Our Dear Friend Mike Lambrix left us on October 5, 2017
He went from the Darkness to the Light..

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thanksgving with Henry

Mike wrote this blog post November, 2009 - about Thanksgiving on death row and a tribute to his friend Henry Garcia.

Thanksgiving is the traditional American Holiday, the one day of the year when family and friends gather around the table with a feast laid out in abundance and give thanks for the blessings that have been and might yet be endowed upon us. Up until just a few years ago the prison system would recognize Thanksgiving with a special holiday meal of real turkey and all the trimmings, as well as various tasty deserts and we would all look forward to that one meal a year. Weeks and even months ahead of time we would make deals with each other to trade a favorite food such as maybe trade the turkey to someone for their pumpkin pie. Everybody had their favorite food, for me it was the turkey more than anything else. 


But in recent years they’ve all but eliminated the traditional Thanksgiving dinner for prisoners. We haven’t seen real turkey in many years now. The prison system will tell you that they still serve us a “holiday meal” but it’s not like it was before and what they do serve now isn’t worth writing home about.

For this reason many of us will plan ahead and make our own holiday feast by saving up what few extra dollars we can and buy foods off the canteen. Both as a means of communion with those we live among, who have become our surrogate family, and to share costs of the purchases. Many of us will plan ahead with our cell neighbors as we must order the necessary items at least a week ahead of the time on order to get them on time.

This year me and Henry decided we would eat good. Henry’s been my cell neighbor for a few years now, and was my neighbor on another wing before that. But for awhile now Henry has been fighting liver cancer. He’s put up a pretty good fight, which is not a surprise as Henry is a natural fighter and never had an easy life. Born in Texas of Mexican descent, he grew up poor and gave in to the lure of an outlaw at a very young age. Through the years Henry did time in some of the worst state and federal prisons in the country back when doing time meant struggling to survive every day. Yet through these hard years Henry remained one hell of a man, and was quick to share his sense of humor and in all the years I’ve known him, not even once did he have a harsh word to say about anyone.

Neither me nor Henry had any reason to expect a visit over the Holiday weekend. Although we both come from large families, through the years our families slowly drifted away and that’s just how it is, and we accept that. So, when it came to planning our Thanksgiving Holiday each of us became the others “family” and we spent countless hours what we would make to have a holiday meal that was different and special.

Last week and the week before we got the packs of tuna and mackerel to make fish steaks, the Ramen soup so we would use the noodles a make a casserole, with more tuna and assorted packs of potato chips for flavor, with a dill pickle on the side. And that was just for the main course.

It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without a lot of sweets. In past years I would make up a big batch of chocolate treats for everyone on the floor. But between the elimination of many items necessary to make them and substantial increases in the prices of what is now sold, it just is no longer possible. So we pitched in together and bought a Hershey chocolate bar for everyone on the floor so that everyone would at least have a little something.

With meticulous details we planned our meal. In a lot of ways, planning out what we intended to eat was almost as good as the eating itself! First, as an appetizer we would share a box of Ritz crackers, with beef and Jalapeno cheese sticks to go with them. We planned to start at around 10 o’clock that morning, and then around noon we would make up the main course. It would take me a few hours to make the fish steaks, which were a lot like crab cakes, but made with a mixture of tuna fish and mackerel steaks, mixed with crushed Ritz crackers and then seasoned with the spice pack of the Ramen “spicy vegetable soup” and a packet of soy sauce, and a bag of crushed spicy potato chips for flavor. Then coated with a crushed Ritz cracker crust. We would each have two.

The tuna casserole was basically flavored Ramen noodles mixed with tuna fish, a lot of mayonnaise and sweet relish and poured over crushed sour cream onion potato chips, with generous slices of dill pickles.

After having the main course, we planned to each have a Bear-claw pastry for dessert, with a cup of hot chocolate. Although we can only purchase the small envelopes of hot chocolate of the canteen, by adding some coffee creamer and a Hershey chocolate bar, it made a cup of thick hot chocolate which goes really good with the cinnamon and spice bear-claw pastry.


Later in the day we planned for some more sweets and snacks as football would be on TV all day – another Thanksgiving tradition. We had bought a box of Swiss rolls – basically small chocolate covered, crème filled cakes, and we’d make up some big cups of sweet tea to go with it. For later in the day we planned to use up the last big bag of Doritos Nacho Cheese chips I still had, pouring two packs of hot chili with beans over it, then topping it off with numerous packs of melted Jalapeno cheese spread – you just can’t put too much Jalapeno cheese on anything!

