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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Spring Forward -- March 15, 2014

Daylight Savings Time began this week moving clocks forward and leaving me behind. Despite spring being a week away, it still felt like mid-winter with temperatures below freezing and a snow storm. I received a dozen letters yet all were post dated from early February except for a letter from my attorney. She asked me about inquiries from the Illinois Innocence Project and why I have not written in some time although my appeal has languished in her hands for 5 years. James Degorski was in the news after winning nearly half a million dollars for being beaten by guards at the Cook County Jail which reminded me of my time there and when I was reported to be the mass murderer. The Soviet Union which broke apart about a year before my arrest seemed set to retake east Europe under a new belligerent regime recreating the cold war I knew as a child. People have sprung forward an hour in time, however, within these prison walls it seems I have been left in the past weeks, months, or numerous years.

Sunday morning I slept late forgetting to change my watch the night before. I only watched ten minutes of television news, however, I did notice on a ticker tape that James Degorski was awarded $451,000 from a lawsuit against Cook County Jail guards who broke his jaw when beating him. In 2002, Degorski along with Juan Luna were charged with the murder of 7 people at a Brown's Chicken restaurant in Palatine, Illinois. I am not surprised that one of them was assaulted at the jail where some staff seek to administer their own retributive justice. When I was arrested in 1993 in connection to the mass murder, I was roughed up by interrogators for two days and then greeted by a few guards at the Cook County Jail with hostility. After my conviction in the Fawcett murder, I recall yet another guard saying he hoped I was executed. I did not understand his animosity, but thought I could only wish to get the death penalty.

For the most part, staff at the jail were sympathetic, however, and I was not singled out for any vigilantism. I can only speculate that despite receiving ten times the amount of negative publicity, guards could see through the sensationalistic reporting.   I may have been oddly quiet, but this was a far cry from the horrifying monster commonly depicted in the media. The Cook County Jail has over 10,000 detainees mostly from the inner city of Chicago. Although I was on TV almost every day, I tend to believe I stood out more for being a clean cut white teenager than a mass murderer. The violence I dealt with in the jail was mainly from gangs and various other hoodlums awaiting trial rather than guards.

On the heels of Degorski's half million dollar award was a class action suit filed by Northwestern University's legal department. The lawsuit accuses guards at the Cook County Jail of pervasive brutality and abuse. Although Sheriff Tom Dart vehemently denies the claims, I am inclined to believe them. In the early 1990's, conditions were poor and detainees could be the victim of excessive force or even unprovoked brutality. The vast amount of violence encountered in the jail was from those being held there, however, as in the IDOC this has probably changed. Thousands of new guards have been hired and security has grown exponentially. The relative freedom inmates once had is gone and the oppression men live under is greater than at any time I have been incarcerated.

Other prisoners heard about James Degorski winning his lawsuit and it was repeatedly brought to my attention. At the chow hall, Steve predicted he would receive little of the money. First, his attorneys would take a third for their salaries. Then the remaining $200,000 would be seized by the IDOC for "room and board". It was preposterous but the courts are allowing the state to take prisoners' money and assets for the costs of their own incarceration. The same attorneys who represented the guards in the civil suit have said they will also represent the victim's families in gaining some of the award money. Steve believes there will be little if nothing left.

Later in the week I was talking with "The Elephant" on the yard. Since he was moved to the quarter unit again, he has been searching for a friend. I did not particularly like the fat man and he was annoying me while I did headstand pushups off a steel table. Initially, he was asking me about his leg pain. It was almost certainly sciatic pain from a herniated disk, but the hypochondriac thought it could be a myriad of serious health problems including bone cancer. Eventually, he brought up the lawsuit he had won against the IDOC for keeping him in a cell without any working plumbing for over a week. Unlike Degorski, the state could not touch any of the money because it was punitive damages. The court was punishing the IDOC for their actions and to allow them to just retake the money would not serve any purpose. The Elephant inquired if I would help him invest the $10,000 in stocks, however, I knew he had no intention of doing so. That money would be quickly spent on commissary food.

