Hey! Stop...Everyone calm the fuck down!”

They paused and I said,

“Look I get it. You don't want an inmate telling you what to do. I apologise for snapping at you, but ya'll have to start seeing things from our perspective. We used to get rec every single day. Now we get three days and when you don't work, we get two days, and then if the next crew doesn't do their job it's one day. Can't you see why we get all worked up? I know ya'll have a lot to do. I know this, but please, for the love of G-d see it from our side too. Please.”

He stopped, looked at me, nodded and apologised, then he apologised to my neighbour and my neighhbor apologised in return, and it turned into a big kumbaya fest!

That's all I'm asking from these people – to just see why we get frustrated and some people explode. We can't do anything on our own. We need an officer for everything but wiping our own butts.

Well, when I woke up this morning it sounded like they were pulling people out for rec, so I jumped out of bed and someone said they were doing the rec guys missed yesterday. My neighbors and I jumped at the opportunity to go outside and we ended up playing 30 games of basketball, then doing a bunch of exercises. I was back in at 9am and let me tell you it is HOT!!! It wasn't too bad early in the morning, but it has taken no time for this place to turn into an oven.

Today I spent the rest of the day getting things in order to go back to Dallas. I have a travel bag packed and ready and I really can't wait. It's going to be great. I know what to expect this time around, and can mentally adjust so it won't be a problem. I'll be doing journals from Dallas as well, so stay tuned!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


July 17th, 2022

It's Sunday morning as I begin this entry and I'll be going to recreation in another two hours or so. We've got a good team of officers working today so I'm holding onto hope that no chaos bombs explode and derail everything. That's exactly what happened yesterday...we had two really A-team officers working and I made it outside around 10.30am, stayed out for a bit, and then those two officers were pulled off the pod to work elsewhere, and were replaced with two buffoons and BOOM! Chaos bomb...Guys were screwed out of recreation, out of showers...and chaos ruled the rest of the day. The one redeeming factor (at least for A/B/C sections) was when Field Minister Troop showed up to play a movie – Aquaman I believe.

I've been in decent spirits...I'm really looking forward to getting back to Dallas. You know, it has its pros and cons, but even with the worst of it – noise, banging, sleep disruption, and the fact they never turn off the cell lights) it's a change of pace, environment, and people. The jailers are generally  more professional, and treat you with a bit of humanity. You get to talk to your loved ones and friends on a regular basis, and nothing beats going to the gym and seeing the view of down town Dallas. The hearings are completely unnecessary, but hey, if it means a little break from this place, I'll take it.

I'm pretty much ready to go! I think my neighbours are ready to see me off as well because all I keep talking about is going back to Dallas (ha ha).

I was sitting here wondering if by the time I return they'll have started the so called 'work program' for death row inmates that qualify. What we've been hearing of late is that the first people that will be allowed are those that are involved in the Faith Based Program...But we'll see!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


July 19th, 2022

Today was interesting...I had a great legal visit and I was out at visitation around 8.50am, when my investigator and a really nice intern showed up. I was informed that my hearings – initially scheduled to begin on August 8th, have been re-scheduled to start on August 29th, but still expect to leave for Dallas anytime before then. I told him, “Believe me, I'm ready to go.” This time around I'm better mentally prepared, and know what to expect from the hearing, the stress factor at the jail, etc. I think that last year, while it wasn't horrible (except for the ride back to Polunsky) I often felt like a deer caught in the headlights...I hope it's a bit better. I also have my Taffy, and I don't have any emotional conflicts etc, and I'm happier than I've been in years and years. Plus, any break from this place is a gift! No matter how much noise I have to deal with in the Dallas jail.

I was almost missed out on rec today, and while I had to sacrifice my shower (due to chaotic lazy guards) I did get my two hours of rec. I cleared my head by jogging in the day room, and then chatting to the group around me. I came back to my cell, bathed out of my sink, and here I am, laying under the fan (it's hot!!) and completely exhausted.

Tomorrow is a non-rec day, so I'll enjoy a day free of insanity!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


July 24th, 2022

It's been an interesting few days...On Thursday they changed our rec schedule again, for the gazillionth time, because they've just had a bunch of guards quit again. They've gone back to the one hour of rec about every three days, IF they have the staff. We were supposed to have rec today but they were short handed, so that didn't happen. You've read my thoughts on this many times, and how I think they could keep staff, but TDCJ doesn't listen to inmates, so...I'm just spinning my wheels, but I do like to ask this question to people over and over again when all of the 'tough on crime' but short on solutions rhetoric pops up with politicians and pundits: If we lock everyone up and throw away the key, who is going to watch over the prisoners when the prisons are filled up to capacity (actually, they already are in Harris County, to the point that they've had to send inmates to private facilities at the taxpayers' expense, in other states)?

That same Thursday I had a great legal phone call with  my team and it was supposed to last about an hour, but we were really lucky to get two hours. From what I know at this point, my  hearings have been changed and rescheduled from August 8th, to August 29th, and we are putting forth one hell of a presentation to highlight my trial judge's bigotries, and showing how it was harmful and shouldn't be allowed in any court. I'm nervous about the process, but there's an equal amount of excitement if that makes sense...I mean, in no way would I willingly want to be in this position, and having to go through all of this, but it could've been resolved last Fall...It should've been resolved last Fall!! As my Taffy and I always say, this process is hard on everyone, and dragging it out like this is unnecessary, and causes undue stress and anxiety to all concerned.

So...I'm pretty much all packed and ready to roll...I'm living out of my bags for now, which is okay. I have my important items out, but with that recent escape and the response to it, they're not telling people that leave the prison the night before like they used to, which is understandable. But it doesn't give the inmate a chance to pack his own stuff and leaves the duty of that to the guards. This creates a lot of problems as sometimes things get lost, thrown away, or yes, even stolen. They steal snacks, pictures, momentos, if they believe you to be 'infamous'. Better to have it all packed up and keep that possibility to a minimum. I don't mind living out of the bags for a few days, or a couple of weeks.

I'm ready to goooooo!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


July 31st, 2022

I'm back in Dallas!! It was one heck of an adventure this time around...Today is the first day I feel a little settled – not totally settled – but at least I had a much needed solid night of sleep! I feel rested and a little less anxious this morning.  

Everything started on Friday morning on the 29th. I had just gotten out of bed and put on The Tank to catch the morning album, and made a cup of coffee, washed my face, brushed my teeth, and got ready to work out when I heard a guard scream to another guard,  

“Ask 84 cell if he wants to go!”  

Then, a guard came to my door and said,

“Hey, do you want to go on a bench warrant?”

“I didn't know I had a choice, but yes, I want to go.”

At that point I knew I was going back to Dallas on that day. I started yelling to friends that I was going, then frantically began to get my property in order and have my travel bag ready to go.  

At around 10am an escort crew showed up to take me to a booth in the hallway to wait for the Dallas County Sheriff Department to whisk me away.  

I waited for about another hour when I had to do my first thorough strip search. Then, my shirt and shorts were handed back to me. Not long after that the same Deputy that brought me back to TDCJ last year, arrived, and I had to strip out again. My ride back last year, on my birthday, was in a windowless van and I was bounced around like a ping pong ball, so I figured the same was about to happen.  

After I was strip searched again, I was taken to a metal detector chair, and my bag of property was checked and run through an X-ray machine. Once I was given the all clear the deputy shackled me up and off we went right out the front of the prison.  

Once in the prison parking lot, the windowless van pulled up and I climbed into the back, but at least I could see out the front of the van and had a good view. I was still bounced around in the van because there are no seats – it's a long metal bench turned sideways. A three hour ride in that thing is not a pleasant experience.  

