Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Even if you aren’t celebrating, please join me in taking a moment to create a list of a few things we are grateful for. I am grateful for:

My parent’s unconditional love.
McKarious’s romantic love.
All of the continued friendship of those who have stuck with me.

I could express my gratitude for other, material, things but people are of the most importance to me so that will be my short list.

Some important updates:

We are currently in our 2nd week of quarantine here at OCC. A week and a half ago they came around and offered everyone Covid 19 tests. They found out there were far more people with it than they thought. So far they are reporting 112 positive results with over 100 still awaiting results. After sitting in a room with 3 people who turned out to be positive, I finally got my results last Thursday.

I tested negative but I think that is only because I had been sick with it 2 weeks earlier and gotten over it. I was so low energy for 3 days that, other than going to chow, I stayed in bed the whole time. The last of those days I had sever headaches. I never lost my sense of taste or had a cough or trouble breathing but my buddy Jay did and we hung out all the time.

Once I got my negative test I figured I could relax and settle in because they would move the positive guys out. However, there were so many positives that they couldn’t quarantine them all in the housing unit they were using so they decided to turn C wing, where I lived, into the Covid ward. That meant that, after telling me I was negative, they handed me garbage bags and told me to pack up because I was moving. (Yes, in prison you pack by throwing everything into garbage bags and dragging them to your new accommodations.) I am still in housing unit J3 but I am now in B wing, which used to be a bunch of trouble makers who were very anti-sex offender but many of those guys tested positive and were moved into C wing.

I was 2 weeks away from finishing my last groups to graduate the iHelp program but it seems that the treatment staff are waving those last couple of weeks. I have turned in my last Self-Assessment project and should be done now. Because of that, I expect that I won’t be moved back into C wing even once quarantine is lifted. B wing may get off lockdown next week but I doubt C wing will be opened up any time soon as that’s where they keep putting people who test positive. So, I’m glad I didn’t refuse to get tested, like Jay did, and ultimately got moved out of C wing.

Another piece of news is that the District Court judge made a decision in my lawsuit to get 191 good time properly applied to my parole date. He was retiring at the end of Oct. and he knew that the case would get appealed to the NE Sup. Court no matter who won so I believe he didn’t want to take a position against the state and he decided in favor of NDCS. I was shocked and disappointed but after reading his decision it’s clear that he just didn’t want to make any big decision knowing that it would go to the Sup. Court either way. There is a legal standard that says that if an interpretation of a law leads to an absurd result it couldn’t have been the intent of the legislature. The judge, Colborn, literally said that someone becoming parole eligible after they are mandatorily discharged is not “so absurd” as to not have been the intent of the legislature. This violates previous Sup. Court decisions so I’m not worried about the eventual outcome when they hear it.

The final surprise in the lawsuit is that the ACLU informed me that they will not handle the appeal. From the date of the decision, I had 1 month to file for the appeal and 2 weeks into that month they told me they weren’t going to represent me in the appeal. Given that things take a LOT longer when I have to type up legal documents, email them to my dad who prints them and mails them back to me, then I sign them (and have to wait until a Thursday if they need notarized) and mail them back to him, and finally he has to file them with the court. Add to all of that the fact that we then went on quarantine AND my dad had surgery last week, we would not have been able to file the appeal in time so the ACLU filed for us and now aren’t responding to any attempts to contact them. *sigh* I guess it shows that you should not rely on anyone else. *grrr*

I will write my own brief to the Sup. Court, which is probably best anyway as no one else knows the ins and outs of the arguments better than I do. I will also be the one to make oral arguments before the Sup. Court. I guess I’ll put my years of Debate experience to the test. *grin* I’m not too worried about that. What worries me is that I may miss some technical requirement or that the state may make some squirly technical argument that I respond to in properply and that my case gets thrown out because of it. The good news is that there should be an absolutely final decision in the next 6-9 months. *sigh of relief*