Some family members continue to seek out my advice on stock market investments despite not caring to help me financially with attorney or private investigator expenses. Possibly, they think I have nothing better to do with my time and studying corporate reports keeps my mind preoccupied. I went over one person's portfolio and discovered they had a large amount of money invested in British Petroleum. The energy major may be a British company, but it has significant ties with Russia. About a quarter of their oil production comes through their minority ownership in Rosneft. When or if NATO responds to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, there will be an exchange of economic sanctions and BP will be a big loser. I advised selling the stock at $50 a share and moving the money from the sale to Shell or Chevron.

The White House continues to astound me with their naivety and lack of action. It is now certainly known that Vladimir Putin was making plans to seize Crimea during the Olympic Games and it was not a spontaneous use of the military. The Pentagon also must be fully aware the buildup of Russian forces on the land bordering Ukraine is a prelude to an invasion which could advance to the Dnieper or all the way to the Carpathian Mountains. I almost laugh when I hear Putin say the troop movements inside Russia are nothing the West should be concerned with. When tens of thousands of soldiers are assembled on a border with supply lines it is not just for military practices. It reminds me of the movie Star Wars where Obi Won Kenobi tells storm troopers, "These are not the droids you are looking for" and waves his hand hypnotizing them. Does Vladimir Putin know the mind tricks of "The Force" or is the president of the U.S. that stupid?

During the week I sat down at a table in the chow hall with Lunchbox, a real mental midget. Last month he asked me to find out about a prisoner who is rumored to be a child molester. I do not usually sit with him nor the people he acquaints with and he was interested in my motives. I told him I had the information he requested, but was not going to let everyone at the table listen. This made the other four convicts uneasy, however, I did not care. In fact, if they were made uncomfortable it may demonstrate they also had skeletons to hide. Later when a guard yelled for prisoners to exit and I was alone with Lunchbox, I told him that Malinowski was convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a minor under 13 who was mentally retarded even more so than himself.

I already suspected John was a child molester based on his demeanor, however, I had to be certain. I never want to pass on false information or rumor about other prisoners particularly of this sort. Like James Degorski, it could make him the target of vigilante justice. I do not think pedophiles should be executed or even receive decades of prison time like some inmates or those in the general public believe. However, if some corporal punishment came his way, I would not be terribly upset. There are a lot of loathsome creatures in the IDOC, yet I have a little extra disdain for this man because he is apparently of Polish descent. I have higher standards of character for people who share my ethnic background, and because there are few of us incarcerated, it has the propensity to make us all look bad.

Monday evening I watched Venezuelan Juan Pablo Galavis give out his final rose in the season finale of The Bachelor. The media and show's producers did not like him not proposing or even saying the words "I love you". However, I had renewed respect for the South American. Out of the last group of women, he picked Nikki, the same girl I would have chosen to continue dating and not marrying. It was ingenuous and unrealistic to believe a man could develop such strong feelings over a short period of time. Some men may never have them and to choose a wife during a TV show was unwise. If a person is smart they will continue courtship off camera and see what this leads to. It may not be dramatic television, but it is the sensible thing to do.

I only watched half a dozen of the Bachelor episodes this season. Not only was I disappointed in the choice of the bachelor but the women. On the first show, I told my cellmate I would have immediately eliminated all of them except for maybe five. Just out of the limousine on the first episode, I would have told them to turn around and go back home. Anthony thinks I am too finicky particularly when I am no longer the man I was two decades ago. Later this year I will be 40, and even if I was not a prisoner, how many young attractive women would be interested in a relationship with me? If I had been smart, I would have married one of the girls I knew in high school and lived with them while I attended studies at a university. Instead, I moved in with my co-defendant and his wife who later framed me for murder.

