I have heard—and I believe it—that the worst thing about being under a death sentence is knowing that that date is coming, facing a date certain, watching the explicit number of days you have left become smaller and smaller and smaller until.
So death penalty lawyers fight for every minute of time, for every chance they might find something that might get their clients another minute of time:
From here on, the lawyer’s job is to be creative. Investigate again. Search for the really unlikely. Float whatever. And put together the clemency pitch. Because, as we say in this business, once in a while pigs do fly. And because what the hell.
People fight because as long as we are fighting there is hope, and without hope we might as well be already dead. Lawyers fight because that’s what we do.
But that’s not what happened in Raphael Holiday’s case. Raphael Holiday’s lawyers, Wes Volberding and Seth Kretzer, stopped fighting.
Well, they didn’t stop fighting. They just stopped fighting for Holiday, but they fought to keep Holiday and lawyer Gretchen Sween from fighting:
Volberding and Kretzer opposed the motion and sent Sween a letter threatening to seek sanctions if she did not stay away from their client.
I’d love to know what the basis is for those sanctions. Mr. Holiday had the right to talk to other lawyers, and seek other counsel. Ms. Sween had the right to talk to Mr. Holiday, and to help him seek other counsel. I can think of no reason for threatening sanctions.
Maybe they had a reason to stop fighting for their client. Why did they stop fighting for their client?
“We decided that it was inappropriate to file [a petition for clemency] and give false hope to a poor man on death row expecting clemency that we knew was never going to come,” Volberding said in a telephone interview.
Volberding and Kretzer took away hope. They decided to take away hope. They decided it was time for their client to just give up and agree to be dead. They made decisions that were not theirs to make.
Here‘s the full discreditable story.