Yep, me and Henry planned to eat pretty good this Thanksgiving. Although holidays are meant to spend with family, in here it’s the guys we live around that become our family and we looked forward to sharing it together.

This year Thanksgiving would be on Thursday, November 26. Every year it’s on the last Thursday of November. But for all our meticulous plans it’s always the unexpected that comes along to ruin them.

On Monday our floor had recreation yard and Henry went outside to play volleyball for a few hours. With his health problems, yard usually left him exhausted but he would sleep it off and be ready to go again. Monday was not different and by early afternoon Henry was joking around, as we often do. By dinner he was his usual self, and then we had the thrice weekly showers (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) and nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

After showers the mail comes in and we talked a bit about that it was late on Monday as the guard who normally passes out the mail has the week off. So we didn’t get our mail until around 8.00 PM. Henry said he got one letter, but was concerned as he didn’t hear from his longtime dear friend Liz. I told him that they probably just didn’t pass out all the mail – he’d probably get a letter from her tomorrow.

About an hour later they came around for the nightly “master count” That’s the only time of the day we must each stand up and give our number – not our name, but only our prisoner number as in here that’s all we are – a number. Henry’s cell light was on and he said he was going to write a letter. But when the Sgt got to his cell he found Henry slumped over his table and the end of his bunk and Henry was not responsive. For a few minutes they yelled and banged on his door, assuming he was asleep as that was not uncommon, and the Sgt got on the radio and called for the nurse.

After several minutes Henry responded and awoke, but seemed somewhat out of it and wasn’t able to get up. So the Sgt decoded to send him to the main unit infirmary so they could check him out. This Sgt is a pretty good one and goes the distance to help us out. A few years ago he was working the floor when another guy fell ill and if not for this Sgt quick response in getting this guy out he would have died. Once again, this Sgt (who I am deliberately not naming) was quick to call for medical help.

They brought a wheelchair and Henry got on it and they pulled him out. As he stopped for a moment in front of my cell while they grabbed his photo ID I spoke to Henry and he seemed a bit out of it. But said he’d be right back.

A little while later I caught the Sgt making his rounds and asked how Henry was doing. By that time, he should have been back. The Sgt said that after they pulled Henry out, he started to cough up a lot of blood so they decided to keep him over at the main unit infirmary for the night.

But in the early morning hours just before breakfast the midnight staff came and packed up all of Henry’s belongings. If they expected him right back they would not pack up his property so I knew something was up. Throughout the day I asked others how he was doing and they said he’s not too good and would probably stay over at the main unit infirmary for a few days just to keep an eye on him. But they said they’d save his cell next to me, so I didn’t think much of it.

By Wednesday afternoon those I asked started saying that Henry took a turn for the worse and didn’t look good. Anxiously I squeezed all the information I could from those I knew would know.

Early Thursday morning, Thanksgiving Day, I was told that Henry had died at 2:30 AM, but that he didn’t suffer. I try to tell myself that at least his fight is over and he’s now in a better place and that at least his suffering was not prolonged as only too often it can be with cancer. But somehow it isn’t much of a comfort as he was a good friend and neighbor – he was family.

Just that quickly on Thanksgiving there isn’t much to be thankful for. The plans we made for weeks for our holiday feast now meant little as Henry was gone and so was my own appetite. Instead I spent the day just pacing my floor back and forth, four quick steps to the front then four quick steps to the back, listening to the radio and trying to get my head out of this place.

Then a song came on that made me smile….maybe even a message from Henry to a friend and brother who already greatly misses him. Bob Dylan’s “Knocking on heaven’s door” a song that not so long ago me and Henry sang together. Hearing that song brought tears to my eyes – but I smiled, as just hearing that song, at that particular moment, let me know that Henry’s alright and is now in a better place. Here’s to knocking on Heaven’s door – I will miss you my brother.


Mike Lambrix

Monday, November 13, 2017

Clemency Gone Missing From Florida’s Death Row

Sun Sentinel Editorial Board November 11, 2017

Justice is supposed to be blind, but not as blind as the U.S. Supreme Court when it ruled in 1993 that a Texas death row prisoner — who claimed to be innocent, but had run out of appeals — should look to the governor to save his life.