I have not only greatly aged, but so have my parents. Mid-week, I called my mother to be stunned by some of her stories. First, she tells me two feet of snow fell overnight and some spruce trees on her property are weighted so heavily they are bent over nearly touching the ground. This had to be an exaggeration because although the prison was placed on lockdown due to the snow storm, only half a foot came down at Stateville which is only about 20 miles away from her. Furthermore, the trees had to be at least 20 feet tall now, and regardless of how wet the snow was, it would not cause such big trees to fold over. They were not Charlie Brown Christmas trees. My mother insisted, however, they were about to snap and I said, "Well then get out there and shake the snow off or use a broom!" Any type of physical labor for my frail, old mother seemed like a herculean task and I had to encourage her. Weather news was forecasting 10 degree temperatures for the next couple of days and she could not wait for the snow to freeze on the tree branches.

After listening to the snow "catastrophe," I was told about their dog's medical emergency. He had become extremely ill and my mother had rushed him to the veterinarian. The dog I learned had eaten some indigestible item(s) and this apparently is something he commonly does out of boredom. My parents bought a high energy and rather large breed of dog that requires a lot of exercise. However, because they are old and crippled, the Hungarian hunting dog was a poor choice. The vet gave him medication, but it was obvious to me that my mother needed some help and could not live on her own. As a prisoner with no out date, I was greatly upset that I could do nothing.

Typically, I will get the mail when it is passed out by guards on the 2nd shift because I am sitting on the lower bunk or a box to read and write on the table by the bars. However, on an occasion this week I was using the toilet and Anthony was at the front of the cell. I had a privacy sheet up but could hear the guard joke "and there is one for you." I did not know what she was talking about until I saw my cellmate with a stack of letters. They were all mine and I snatched then out of his hands. I can trust Anthony, but he is a nosy person and I suspected he was reading the names on the return addresses. He claimed he was simply looking at the post dates and putting them in chronological order. They were dated between February 3rd and 7th, over a month ago.

One of the letters was from my father and mentioned the Superbowl along with his troubles rehabbing the log cabin he bought in South Carolina. The house was a foreclosure and because of this needed a number of repairs. My father likes doing this type of work but nearing the age of 70 he is not as physically capable as he once was. Furthermore, instead of buying a small cabin with one or two bedrooms, he bought an enormous one in the countryside with a couple acres of land. He was not going to be able to maintain the place alone. Last year, he said to me when I get out I could come to live with him and have the entire 2nd floor to myself. The problem is my father is living in fantasy land and I will not be released any time soon if at all.

Director Godinez was at the prison this week and I happened to see him on the way back from the personal property warehouse. The director oversees the entire IDOC and is appointed by the governor. He usually is at his offices in the state capital but occasionally tours prisons. Years ago he was the warden at Stateville and he knows some of the staff and even some inmates who have been in the system a long time. As we passed him by, he told the lieutenant to stop for a moment so he could briefly talk with an older prisoner. I may have contemplated requesting to talk with him also, but he could not grant me a pardon only a transfer to a different prison.

Because the director was in town along with other Springfield administrators, there were rumors of the Orange Crush conducting compliance checks. A compliance check is when a prisoner is ordered to put all his property away as if he is going to be transferred. Everything an inmate owns except for a TV and radio must fit in their two plastic boxes. The purpose of this is to see if a prisoner has any extra property. It is a lot easier for guards to search a cell when inmates are limited in how much property they can have. This is more practical at minimum or some medium security penitentiaries where prisoners are only serving ten or fewer years. However, at Stateville many men have been incarcerated for decades and have collected a lot of stuff. They also are reluctant to throw away things they may need in the future. Furthermore, due to lockdowns, prisoners like to stock up on commissary. My neighbor for this reason gave my cellmate about 20 novels he has yet to read, although rumors the SORT was going to conduct compliance checks were not true.