I should say that the Dallas County Deputy in charge of me was professional and polite, and although I didn't ask, he did 'offer me the chance' to be subjected to 3 hours of gospel music and Billy Graham preaching over the vans loud speaker system. He set up his phone so that I could watch the video and it was crisp and clear, but it felt more like being tortured. I had zero desire to be preached to for 3 hours (ha ha).  

I took in every sight I could on that trip! We were moving along at a pretty fast pace until off in the distance I could see billowing smoke. Traffic on I-45 slowed down to a crawl, and at first I thought it must be some kind of car crash, but eventually I realised it was a wild bush fire – something that I've never seen in real life. There were emergency vehicles everywhere! There was also a huge tractor digging a fire line to keep it from jumping.  

Once we cleared that scene, it was back to a nice pace. As we neared Dallas I began to get excited because I'd soon be able to use the phone and find out if the jail had the tablets! There's something about the Dallas skyline that brings a kind of peace over me. The Dallas/Ft. Worth area is my home. It's where I grew up, and I loved it.  

The van drove through down town to the county jail, pulled into the jail garage, and when I stepped off the van I was greeted by 6 SRTs and I sighed, thinking, “why must they always make a spectacle of things?” I'm no threat to anyone and they all know me from my many trips to Dallas and I've never given them any trouble. They all surrounded me and I went through the book in process at lightening speed: Covid test, finger prints, mug shot, psych evaluation, physical check up...Now, keep in mind I've had no water (my fault because I didn't want to have a full bladder on a three hour trip), nothing to eat since breakfast at 3am that morning, and I just went through a stressful trip to get here, but my heart rate and blood pressure were really high. They sent me to a Nigerian doctor who asked me if I had a history of high blood pressure, and I replied,

“Only when I'm stressed.”

He then told me that last year I had high blood pressure and was on medication. I replied,

“Yes, I did have high blood pressure last year, but after a few check ups it went back to normal. But no, I'm not on any medication.”

“Yes, you were on medication,” he said.

“No, sir, I was not on any medication and I was never given any.”

He then pulled out a high blood pressure pill and all but forced me to take it. I was handcuffed!! I had no choice...

After that, I was strip searched again and the guards went through my stuff. Now, last year I brought a book, coffee, writing supplies etc, and this year I brought three books, coffee, my Voyager study book, and hygiene/writing supplies. They took my coffee and books from me! The two comforts I needed to pass the time until I was situated!

Then I'm told I'm going to the exact same cell I was in last year and as I'm being escorted to the floor, a lot of the same guards were there and they were like, “Dang! You're back already?” Everyone was cool.  

I was placed in my cell and could finally breathe a little. The cell was filthy though, so I had to clean that up, have dinner, and then try to make a few calls. In the distance I could see a black cabinet with a piece of paper on the front that said, 'TABLETS' in bold letters. I could also see the monitors for video visits so I got instantly excited. I asked the guard if I could get a tablet (silly me!) and he said I'd have to write Securus to request one and then purchase my own earbuds to use with them. He said, “But man...you're going to love it! Phone, music, movies...It keeps the place quiet.”

That's true – there is the occasional burst of noise but for the most part it's a thousand times quieter than it was last year. I can see the general population tanks and these guys walking around with tablets in their hands.

That Friday I did make some calls, but I still have no pen so I couldn't even write any letters. I had no books – nothing to do! On Saturday afternoon I was able to get a newspaper to read, and then later a guard was kind enough to find a pen for me.  

I was asleep by 10pm – completely wiped out, and slept right through to 6am. I needed that sleep! I have a minor 'lack of caffeine headache' but I'll get through it.  

I'm going to get the phone here in a little bit and try to make some calls and write some friends. That's about all there is to do tonight.  Tomorrow I should have recreation, be able to call my attorneys, and hopefully get the book cart if they still offer it. I don't know if they do that anymore with the tablets being available now. I wonder if we can even still have books sent in? Taffy will keep everyone informed on the front page, so check in regularly. She will also have my address on the front page of the site, for anyone who wants to write me.  

That's pretty much been the weekend! Stay tuned...!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.  


August 4th, 2022

I am bored out of my mind! I don't know how long it'll take to receive the tablet, but really, if I just had something to read other than a newspaper in the afternoon, I'd be able to pass the time a bit better. As it stands I really don't have anything to do but literally stare at the walls, use the phone for a bit, and do the crossword puzzle in the paper.

When I talked to the officer about receiving the tablet and how long it would take, he initially said “a day or two.” Now it's “a little time, but you'll get it...they've got to get you a brand new one.” I'm no expert or anything, but I doubt Securus throws away a tablet after it's used by an inmate that leaves the jail. I'm sure they just reset it and give it to the next person that comes in...So, what's the hold up? I actually probably wouldn't think about it much if the guys around me weren't always recommending podcasts and I didn't see them get pulled out of the charging cabinet each morning.

I've not been to recreation yet either. I keep trying to get set up, but never get pulled out, which is odd. I'm going to have to talk to a supervisor about that. It's cool having a shower in my cell, though...At least I don't have to depend on anyone for that. In fact, after I wrap this up, I'm going to jump on in.

I wish I had something more substantial to write, but really, it's the same ol', same ol'! I can hear that shower calling my  name...Take that, Polunsky! I can get my showers at my leisure!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


August 5th, 2022

Today was a bit of a wild day. Early in the morning I received some legal mail that had me in a bit of a tizzy. On top of that, I had two video visits scheduled back to back, and I was wondering who on earth it could be. I didn't know that anyone had scheduled them and I didn't know that you could schedule video visits back to back?

So, 10am comes and I log into the video monitor (it's a touch screen and I'm working it like a champ now!) and one of my attorneys pops up! I was really surprised, but very pleased. He told me that I have a pre-hearing hearing on August 10th, to suss out what will be allowed in my hearing on August 29th, and that the judge wants me in the courtroom. He calmed me down from my earlier tizzy and said they're on top of everything so that helped me feel a little less anxious.

The two visits were great! Later I learned that the jail no longer allows books or magazines because they have the tablets now. Well...I still don't have my tablet so I have nothing to read or do right now. I think Dallas is trying to go completely digital, including mail. That's the inevitable future for any institution.

I do my best to pass the time...I do a lot of pacing in the cell which makes me look like a crazy person, but I don't care. I also just listen to these guys talk in the vents to one another. Some recommend tablet stuff or help others navigate content, but there's also a couple of bona fide idiots. They get under my skin because they read stuff about people's cases in the newspaper, and then throw insults at them or judge them. Then later, they'll talk about beating women and I'm thinking, “You morons have no right to judge others.” It's a crazy world I live in...

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


August 6th, 2022

Today I scored a Harlequin romantic novel! It was the best of the batch left behind by an inmate. I told the guard, “It's not much, but it'll get me through the weekend. Thank you.”

Interestingly enough, he said that if I didn't have a tablet by Monday, he'd see if they could loan me something called a 'green tablet'. I've no idea what that is, but I'd be happy if I could just listen to FM radio. I'd like to watch videos, but I don't need to. I just need something to do. Especially when the jail won't even allow books anymore.

Maybe on Monday I'll finally have the tablet.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


August 7th, 2022

Sunday...I'm half way through the Harlequin romance novel. It's pretty awful, but apparently there's a huge market for this stuff. Still, it's another boring day. Thank God I get the phone twice a day which honestly has had me up in the clouds to be able to speak to my Taffy, and my friends...I've been able to talk to everyone I want to, and it's still a blessing to have it for the time I do. G-d please let me get the tablet tomorrow!