“Executive clemency,” wrote Chief Justice William Rehnquist, is “the 'fail safe' in our criminal justice system."
But when it comes to the death penalty in Florida, the fail-safe has gone missing.

There hasn’t been a death row commutation in Florida since 1983, the first year of Gov. Bob Graham’s second term.
Since Florida resumed executions in 1979, governors have put 95 people to death and spared only six, all by Graham.

In at least 17 of those cases, advocates say grounds existed for commuting the sentence to life in prison. That’s not “getting away” with anything, by the way. The only alternative to execution is life without parole.

In four of those cases, Florida juries had recommended life sentences, but were overruled by the judges. At least two of those put to death were insane, including one who believed he was being executed because he was Jesus. And two were Vietnam veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

It’s hard to understand what’s happening because when it comes to open government, death row clemency is a black hole. Everything about the process is secret unless the governor or Cabinet chooses to hold a public hearing, which hasn’t happened since the Jeb Bush administration.

There’s no way to know whether the governor is receiving erroneous reports from his staff or from the Commission on Offender Review, which reviews clemency applications.
Neither is there a way to tell whether the governor even reads the files for himself.

Like his predecessors, Gov. Rick Scott routinely signs death warrants without saying why he denied clemency, other than that he found no reason. We asked his spokeswoman. She said: “His foremost concerns are consideration for the families of the victims and the finality of judgment.”

Those final words say more than she may have realized. “Finality” is the mantra of appellate courts that have decided they’ve heard enough from a prisoner. Now it’s the governor’s mantra, too?
But what if the criminal justice system got it wrong?

It’s not a hypothetical question. Florida leads the nation in death row exonerations, with 27. That means that in sentencing someone to death, the state has gotten it wrong 27 times.

Given that sobering statistic, you have to wonder how many innocent people may have been executed or remain on death row.
Gov. Scott has presided over 26 executions, more than any governor since they were resumed in 1979. The latest took place Wednesday, when Patrick Hannon was killed by chemical injection for his role in killing two Tampa men in 1991.

The governor’s silence about his use of the ultimate punishment is an insult to the people of Florida. Nothing in government is as grave as the power to choose between life and death. He should be accountable for how he uses it. Does he read the letters sent him by families, attorneys or prisoners? Has he ever questioned the reports and requested more information? Has he ever had doubts?
It’s not “soft on crime” for a governor to commute a death row sentence to life without parole. In many ways, life without hope is a fate worse than death.

Former governors understood this.
From 1925 through 1964, the start of an unofficial nationwide moratorium, Florida governors commuted 55 of the 250 death sentences that came to their desks, a rate of 22 percent. Every governor spared at least one in five. Two commuted nearly half.
The most famous instance was LeRoy Collins’s 1956 decision to spare Walter Lee Irvin, a black man condemned for the alleged rape of a white woman in Lake County. In the aftermath, a posse killed a man who had been with Irvin that day. Irvin, along with two others, was badly beaten. Later, while being transported to jail, he was shot by a sheriff, but survived.
The Irvin commutation was used against Collins in his re-election campaign. He won.

“My conscience told me that this was a bad case, badly handled, badly tried, and now on this bad performance I was asked to take a man’s life. My conscience would not let me do it,” he said.
Collins was vindicated. The “Groveland Four” had been framed. This year, the Florida Legislature formally apologized for the injustice and asked Scott to pardon them posthumously. He has yet to say whether he will.

The Collins example deserves to be followed, not ignored.
Among the proposals filed by members of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission is one that would repeal the death penalty. This deserves serious consideration.

At a minimum, the commission should open the curtains on how governors use or don’t use the power of clemency. Given how often Florida sends the wrong person to death row, we need, as Rehnquist said, a fail-safe backstop.


* Read also: Does Clemency Exist in Florida? 

* Read the letter from Mike's familie, asking Governor Scott for an exceptional clemeny hearing. 

* Read the Petition for Clemency for Mike, written by Roseanne Eckert, Clemency Counsel

* Excellent article by Martin Dyckman -  

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Joseph Thornton: Former Florida Death Row doctor with a Veterans’ Day message

By Joseph Thornton for Florida Politics

Did you know that 18-percent of Florida’s death row is made up of veterans of our military services?
It is an important fact as we prepare to honor those who have served our country this Veterans Day. I have learned from firsthand experience that veterans sentenced to death can help us all to understand some of the failures of Florida’s death penalty, as well as how to improve our justice system overall.