CNN has been advertising a new series of documentaries about prisoners who were exonerated after being sentenced to death. The program was produced by Robert Redford and entitled "The Death Row Stories." The first of these was finally telecast this week and I was greatly disappointed because of the political spin. I suppose I should have known anything produced by Robert Redford and narrated by Susan Sarandon would have a liberal tilt. However, I am tired of the repeated perception they give to the public that it is only the poor, intellectually challenged, or people of color that are denied justice. Injustice cuts across all social and racial lines in the U.S. It is not just one or select groups that are victims. All Americans should know of the dangers they face of being stripped of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Last Saturday I received a letter from my attorney. She asked how I was doing and why I have not written in so long. Although my attorney was not officially hired until the fall of 2009, she has been working or not working as the case may be on my appeal for 5 years. Generally, I do not even think of myself as having any representation. I do not bother to write because it apparently serves no function. However, I needed her to cooperate with the Illinois Innocence Project's inquiries. Hopefully, they will help in some substantial capacity.

Last night, a guard stopped at the cell bars to chit chat when picking up mail. He asked me why I was not coming out. My cellmate sought to be funny and said this was my cocoon. Eventually, when I am ready, I will emerge as a beautiful butterfly. The truth is the penitentiary is very disturbing to me and the more I can disassociate myself with it, the better. Most of my life has passed me by and is gone. The prison cell is not a cocoon but more akin to a life draining sarcophagus. No butterflies emerge from inside the walls of Stateville after 20 or more years. If I am ever permitted to spring forward I will be fortunate to be a well preserved mummy.

40 comments:

  1. LOL well I'm about your age and I think you are attractive.

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    1. Yes I notice he has a tendency to kind of "over-age" himself a bit. Which is probably somewhat understandable in the circumstances and depressed / depressing mindframe and environment. But he kind of talks like he's in or near his retirement yrs or something, oftentimes.

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    2. Exactly I'm almost 40 and so is my husband- not old!

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    3. Paul: you are not old!

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    4. Paul has said basically that he feels his youth has passed him by, which is understandable since he has not been able to live it. I think possibly that is why he laments his age so much, although by any normal standards from regular societal population he is most certainly not old. He is approaching middle-age though, while having missed his 20's and surely his 30's before he is free. But Paul, you are not old, you will still have life left when you get out, and I hope you will be able to find some enjoyment of it. I hope you will be able to live some of your life...free. I think most of your readers feel this way.

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    5. Middle age is not old age.

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    6. Yeah isn't he about 40ish? Not old at all.

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  2. Thanks for another wonderful post.

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  3. Always good to hear from you

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  4. Hi, I`ve been reading for some time and thought i would comment. Wondering if you have enlisted help of autism organizaions? It seems clear that you were judged by lack of emotion, which is not fair.

    I emailed Gov Quinn, however being from NJ not sure my email carries much weight. Lastly, i clicked on your pic to sign the petition but noticed it is addressed to the former Gov.

    Good luck.

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    1. Good.point about the autism organizations. Maybe some of us readers could help.

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    2. Paul's parents are members of the ASA, Autism Society of America. I am sure they solicited help or intervention especially in regard to his placement in max-security, but obviously the ASA was unable to have any influence with the IDOC.

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    3. I do not understand why Paul is still in maximum security after 20 years.

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  5. I admire that you keep your mail and active.

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    1. Sorry I meant to say "keep your mind active"

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  6. Hey so why do you continue to help your family members with investments if they don't help you?

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  7. Here's something Paul may find interesting. Too bad somebody couldn't "put the screws to" these guys while in custody. Find out what really happened that day.
    http://florida.arrests.org/Arrests/Robert_Faraci_4419425/

    http://www.inedc.com/1-576

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    1. Different Dean Faucett though...

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    2. I tried that link--didn't work. Faraci was beating up his wife in Florida and she called the police. He then left the apartment but police caught him in the parking lot. Rose didn't press charges so police released him. How in the world did that make the news? Perhaps Faraci was arrested for something else while in Florida? Faraci has a long rap sheet: he was in prison a few years before Paul met him and after he got away with murder he was again arrested for stealing money from a patron at a restaurant where he was a waiter. The newspapers reported he did another 2 years for that.