It's looking to be an interesting week though. I've got the hearing on Wednesday, and hopefully I'll have a video visit too. I get to call one of my friends on their birthday this week (actually, I might see if they want to schedule a video visit). I also hope I get rec this week.

I'm getting by...This place has been kind of dead compared to last year, but I think everyone is zoned out on their tablets. Hey, I'll take the peace and silence over the chaos, any day!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


August 8th, 2022

I had a thought last night as I waited on the night shift crew to show up, so I could shave (we're only allowed to shave once a week now and so I had a very grey beard, and a Mr Burns from the Simpsons hairstyle going on! When I'm shaved I still look young, but 7 days without shaving and I turn into a haggard and worn looking old man. But I digress!)

So...sometimes I get scared... I think of all of the guys I've known for years who are on the verge of getting execution dates, and it's not something I want to see. So many friends being killed...It hurts the soul. I don't care what they're there for or how society labels them. I lived with them...I ate with them...I saw sides of them that 12 jurors have not. I think I'm understanding the duality of human nature like the psychotherapist, Carl Jung, wrote about. But admittedly, I get scared from my own situation. I think a lot about the word justice...I think about how the word carries a different meaning and weight depending on who is using it, and in what context.

So, I'm sitting here in Dallas County Jail waiting on hearings in which the State – in the words of the CCA – can “adversarially cross examine” the witnesses that heard my trial judge say things about me being Jewish, when just last year they accepted all of the witness affidavits as factual. The CCA essentially said, “Now, wait a second...Don't just cave in so easily. We want you to question them.” Opening the door – hell, nudging them to change their position on accepting the witnesses as credible and factual to say, “No, we want to challenge all of this on hear say” and then go a bit further and say, “Actually, you have to show us in the trial record where the judge was biased against Halprin for being Jewish. We don't have to show harm and aren't required to pass any harm analysis because it's a structural issue, but they still try to push this...

And this is what I find scary – for all of the talk about justice it means nothing but a 'win' to these people. I'm sure there are those prosecutors that do think they're getting bad people off of the street, and good for them. But what happens when a person presents a real issue with a flawed trial or conviction, or someone presents real evidence that they could be innocent, and the state still pushes ahead to preserve this 'win'....And then, the courts, whose job it is to overturn any wrongs if they can be shown, sides with the state 99/9% of the time because they don't want to do the right thing, exposing their flaws in our judicial system. How is this justice?

It's scary...yes, I have wonderful and amazing attorneys and I trust them 100%. I'm still here breathing because of them, but I'm only human and just want the right thing to happen here. Nobody is saying “Set Halprin free!” It's simply that I need a new trial. I can say I don't want to die for something I didn't do or participate in...And I don't. But I also don't want to die because I didn't have a fair trial with a bigoted judge that hated black people, Latinos, Catholics, and Jews. I didn't make being Jewish a theme in my trial - my prosecutors chose to do that. Why do you think they did that? Could it be because I had a judge that hated Jews? Hmmmm...

I just don't want to die. I have so much to live for...so much good to do...I want to right the wrongs in my life and I'm trying. I just pray for the chance.

So, on a lighter note (but a frustrating day) I was given the loaner tablet today, but had no earthly idea how to log into it. When I asked the guard what to do he didn't know either. My neighbour overheard us and he walked me through it which was really kind, but once I had it unlocked, I could never get a wifi signal. I tried every inch of my cell and it would never let me into the system. I'm convinced there's something wrong with it. Both my neighbours to the right and left of me are getting on with no problem.

Well, in trying to trouble shoot, my neighbour was kind enough to look up the music and movies I'm interested in, and yes, they've got the entire Cure catalogue and all of the Star Wars movies. They've got a ton of '80s classics, all of the Marvel movies, new movies, romance/rom-com. Not a very big horror selection though...I was bit disappointed about that.

So, I'm looking forward to catching a few movies...Wish me luck!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


August 9th, 2022

Today I fully entered into the 21st century! This morning I was handed the same corrupted tablet I had yesterday and I was worried I'd get stuck with it again today. Around  noon I talked to a different officer and showed him the problem. He went upstairs, found another tablet, and told me to log into it. I entered my info and voila! A brave new world...I've only ordered two Cure songs so far, and I'm going to watch Star Wars: Rogue One later on, after things calm down. It's erupted into chaos for some reason. This is the loudest it's been since I've been here. It's LOUD!!

Anyways, the music sounds great, and having made a few calls with the tablet, those sound great too. The wifi can be a bit spotty, but all in all, not too bad on the whole.

I've yet to explore everything else like the podcasts etc, but I have time. I have my pre-hearing hearing tomorrow, and I'm feeling okay about it. It's not a big hearing per se, but it will set the tone for the big hearing on the 29th.

I'll have more to write in the coming days...It's so difficult to concentrate with this noise...

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


August 10th, 2022

It's been a long day and having had only 3 hours of sleep last night because of an unusual amount of noise, I was really dragging my butt all day...but somehow I managed to make it through.

So, I got up and started the day as usual. They gave us our tablets at 7.30am but they don't turn on the network until after 9am. Fortunately for me, after a call to my girlfriend, I went to rec. It was hot outside, even at 8.30am! There was pollution over the city and the air was static, but it was still nice to get out for a bit. When I came back in I made a few more calls from the tablet, and then listened to  music until after lunch. I tried a nap, but it didn't amount to anything...So, I killed time as I waited to go to court.

I left my cell at 12.30pm with a full on SRT escort, which was a bit ridiculous, and when I got to the courtroom I sat in a holding cell until 1pm, when a bailiff came in, put me in a belt with handcuffs on each side, and then walked me into the courtroom.

The hearing was via Zoon, so outside of a court reporter and some bailiffs, I sat there alone. I'll just say, the State's argument is so ridiculous...They talk out of both sides of their mouth, like, “Oh, yeah, the Judge is a bigot, just not in Halprin's trial,” and my lawyers did an excellent job of countering that. The big hearing with live testimony will be on 29th August.

I got back to my cell at about 2.50pm, made some calls, had dinner, and then settled in to watch Rogue One again – it's so good! I'm still figuring the tablet out, but I can now e-message through Jpay.com as long as my friends send me one first, which is really cool. What I need to figure out now is how to save battery power so it lasts the whole day.

Please G-d let me get some sleep tonight!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


August 13th, 2022

As I write this I'm waiting on my tablet to be charged because it wasn't charged last night. I don't know why, but when they gave it to me at 7.30 this morning, it only had 20% power on it and I was like, “That's what it was when I turned it in last night!” The officer was cool though, and put it back in the cabinet to charge.

This morning, my girlfriend told me that my good friend who got off death row this year, is sadly back in jail through no fault of his own. I had just spoken to him on the phone the day before as he was driving home from work. I was really down about it and I hope he can get it sorted out and get back to his job. I've known him for almost two decades, and he's always been a good and loyal friend to me, which means a lot to me, and I hope he'll be okay.

So, the tablet is really cool. The e-messaging is one of the best features, because at least in Dallas County, it really is 'instant'. On the movies side of things, I've watched Rogue One twice, Nightmare Before Christmas, and 50 First Dates, and tonight I'm going to watch Pretty Woman with my Taffy – it's a favorite movie for both of us! I'm also going to start catching up on a lot of newer movies. They had a 'sale' on sci-fi movies so I ordered Arrival, Gravity, and Transformers. I've never seen any of them. I also have Avengers Infinity War on standby...Yes, I'll be doing Star Wars...I'm saving the best for last, probably after my hearings.

