Oh yes, I have been “really messed up” on drugs, but that is not what this is about. Thank God, I have been clean now for 15 years, and I have put the awful experience to good use … part of my education enabling me to help so many now.
The first time I experienced the high I am talking about was in ’81 or ’82 when I got my client out of prison. He was the first client in Delaware sentenced under the new “mandatory minimum” law. It’s a long story, but he got 5 years mandatory, and I, using my persistence and ingenuity, got him our within a few weeks … a free man. He was one of only 2 clients I had who went to prison, and nobody could have saved him: he bought drugs from the State Police in a room wired by the State Police with the State police in the next room. I had several more such highs while practicing: keeping my client out of prison in the face of a tough prosecution.
But one of the best was while I was in prison. An inmate named XXX was lucky enough to land in the isolation cell next to mine for about 18 months. Then we were neighbors in another building for about a year. I got to know him well. He had been in since the ’70s, more than 40 years, and had endured every hell imaginable in prison. The worst of his problems was the awful medical “care”. I helped him file a “Section 1983” lawsuit in Federal Court, and it went well. Although I had advised him repeatedly NOT to settle [because if he had a half decent attorney appointed to represent him he could have won millions], after I left prison he settled for over $50,000.00. The high is knowing that he got a little justice for what he had been through. I have been trying to get him released for more than 9 years now, and still trying, but it is a remarkably difficult case.
Another big high was getting three inmates out before I left. Working from my isolation cell, for a bag of coffee, I prepared about 30 Applications for Commutation – 30 bags of coffee -, the process to seek early release. Three of them left before I did, and several more were granted later.
I have 15 or 16 Applications for Clemency or Commutation pending in several states, a few in Delaware, and I am really, really curious as to whether some will succeed; they too are extraordinarily difficult cases, but possible. When I win one of those, it will be a great high indeed.*
If you have achieved some considerable success in overcoming a super difficult hurdle, or done something really well which greatly helped someone else, you know what I am talking about. Keep going for more such highs!
- UPDATE 3/28/20 = Since writing this I have won all but one such Application! 🙂