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    3. Using your link I found a record of a Robert Faraci arrested. Funny thing is that is NOT a photo of the Robert Faraci that ruined Paul's life! The Faraci who killed Fawcett is nearly bald. He's really short too, like about 5 feet tall. Also he has very pale skin, totally unlike the Faraci in that photo!

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    4. Robert Faraci was losing his hair while we were awaiting trial in the Cook County Jail. Now in his mid-40s, he keeps a bald head. He has always been very short and when he worked at a mafia owned Italian cafe I would yell, "Pan, pan! Make me a pizza!" while pounding my fist on the marble counter top (Little Caesar Pizza commercials were popular then). As for his complexion, it is Mediterranean and I do not know why he would look so pale. Possibly, it is a poor quality IDOC mug shot. They seldomly get the tint correct. My current mug shot is the first in years where my skin color did not match Bart Simpson's.

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    5. Yes different Robert Faraci..check the birthdate, 1962

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  8. No idea if you are guilty or not...but admire your blog.

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  9. Maybe because it seems financial investment is his hobby and true life calling.
    I think he would have and still could be a stock broker or investment banker. A blog reader Breast Cancer Survivor.

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    1. True. Shows that he is honorable too.

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  10. Wonderful blog. I can tell you are very smart.

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    1. Paul's IQ is 151, according to a doctor who testified at his sentencing hearing in 1995. It was only then that the judge learned he was autistic, but yet he still gave him such a ridiculous sentence of life without parole. That judge seemed to enjoy the media attention a little too much. I was glad to learn he is no longer a judge.

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    2. 151. I believe it.

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    3. Actually I heard the judge gave Paul the harsh sentence of life without parole to make an example of him, that he is tough on crime. He wanted to look good because he was up to re-election. It was only after her lost his re-election, he found out Paul was autistic and then deeply regretted giving him a life sentence, but could nothing to reduce the sentence, since he was no longer residing judge.

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  11. "If I had been smart, I would have married one of the girls I knew in high school and lived with them while I attended studies at a university. "

    You think it would have been smart to get married at 17?

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    1. Question for Paul: were you still in high school at the time you were arrested? If not--why were you not in college? I'm surprised that someone with such a high IQ wasn't in college!

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    2. Would you please answer the posts from May 15th and 24th?

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  12. Paul,

    My children are homeschooled and one wants a job in corrections. She follows your blog. Thank you for writing it.

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    1. Neah, tell her not to go into corrections. She will have steady paycheck, sure, steady pay increases, benefits, lifetime security, sure but she will pay, daily, without knowing with something like life energy or something...hard to name that thing one loses when working behind bars. We are fine as humans then a little tragedy here, a little tragedy there, before you know we end up cynics and nothing will ever bring us back to the days of easy laughter. Corrections work makes one cynic right away, and by first 1 year anniversary one wishes he/she never took the job. Great people most guards...great, superb even people...but "spent." All of you reading this...stay in the world, the fake one, the real one behind bars is not for you because you might have kids and they need you at your best not a shell of what you used to be before starting working for corrections. Doctors too get "spent" but at least they know chemistry and how things go...in corrections you have no rules to go by or check to understand why things happen: you just see crushed humans, some unfairly, some unfairly not crushed enough...Corrections should be for robots, period, humans were not engineered to imprison fellow man. And hey, Paul...about investing...I heard the way of the world is the way of the copper...when that thing goes up we get 6 months of good economy. What do you think, the rumor is correct or not?

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    2. She wants to be a GED teacher.

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  13. You deserve the best in life.
    Nice blog.

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  14. Blog readers and followers! Please read comments under post #253 "the invasion of Ukraine" and help Paul

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    1. Can we send money anonymously?

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    2. People can remain anonymous when conducting a wire transfer or sending a money order through JPay. They simply would not use their credit card and make up an alias name. JPay's website contains more information such as the requirement to fill out their form (provided).

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  15. "extra disdain for this man because he is apparently of Polish descent. I have higher standards of character for people who share my ethnic background, and because there are few of us incarcerated, it has the propensity to make us all look bad."

    That's snotty!

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