My music playlist is pretty good right now...I've got The Cure, U2, Morrissey, Mazzy Star, Concrete Blonde, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Counting Crows, The Sundays, and Ultravox, so far. Songs are a bit pricey, so I have to be selective...otherwise I'd have a thousand songs if I could!

When I was back at Polunsky, they talked of various subscriptions, and the Associated Press subscription, which gives you up to the minute news stories as they hit the wire. It's pretty cool. I'm not really into video games, and the ones they offer are all knock off games of things like Candy Crush etc,

Well, I've got my tablet now and I've called my Taffy which always puts me right up in the clouds. Right now, I'm going to listen to some newscasts, and then listen to some world music cafe podcasts. I've pulled up Sharon van Etten for today – I love her music and its refreshing.

Well, it's much later now and I've watched Pretty Woman with Taffy and then I called her up straight after. It's been so long since I've seen it, and wow....! It still holds up! I'm debating whether or not to watch another movie tonight. I'd like to watch something I've never seen, but I'll probably wait though. The battery is waning, which doesn't seem right. I used it more yesterday than today, so it's baffling...I'll make my mind up after I've had a shower.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


August 14th, 2022

So, I ended up watching Arrival last night and it blew my mind. Now, this is a movie I've listened to a few times and I've read the short story it's based on, but watching it...Holy cow it was so good!!! I can't recommend this one enough. It's one of the most emotionally satisfying and deep sci-fi movies I've caught in a long time! I've never seen Amy Adams act, and she was a force to be reckoned with.  If you watch it and understand it – sorry....it's absolutely a 'thinking person's'  movie – you will cry, so be warned!

Unfortunately, this morning, my tablet wasn't charged up again, so I have to wait until it's charged before I get it back. This is two days in a row now, and it feels a bit intentional. Everyone around me hasn't had any problem...I don't like having any paranoid thoughts, but it does feel like someone at night is not charging mine.

Well, when I do get it back I'm not sure which movie I'll watch tonight. I may go ahead and do Avengers Infinity War, or Star Wars. Choices...choices!

I just had a nice surprise when one of my attorneys dropped by for a visit. The other two couldn't make it, but it was good to see him!

And that's been my day...

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


August 17th, 2022

It's been a busy few days...I had court yesterday – well, a Zoom meeting in court, and the judge is going to allow all of our evidence and witnesses. That was a relief! I also had some legal video visits and calls to my Taffy and friends, so the day was pretty full.

Yesterday evening I watched a movie which is a nice way to wind down. I've watched Avengers: Infinity War/Endgame which was really, really good. I thought they were awesome. Tonight I watched Batman, the original, and it's a little dated visually, but it still holds up. Tomorrow night I'm doing the Dark Knight which I'm looking forward to.

I do have a heavy heart tonight as I learned that a friend from DR was executed today. I don't really have words for it, but I can only hope it was painless and his soul is at peace. When does this madness stop? It's 2022 for crying out loud! What the hell is wrong with this state/country?

More to come...

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


August 18th, 2022

Today feels a bit weird. Not that anything bad has happened – it hasn't been a bad day at all, but with the execution in Texas yesterday, I had a dream of another executed inmate, Justin Hall, who was my neighbour when I was on death watch in 2019. He was talking to me, and then afterwards, I was like, “I appreciate you coming from the afterlife and talking to me.” Weird!

So, I woke up at 6am feeling a little groggy, but I got the day going and as I write this I'm listening to the World Music Cafe podcast, and a live performance from a band I've never heard of called, Catbite. It's a bit ska...I don't mind ska, but I can take or leave it. I was never a big fan of bands like Rancid or Sublime – it was just “meh” to me in the '90s.

I'm actually sitting here wondering if my lawyers will have time to stop by for a visit. They're in Dallas today for some potentially positive new evidence in my case. We don't know if it'll shake out or not, but I'm praying it does. It would be that last piece of the puzzle that proves my judge harboured anti-Jewish bias against me. Not that we don't have enough evidence already, but this would be big!

It's later now...I paused because I had to go to a legal visit. It was nice, and I'm pretty excited/nervous, but definitely excited about the 29th.

I'm going to watch a movie tonight, and I'm looking forward to winding it down before bed.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


August 19th, 2022

What a day! It was chock full of good news!! I've been happy dancing about things all day, and it felt like a dream! I had wonderful phone calls with Taffy, who gave me some amazing news, and then in the afternoon I had a video visit with one of my attorneys, and he told me the new evidence was found and I was so excited! It's a pretty big deal, and will be a huge revelation for the hearings because, even though we're not required to show or prove bias/harm at the time of my trial – the judge having life-long bigotries is enough – we can now also prove bias during my trial! There's no more wiggle room for the State, and this news has lifted my spirits. Taffy and I have been up in the clouds all day!

So, I watched The Dark Knight last night and it was a great film, even though violent and dark. For me, Jack Nicholson's portrayal of The Joker has been the gold standard. I've listen to Dark Knight quite a few times, but to watch it? To see Heath Ledger's performance as The Joker? He topped Jack Nicholson! I didn't feel that way until actually watching the movie. I'm going to watch it again in a little while, then I'm going to watch Wonder Woman.

Back on Polunsky we listen to movies on The Tank radio station...When I listen to a movie I build an image from the sounds, the vocal nuances of the actors, and I can see a movie in my imagination. Now that I can actually watch these movies it's interesting for me to see how much my imagination got right, and how much it didn't. I actually think, “oh, wow...I didn't know that was happening.”

It's been great to have this early taste of the tablet before I return to Polunsky. I'm also looking forward to helping these guys around me to navigate the tablet when we do finally get them.

Time to watch the movies!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


August 20th, 2022

Today was all about the movies...I watched Greenland with Taffy, which was really cool and a great movie! Then, after dinner, I watched Ready Player One which was cool visually, but the book was far better. There was just too much going on in the  movie with the gazillion Easter Eggs to really feel engaged. After that I watched a computer animated Star Wars movie, The Clone Wars. It was pretty cool and not bad at all. Still, Greenland was by far the best of the movies today. It's really good, and I highly recommend it.

Tomorrow is all about the new Star Wars Trilogy. I'm pretty excited. I think that outside of my calls I'll not waste any battery juice and watch Greenland again as well.

Well, time to call it a day and get to bed.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.

August 21st, 2022

Today is Star Wars day for me. I do want to watch Greenland again before it expires. With Securus you can hold the movie for up to 30 days after purchase, but once you press play it expires after 48 hours. So, within that 48 hour window you can watch it as much as you want – and I would, if not for the fact that the tablet is only charged once per day. I believe when the Death Row section receives them they'll have individual chargers per person.

Well...on with the day!

It's later now...I ended up watching The Force Awakens and re-watching Greenland. Then I watched a scary movie, Slenderman. It felt like variety night tonight so that's what I did. Slenderman was kind of creepy, I admit. No happy ending either.

All I need to do now is shave and go to sleep.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


August 22nd, 2022

Last night was rough...There are times here when it can be so quiet you can hear a pin drop, and then, there are times when everyone is so loud it rattles your brain. And it's not like a couple of people either – it's the entire floor! Noise erupts...Guys begin to spit box...People are rapping and banging on their doors...And I'm thinking, “What on earth is going on right now?!?!?”

Last night was one of those nights and it didn't taper off until after 1am. I slept until 7am and got up feeling like I could've definitely used more sleep. It's all good though, and nothing a power nap can't fix. It sucks I have no coffee here...The jail doesn't allow it anymore – another thing gone because of the K2 drug problem. Apparently, guys were soaking their coffee in that crap, letting the granules dry, and then smoking it. I remember when TDCJ banned tea because of that same problem. K2 has by far been the worst drug problem I've seen in 20 plus years of incarceration. Because it's liquid, it can be smuggled in a thousand ways, and nothing the prison does to stop it has worked yet. It's horrible stuff.

