“In proportion as torments become more cruel,
the spirits of men…. become callous.”
– Cesare Beccaria
In the 8 months I spent in the Snohomish County Jail I did a good deal of soul searching. Although I had become bent on destroying myself I never intended to harm anyone else in the process. And yet I had. There was nothing I could do to give back the security I stole from my victims. There was nothing I could say to undue what I had done. So I decided that the best course of action was to plead guilty and save everyone the inconvenience and expense of a trial. I wanted to take responsibility, to be accountable.
When I got to prison I knew that if I were to make good on the apologise I had made at sentencing I had to make a change in my way of thinking. I took every program available to me. In 2009 I was given a hardship override to WRS. My father had stage 4 prostate cancer. While in jail dad came to visit every week and we had developed a relationship. At WSR I had weekly visits from my parents and I opened up to them about the hardships of my childhood. It was then that I discovered neither of my parents ever knew about the abuse at Home On The Hill. All the hurt and anger I had for my parents apparent abandonment slipped away. I had come back into the fold of my family.
In 2010 with the help of an attorney I started a law suit against the state and the group home. In 2013 we negotiated a settlement. The entire process was extreamly therapeutic. So much about the reasons I struggled in life were revealed to me.
So what does all this have to do with prison and the criminal justice system? I believe it reveals a great deal about self executing laws like our states 3 srikes law. Society is told that the law captures only the worst of the worst and removes them from the community forever to prevent them from committing future most serious violent crimes. The POAA statute proclaims that a person such as myself is unameneable to the treatment of law. The law abolishes individualized sentencing making mitigating factors irrelevant therefore the penaly is fixed by the nomenclature of the crime. In large part the LWOP sentence for 3 strikers is based upon prediction of future conduct. Professor Andrew Von Hirsch, a prolific writer on crime and punishment, has stated: “It is wrong to punish a person for crimes he or she has not yet committed.” I’m inclined to agree, but then again I’m biased.
So that’s it. That’s my story. Who knows what the next chapter of my life holds. I used some of the money I won in the law suit to pay off the principle of my LFO’s and restitution to my victims. I gave my daughters a chunk and invested in my future by hiring a clemency lawyer. I was extreamly lucky to get Maureen Devlin with David B. Zuckerman’s office. The clemency board has granted me a hearing set for March, 2017.
Categories: Michael Hoover