So, as I write this I'm waiting on my tablet to be recharged because it wasn't charged up last night. This is the third time this has happened to me. It's been recharging for about two hours now so after our delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch, I'll ask the officer to grab it out of the charging station.

Honestly, outside of using the phone app and watching movies or listening to music, the coolest function is the e-messaging. They're instant, like text messages, but it sucks that it only seems to work in the US, at least here in the county jail anyway...Taffy has spoken to Securus a few times, and they told her that overseas Jpay customers will have different steps to go through once the tablets are rolled out on Polunsky – we just have to be patient! You have to go through Jpay and merge it with the emessage system, and voila! Anyone with a tablet can receive messages from their family and friends. It's really fast, and very cool. I'm getting pretty quick with the little keyboard too. The only frustration I have is that the space bar is right above the home button and my thumb hits it sending me back to the apps and I'm like, “Arrgghh!” But the worst is when it doesn't save and I have to start over. I have no complaints though. It's a treat and a blessing to have this experience. All that being said, I do miss holding a physical book though.

Well, tonight I'm going to watch The Last Jedi and maybe The Quiet Place depending on how much battery juice I have.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


August 24th, 2022

It's early Wednesday morning, and I'm waiting on the phone to say 'good morning' to my Taffy...They don't turn on the tablet apps until after 9am, so I get the phone at 8am and make my calls.

I can see that the sun is back after a few days of much needed rain – well, Dallas didn't need a 1000 year flood, which they got, but they did need some rain. The sun shines in from the gym and splashes against the open area in front of my cell. It's usually  how I can guage the time.

Over the past couple of days I've watched The Last Jedi and Rise of Skywalker and both were really good. I only have one more Star Wars movie to go – Solo and then I'll have seen all, finally, after 20 plus years! I also watched A Quiet Place which was amazing, and Transformers which was okay. I'm not sure what I want to do tonight...I have a few more movies in my queue, and I've not made up my mind – I rarely do! (ha ha).

It's later now and I just finished watching The Hunger Games – not bad, and very close to the first book. After that I watched A Quiet Place again, and planned on doing Rise of Skywalker but now the danged thing won't let me access the movies...It keeps saying, 'wifi connection lost' but the tablet lets me access everything else, and those things require wifi...Weird, and frustrating!

Well, whatever...I'm pooped anyways so I'm going to hop into the shower, then go to bed.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


August 25th, 2022

As I write this I should be asleep...but it's too loud! It's one of those nights where the youngsters are restless and loud – and yes, I said 'youngsters' (ha ha). I'm almost 45 years old for crying out loud.

These days are flying by and I can't believe I've been here almost a month. Today was easy going and I watched the second Transformers movie, which, I have to say, I enjoyed it much more than the first one. Then I watched The Hangover which was sooooo funny! I couldn't stop laughing even though I've listened to it a gazillion times. But seeing it really brings it up several notches.

After that I watched a really interesting TED TALK video that combined animation and introspective dance. There are tons of TED TALK videos on the tablet and I'm going to try to catch one or two before I wind down for the day. I always close my night out with music...I downloaded The Cure's Bloodflowers album today, and a few songs.

Well, I'm going to try to get some sleep.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


August 28th, 2022

Sunday...As I write this I'm waiting on a legal visit before the start of the hearings tomorrow. They should also be dropping off dress clothes for me as well. I found out on Friday that the court wanted me in dress clothes, which was surprising, but nice to be able to look normal.

I'm a bit nervous, but it's natural. I just keep thinking, “Wow...this month went by so fast! I left Polunsky a month ago!”

Yesterday I watched Dumb and Dumber with Taffy, and it lifted my heart when I called her afterwards and she was still laughing! A bit later I watched Star Wars: Solo which I actually really enjoyed. I don't know why fans must be so precious...The younger actor playing Hans Solo did a really good job, and the movie hit all of the marks that makes it Star Wars.

It's a bit later now and I had a good legal visit today, and everyone is excited about tomorrow. I'm nervous, but ready.

They day really flew by...I had a god day, a movie date with my Taffy, and then watched Edge of Tomorrow and an episode of The Big Bang Theory.

Here's hoping the hearings go well! I'm as ready as I'll ever be.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


August 31st, 2022

My hearings concluded today, and I can say with all honesty that it's been a long and exhausting process for all concerned. But it was a very productive and interesting few days, and to sum it up, we put on two full days of witness testimony from people that knew the judge and worked with him, and who testified that he was not only a racist in his private life, but that he expressed those things towards me about my being Jewish, during my trial. Not only that, but he also expressed before, during, and after my trial that his only conclusion for me was the death penalty. Never mind how you feel about me, my case, or whether or not you think I'm innocent, although I can provide a mountain of evidence and proof that I wasn't a shooter – much of it is already posted on my website. The question at hand is a Constitutional one: Did I have my fundamentally guaranteed Constitutional RIGHT to a fair trial? Don't cherry pick the Constitution...If you believe in it then you should believe that I should have a fair trial. The evidence is abundantly clear that I didn't, and couldn't have.  

The second day of my hearings was more 'academic' in that we had three experts: two on anti-Semitism, and one on judicial bias. They all came to the conclusion that the judge was a bigot and he was biased, and I could not have had a fair trial.  

Today, the state had their three witnesses...One, a Jewish 'friend' of the trial judge; another was my trial attorney, and the other a bailiff present at the time of my trial. The first witness – the friend – was a hot mess. It was clear that this guy wasn't 'right'. He either believed a lot of what the judge believed, or he was clueless...The hearing judge even asked him a simple yes or no question. She said,  

“Do you believe a person that uses the n-word regularly is racist?” There was a long pause before he answered and then he said, “No...it depends on how it's used.”

My jaw dropped! It took the air out of the room...I literally thought, “What the eff?”

My trial attorney was helpful in a way. I thought it'd be difficult, but actually he was quite pleasant and even said that he didn't believe I deserved the death penalty.  

The third witness – a bailiff at the time of my trial – said he hadn't seen anything with the judge that stood out to him at the trial. That's all that was said, and after that it was all done.  

During the hearings I was able to wear regular clothing which was nice. The bailiffs were kind and professional and overall, while emotionally draining, I feel good going forward. What happens next is that the State and my team have to submit new 'fact findings and conclusions' to send to my judge, based on the hearings. The judge will then weigh everything up and she will have to give a new recommendation for or against a new trial, to the CCA. This should happen around mid-November. After that, we wait on a final decision from the CCA. Who knows how long that will take??

I feel good though. It was a really good three days that allowed us to present even more evidence as well as new evidence that came to light in recent weeks. Now I can breathe a bit, enjoy my time in Dallas – who knows how long it will take to get back to Livingston? - with my Taffy, and friends.  

Tonight I'm re-watching the new Doctor Strange movie. That  movie is nuts! Really bonkers. I liked it though, it just requires a re-watching with so much going on in it. Then I'll probably watch the new Bill and Ted movie.  

Really, I want to just decompress, and process everything that happened in the last few days, and breathe...

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.  


September 2nd, 2022

My time in Dallas is coming to an end...I went to rec at 7.30am and was out until around 9.20, came back to my cell, got my tablet and panicked because it only had 22% charge on it. It didn't get charged last night! I asked a guard to charge it and he told me “no” so I called Taffy explaining the situation and then as we talked, a nurse showed up to give me a COVID test in readiness for going back to Polunsky. My heart sank!  

Now, because it's a holiday weekend I wouldn't expect to return until Tuesday, but it's not outside the realm of possibilities that I could go back this weekend. All I do know is I'm headed back soon. I'd have liked just a little more time but I keep telling myself it's okay....I WILL be back in Dallas! I just need to be patient.  

Then another guard offered to charge my tablet, so it's charging now as I write this.  

Last night I watched Captain Philips and Top Gun (the original). Top Gun still holds up and I really enjoyed Captain Philips as well. If I'm here for the weekend I have about 3 more days to watch movies and I'm not sure what I want to watch.  

I just received my tablet back and it's fully charged now so I should be good for the rest of the day. I hope! It's wild that they  might be sending me back to Polunsky so quickly, but it is what it is and at least my stay here was pleasant and positive.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.  


September 4th, 2022

September is already moving by quickly. It's what could be my last Sunday here and I'm doing my best to use up the movies I had downloaded before I leave. Amazingly, I squeezed in 4 movies yesterday and still had battery juice to spare. The day before, one movie just about killed the battery. The tablet is weird!

So, on Friday I watched Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, which was so funny. Yesterday I did A Quiet Place 1 and 2 with my Taffy, and then I watched Tenant and The Bourne Identity. Today I'm doing It's a Wonderful Life with Taffy, and after that I'm not sure. Instinctively I feel like tomorrow is my last day here, but it would be nice for a couple of extra days.

Well...My tablet wasn't charged again...Very frustrating, but the officer did take it back and put it in the charging cabinet, so hopefully it'll all be good in a little bit. I don't want to miss out on my movie date with Taffy today – that would suck!

It's later now...I think there's something wrong with this tablet...It had been charging over 3 hours and it was barely at 64%. I went ahead and asked for it because that's at least enough time to do calls and watch a movie. If by 5pm I'm not below 40% I think I can squeeze in another one. My battery stats says it's good for 13 hours but I don't trust it. We shall see.

It's night time now...Watching It's a Wonderful Life just about zapped my battery, but I had just enough juice to get in World War 2 a little while ago, and then I shut it off at 12% battery life. I can only hope the thing gets a full charge tonight. 13 hours battery life, my butt!

It's been a rowdy evening here but it's calmed down a little now. I'm just waiting on the night shift so I can shave. I look like a lumber jack right now! Then I'll go to bed. I'm sitting here wondering if tomorrow is my last day in Dallas – it could be. It'll be this week for sure. Why else would they give me a COVID test and then let me wait just so I could catch COVID?!? No...It'll be in a day or so. I'll probably have to nap a bit tomorrow in case I have to stay up all night in a holding cell like last year. I suppose I'll know tomorrow night.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


September 6th, 2022

I'm back at Polunsky Unit...Today was the road trip from hell! My body still feels like it's moving, and a bit on the tender side, but here I am in in the exact same cell I left a month ago, and at least I already have my property.

So, last night I really thought I was going to stay another day. I had my 'magic hour' with my Taffy in the afternoon, started the movie Deep Water Horizon (sooo good!) a little after 4pm, and then paused it at 5pm to call my friend, Clinton, but he didn't answer. I went back to the movie and when it ended and it looked like my tablet battery was holding up, I started the movie The Circle (which was a bit 'meh') and when that finished I was still doing good on juice so I started another movie Venom, and that was pretty cool. That all wrapped up around 10pm and so I did a few emails and decided to hand my tablet in and call it a night. Unfortunately, it was super rowdy so I didn't fall asleep until after midnight, but I felt I was safe for another day because last year they told me to get ready to leave at midnight.

I finally fell asleep, only to be woken up at 2 in the morning to grab my things and it was time to go. I was like, “Crap!”...The guard took me to the same holding area I was in last year and there's nowhere to lay down so I was just forced to stay up until after 6am when the deputies were ready to take me back. It was the same crew for the last two trips. I was chained up and thrown in the back of a windowless van. Well, I could see out the front window but it's not that good a view.

The ride was pure torture! I was bounced, banged and thrown around the back (not seat belted in I should add, because someone in Dallas and in TDCJ for that matter doesn't think an inmate shackled up to where he can barely move as it is, should be in a seatbelt. Let's throw caution to the wind and live on the edge! Yaaaaay!) for a good 2 ½ hours on the ride to Huntsville. I'm not kidding about this, at one point we hit a pot hole and the van bounced and I was airborne, landing hard against my back where the chain was, and it slammed into my spine, sending a jolt of pain through my body. It sicked.

So, we pull into Huntsville a little after 8.30am, and I'm set free, strip searched, and given a pair of boxers to put on and told to sit in a steel cage for a good hour and a half, freezing. Finally we leave, and I'm all shackled up again and thrown into a death trap, and bounced around until we get to Polunsky.

When I got there they dropped me off at the medical building and I was taken to a shower, strip searched again, and locked in until they brought me new clothes. Fortunately, the sergeant was really cool and said I could keep my property from Dallas, and then they'd probably get my other property tomorrow. I was okay with that because my Dallas stuff had my hygiene items.

I went through a check and then as I was walked back to my building, two inmates were on the side walk. The sergeant told them to get out of the way, they were escorting a death row inmate. Then one of the inmates said, “Try not to kill anyone else!” To which the sergeant replied, “Thing is, he didn't kill anyone.” They laughed and I said, “Well it's true!” What can you do? I got in and was told I was going back to my same cell which was a relief. I like this section and cell. I got my stuff from Dallas and to my surprise the sergeant rounded up my other property and dropped it off and said I'd get some laundry soon. I was happy about that.

As I was waiting, everyone asked me how Dallas was and then hit me with tablet questions which I was happy to answer. The rumor now is we may have them by November, and apparently most of 12 building is wired up with only B-Pod left to go. They made a lot of progress in a month!

Well, I did get laundry but no mattress, so tonight I'm sleeping on a freakin' blanket until they can find one for me. What a capper to the day....Ugh.

I'm sure I'll have more to write on the day in coming entries, but right now I miss my Taffy so much and I'm sooooo tired. I'm beyond tired, but I'll get through it. I plan on crashing before ten for sure.

More to come!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


September 7th, 2022

I'm back into the normal routine on Death Row...The only difference this time is that I'm not going to lolligag around and waste months on end waiting on the courts to rule. I'm going to take advantage of the time, get to work, and get into some writing projects I've been wanting to do. But today I've been cleaning my cell, doing laundry that has been sitting in a bag that was in storage for a month, and catching up on things. Having coffee again helps too!

I still don't have a mattress but I talked to the laundry officer and she said she was going to try and find me one, but being that it's already the afternoon I'll probably be sleeping on a blanket again. I could complain about it but I thought this morning about the thousands of people that don't even have that and it shut me up. It's uncomfortable, but I'm still in a controlled environment, with running water, food, and a roof over my head. I'll be fine.

That's really it for today. It does feel strange to change my Dallas routine, and get back into my Polunsky routine. The days drag by  here...It was like that before I could use a tablet, but something about Dallas time just shoots by, even when you have nothing to do like my first dew days there.

They're still extremely short staffed here. Not that I expected that problem to be solved in a month's time, but the guys around me told me they get two days of rec per week, and one day outside every other week...Well, one thing I know for certain when the tablets arrive is that a whole bunch of guys won't be going to rec. They'll be on the phone or playing games, watching movies, or emessaging. I've got everyone pretty hyped up around me talking about things. The rumors are now that we will have the tablets some time in November.

Well...back to the rest of the day!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


September 8th, 2022

Today started off well. Recreation was set up and things were running smoothly. There was also a bit of excitement because Securus was on the pod doing the wiring up and installing the wifi system for the coming tablets. I was going to go outside so I was looking forward to sunshine and fresh air.  

After lunch everything went to crap...A chaos bomb exploded! The guards stopped working and then the outside rec yard was shut down. For a second it looked like I was going to get screwed out of rec, but I was rescheduled for the day room and made it out at 3.30pm, and got back to my cell around 5.30pm. That'll be it for rec until next Monday, which stinks.  

One of my friends over here is going to be moving to A-Pod. He made it to the the faith based program so I'm happy for him and hope he finds success.

As I write this, I'm listening to the Walking Dead and waiting on mail...I hope to have a letter from my girlfriend because I miss her so much, and miss talking to her every day. Sigh...

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.  


September 11th, 2022

It's Sunday afternoon and Field Minister troop is on E-section showing the guys next door one of the Hunger Games movies. He stopped by to talk to me for about an hour, catching me up on things, and I told him all about the tablets and such. He seemed excited and because he spends most of his day on 12 Building, he has already received permission to bring his tablet to work with him so that he can do his letters and make calls while on the move, showing movies or teaching programs. He's happy about that. We're still not looking to receive them on Polunsky Unit until Fall some time.

In fact, for the past few days the technicians have been on my pod installing conduit and wiring. I have a new neighbor that came from A-pod and he told me that A-pod is all finished up with the wifi routers mounted two to each section.

Troop also told me that he would continue to show movies after the tablets arrived for the guys that don't have support to buy movies. The only disappointing thing he shared with me is that the Chaplain is no longer allowing people to donate music and movies to the Tank, or the 12 Building library. He didn't go into details about why, but said it had caused a few problems with some idiots trying to abuse it and get slick...never fails!

It's been a really peaceful weekend, though I'm missing my Taffy like crazy!...I was so spoiled in Dallas and being able to talk to her a few times a day...Sigh...

Because I missed 4 weeks of my Voyager class while in Dallas, I wrote to the program last weekend to see if I could make up the time and continue with the program. I'll find out tomorrow night if that will be allowed, or if I have to start all over again. Troop already told me I could take a couple of other classes when those began, so I'm looking forward to that.

We should have recreation tomorrow and it'll be good to get out of the cell for a while...Everything is going okay, but it still feels weird to be back, but I'm adjusting. I just miss and love my Taffy so much!!! (ha ha).

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


September 12th, 2022

Today I was able to get outside. Because it's an 'even' day with the date, they should've started on two row, so I was expecting to get a start on the day, and get outside in the sun around 3rd round or so, but the guards started on one row first and everyone downstairs slept in, so I was out first anyway. It was fine.  

I enjoyed the cool morning air and watching the sun come up and hearing the birds chirping. I told the guy I was outside with all about the tablets and everything it can do, and explained a little about how to use it. It was funny, because as I was explaining this outside, the Securus people showed up and were putting up conduits on our section. Things are moving along and there is a growing excitement.  

Yesterday evening was quite surprising. The guys around me had told me they showed movies last Friday and they were able to watch two. Well, we didn't expect that Field Minister Troop would show our section a movie so soon after, and when he came and said, “I have Avengers: Infinity War, Transformers, or Hunger Games. What do y'all want to watch?” I jokingly said, “You don't have anything else because I just watched all of those!” Then my neighbour said, “Keep rubbing it in our face, Randy.” (ha ha). Everyone decided on Transformers which I have to admit was pretty cool seeing it on a huge flat screen TV.  

So...Today I'm missing my Taffy so much! I know I don't get into details about my personal stuff in our relationship, but having had a month of time – in real time – back in Dallas, just further cemented my heart in everything, and I'm really blessed and lucky. There's nothing in the world I wouldn't give up to have those moments again, and I know they'll come again, I just have to be patient. I'm just one lucky dude and I really miss the laughs and the calls and sharing things. We teased each other a lot, talked all sorts of things, and I just really realised how fortunate I was during that time and what I want in my life going forward. I think at times, especially based on past relationship experiences, you wonder about things, get scared, and worry about how life gets in the way, or it won't work out or the thousand other fears and sometimes it causes me to do or react in dumb ways that kind of self sabotages things. It's a selfish form of self-preservation, but I thought, “No...not this time around. No way am I going back to dumb ways and this is what I want.” I've been thinking about it all weekend and I'm just sure and I know...I know this is what I've been looking for all of these years. I'm incredibly fortunate and blessed...I have a family and I feel a part of a family, surrounded by love. I just hope she knows how much I love her and can't wait for a new life and journey far away from this past life of mistakes, being on death row, and not really having any direction or goals until Taffy came along. I have purpose now, and I'm ready to explore that purpose with her.  

Tonight is Voyager class and I had to write to make sure I can continue on with the class. I'll be disappointed if I can't, but there are going to be other classes that start soon, like, Overcomers and another version of Voyager that I'm going to take. I'm looking forward to it. Still, I'd really like to complete the current class I'm taking.  

I'm trying to get moved out of this cell. I don't mind where I'm at and I'd really hate to give up my Saturday night call, but I don't like being in the corner cell. I can't really see the day room when the movies come on and it gets hot and stuffy over here because the air flow is jacked up. We'll see if I get moved today or not at all.  

That's about it for the day!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.  


September 16th, 2022

Today is the first day this week that I've had time for myself, and a chance to get things done. It's been a great week, but a week of  madness! It started on Monday when I asked if I could get moved from 84 cell to an open cell on the other side of the pod. I was in a great section...Everyone got along, it was quiet, and I could actually get a lot done because there wasn't a lot of noise or distractions. But some of my friends wanted me on the other side of the pod so they could spend time with me in case the courts ruled in my favor, and I ended up leaving death row. Also, 84 cell was in the far corner of the section and I couldn't see the day room and could barely see the movies when Troop would bring in the TVs.  

Well, the day of my birthday – 45 years old – started off nicely. Dude's were sending me treats and snacks left and right. I have to say that this birthday I probably received more food and snacks than I've ever received in 19 years on death row. I was ready to burst!

While I was in the day room at recreation, I was told my request went through and I was moving to 19 cell. The guys I lived around were sad to see me go, but I was happy because that cell is what we call 'Prime Real Estate'...I can see the sunrise, and can see the dayroom perfectly, and when Troop brings the TVs there'll be one right in front of my cell. I was moved fairly quickly, got settled in to my new cell, and it was spotless so I didn't spend much time cleaning it up. A good sweep and wipe down of everything was all it took.  

My plan for Wednesday was to catch up on my Voyager class because I was told I could make up the lessons I missed while in Dallas and I wouldn't have to start the class all over. I was so relieved at this news. I've also enrolled in another class called 'Overcomers' that deals with addiction. This class begins next week so I know I'll be fairly busy in coming weeks. There'll be one more class that begins next month that I've just signed up for, so soon I'll be taking three classes.  

Well, of course my plans for Wednesday blew up. They ran recreation which none of us expected, then, everyone around me was asking me a gazillion questions about the tablets, so I spent an entire day at the door speaking everything down to them. I get it...now that Securus is actually on the building installing conduit and wiring, it's no longer speculation or even negativity like, “Yeah, I'll believe it when I see it.” It's very real now...You can feel the excitement in the air. It could still take another couple of months to finish, but these guys know it's coming soon.

By the end of Wednesday, I was worn out and just didn't get anything done.  

I thought Thursday would be better...I even skipped out on rec so I could spend the day catching up. Didn't happen. As guys came from other sections to rec in our dayroom, I was at the door all day long answering questions. But hey, I don't mind. These guys need to know these things, to be able to tell friends and family what to expect, how to work out a budget for phone calls and entertainment and to quash rumors and speculation about what the tablets can or can't do.

Today, I can finally catch up. There's no rec, and no interruptions, so I've been a man on a mission. As soon as I finish this entry I'll begin my Voyager work. I've not even listened to the radio today.  

I wanted to take a second to thank everyone who sent birthday wishes and greetings to me. Taffy sent me a massive pile of messages, and I was so moved! To have people tell me they hope it's my last birthday on death row, means so  much to me. I'm beyond grateful for the kind words and support. You have all made it a very special birthday for me and I have to say it's been one of the best ones I've had since being here. I took it as a sign...I mean, I never thought I'd make it past 32 years old, let alone making it to 45 years old. It's blessing! I joke about getting old, but honestly, I don't feel it. Yeah, I'm bald and no longer have my boyish good looks, but I do feel blessed. I do want to do right by these years I've been fortunate enough to have...and should I be blessed with more years, well, they won't be wasted. That's why I'm doing everything I can to set myself up for success now. So, thank you for the birthday greetings.  

It's time to get to work so I'll end this here for the day.  

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.  


September 18th, 2022

It's a bright and brilliant – but very warm – Sunday morning, and I'm up fairly early...I usually sleep in until after 7am on a Sunday, but I was up at 6 waiting to see if they were going to do showers or rec because you just never know these days. There's no kind of schedule at all. Yesterday they were so short staffed that the sergeants were the ones running the showers. Today they're doing neither, but, Troop has showed up super early to start movies on C-section, and then he'll be here next. I think he's doing a double feature. My section has already decided we're going to watch Avengers: Endgame, but it's over 3 hours long so we might only get one movie over here. I'm cool with that!

Thank G-d this weekend I was able to put my head down and catch up on everything I needed to. It's been a quiet weekend with no interruptions. On Monday I'm going to begin work on a new collection of writings I'm calling, “Up And All Over” because it won't be a particular theme like other collections I've done. I'm going to mix it up with some poetry that has never been on my website, as well as new memoir short stories – 100% never seen content. I've been thinking about it for a while and I'm excited about it. I'm also getting back to working on my second full length Memoir I'm going to call “Away From The Sun” about my time in prison, and the true story of the escape – I'm not doing the escape portion until I'm done with all of my legal stuff though...That's a no-brainer.  

I've got a little information on the coming tablets for Polunsky Unit and Death Row. Some of it mirrors my experience in Dallas and I was trying to warn these guys that this would happen, but few believed me saying, “Dallas isn't TDCJ” and that is true, but a lot of these systems do mirror one another and I fully expect TDCJ to be tighter on things than Dallas.  

Okay...It's been confirmed that the e-messaging system will be the  main line of communication. Jpays will cease to exist and the mail room will no longer pass out paper copies of the Jpays to inmates once the e-messaging begins on Polunsky Unit. What sucks is that if you write someone overseas, they will not be able to use the e-messaging system, and as of now, we won't be able to call overseas so it's back to the dark ages and using snail mail as the main line of communication.  

My only suggestion is sending letters (don't be lazy and do a petition – petitions are always a waste of time and never, ever work...send an actual letter) as well as sending emails to Securus to open their network to overseas. It makes zero sense that overseas could use Jpay before the tablet system was implemented, but now they won't be able to.  

From what we're hearing about the phone call app and calls...For restrictive housing (Ad-Seg) and Death Row, we will only be allowed to call 10 approved phone numbers that are in the United States. No overseas calls. No Skype numbers or other over the internet forwarding platforms. General Population has the ability to call up to 30 phone numbers. I don't know if attorney numbers count as part of the ten numbers, but people are complaining about this already.  

More information is on the way, but I suggest that if you don't like what is coming in terms of the restrictions in using the tablet, be proactive and get on the ball now.  Don't sit around complaining, because if there's no fuss, this will become established and it will be even more difficult to get TDCJ to reverse particular policies. Send the letters NOW.  

That's pretty much what's been going on this weekend. I'm not looking forward to a heat wave that is on the way...I wish autumn would just get here!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.  


September 20th, 2022

As I write this it's 6.53pm on a Tuesday night...The movie Forrest Gump is playing on the Tank and so I'm listening to that.

On Sunday, Troop showed our section two movies! We were expecting to watch Avengers: Endgame, but he didn't bring it and so we settled on Fast And The Furious 4, and Hunger Games: Girl On Fire (Part Two of the series). A squabble started over either all Fast And Furious or all Hunger Games, so my neighbor and I said “Why not compromise? One of each.” Everyone agreed and I stood at the door for 5 hours!

In my new cell I have a complete unobstructed view of the TV. When I was in 84 cell I couldn't see much, but now it's like being at the movie theatre. I loved it. Both  movies were good and Hunger Games Part 2 is far better than Part One.

Yesterday we had recreation. Everyone around me skipped out on rec so I was first out at 6am. I was okay with that because I could get to my day after. I'm just relieved I'm caught up on everything.

Monday night I had Voyager class and did my lesson for the week. By my calculation I should finish the class by November and then I'll have my certificate.

Today has been quite peaceful and I hope tomorrow will be the same.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


September 25th, 2022

It's a quiet Sunday morning as I write this. I'm trying to get everything wrapped up before it gets crazy when the football games start. But right now I'm loving the peacefulness of the morning. Lunch came awfully early – 8.45am – and I guess that was 'brunch'. It's hard not wanting to get into my locker and eat a snack, but we're coming up on yet another lockdown. This time it will be a lonnnnnng unit wide lockdown, and the rumors are it can come at any time – maybe this week.

On Thursday I visited with my attorney which was nice. Everyone feels cautiously confident that everything will work out. My attorneys reiterated how my hearings went far better than we could ever have imagined, and in a lot of ways gave the CCA much more than they bargained for or asked for. When I hear this from my team I feel confident because they have never told me what I've wanted to hear and they've never made promises. I asked that of them early on...As long as I know they're fighting and did their best, I could accept that, but if they were just filling me full of fluff and nonsense....well....I wouldn't be happy. When they say they feel good, it means they feel good! Still, prayers are needed and I take one day at a time.

I want to wish everyone a very Happy Jewish new year, and 'L'Shana Tova!' May it be sweet and healthy. I'll do some special prayers tonight and take it easy tomorrow.

Here's looking at a great and promising new year, and new week, that will lead into a new month!

L'Shana Tova!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


September 29th, 2022

L'Shana Tova! I pray that everyone is blessed in this Jewish New Year, and full of hope for the things to come.

It's been an interesting couple of days. I don't know what happened yesterday but it was one of the loudest and rowdiest days we've had in a long time. The thing is, it had nothing to do with the guards this time. We had recreation and things ran smoothly on time. I went outside first round and did some exercises and enjoyed the morning air and sunrise. Then I came back in, and went straight to the shower and kept a sort of weekend routine because it was a holiday for me. I just wanted to relax and enjoy the day, get some sweet snacks (no apples or honey in prison) and bring in the new year. But it was crazy loud. Every single round of recreation was so much noise, and it seemed to get louder as the day went on.

Around 5pm another officer came in and told a bunch of people on my section that they were moving cells. In fact, I'm the only one not moving around because I just moved a couple of weeks ago. Because of that phone calls and mail were disrupted too, and guys weren't happy with that.

Securus showed up this morning and they've started wiring the pod for wifi boosters, and that created a lot of chaos! It's been madness but I put my head down and I'll get through it. I've got a lot to do and I have to do two classes on top of my own private projects. The good thing about being busy is that it keeps my mind off the stress of this environment.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


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