I am a psychiatrist trained at Stanford University with more than 30-years of clinical experience, including 3-years overseeing medical and psychiatric care on Florida’s Death Row.

In our system, for a conviction and execution, a defendant must meet a legal standard of competency at the time of at the time of the crime, during the trial, through the appeals, and right up to the execution. However, even cases where guilt is certain, we cannot be 100-percent certain of mental capacity, yet an execution is a 100-percent final.

There is a better way. We can learn from veterans and their experience in the criminal justice system.

Take the case of Michael Lambrix, who was executed by the state of Florida last month. Lambrix served in the Army and was honorably discharged after becoming disabled in a training accident. He became involved with drugs, was arrested for murder in 1983, sentenced to death and executed 33-years later.

Patrick Hannon, who was executed by Florida this week, had extensive drug use while in the military. However, neither of these men had the benefit of current intervention tactics deployed by the Veteran’s Administration to care for veterans with a history of trauma and drug abuse.

In response to the growing needs of veterans suffering from trauma and drug use, in 2008 the Veterans Health System established the Veterans Justice Initiative.

Florida now has 2 dozen Veteran Treatment Courts. While under the supervision of these courts the veterans must attend treatment for indicated conditions such a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and substance abuse. For those with substance use disorders there is periodic mandatory urine drug testing. The objective is rehabilitation and successful adjustment to the community rather than incarceration.

If we truly want to honor those who have served in our military this Veterans’ Day, then we should expand the number of veterans’ courts and the services they provide.


We should also urge the governor to place a moratorium on executions, and not just those of veterans, but everyone on Florida’s death row.

The fact is, almost all of them experienced childhood trauma, drug use and more. The time and money Florida spends on the death penalty can be much better spent on more mental health treatment services, especially for military veterans, who deserve better treatment after sacrificing so much for our country.

 Read Mike Lambrix's blogpost about Veteran's Day written in November 2009. The Forgotten Veterans: Condemning America's Heroes

Monday, November 6, 2017

"Dignified Death process?"

(from Save Innocents - http://www.save-innocents.com/news/did-mike-lambrix-enjoy-less-rights-than-a-dying-stray-dog-at-the-time-of-his-execution )

When Mike Lambrix was executed in Florida last October 5, some of his friends were choked by an information he gave them in respect to the medical procedure behind the preparation of his execution, leading to this question:

Did Mike Lambrix enjoy less rights than a dying stray dog?

Under the 2017 Florida Statute 828.058(4)(a): "Euthanasia [of dogs and cats] shall be performed only by a licensed veterinarian or an employee or agent of a public or private agency, animal shelter, or other facility that is operated for the collection and care of stray, neglected, abandoned, or unwanted animals, provided the employee or agent has successfully completed a 16-hour euthanasia technician certification course."

Did the people involved in Mike Lambrix's execution have any such certification at all? We do not know.

As his family is preparing a memorial service for Michael Lambrix, his close friend Geesje offers her reflection on his execution.

                                                           Photo credit: Rune Eraker

"Michael Lambrix was executed on October 5, 2017. I've been a friend of his for 14 years and I visited him several times over the years. Michael Lambrix was also a much beloved son, brother, father and a long time friend to many.

I'm deeply troubled by something he wrote a week before his execution":

“And shortly after they removed all my property,
the warden came down with a few people from Medical. I can only assume that it was the “doctor” responsible for carrying out the execution. They went to great lengths to conceal his identity, as although I could tell he was an upper middle aged white man, maybe just a bit shorter than I am, he was dressed from head to toe in a light baby blue hazmat suit, which included a white surgical mask. So all I could see of him was his eyes. He kept his head down — probably some part of him has to be ashamed of making a living putting people to death.

(...) With total detachment, I was ordered to extend my arm through the cell-front bars and this masked man proceeded to touch my veins at the inner elbow, first the left arm and then the right, while whispering to another man standing beside him, and that was that.
Now they were ready to kill me.
Yep, not just a job — it’s an adventure.”

Mike Lambrix
I wonder: Why was he covered from head to toe, with only his eyes visible?
There was absolutely no medical reason for this.

Was he hiding his identity, or was he ashamed of what he was doing?
Why was he not facing Michael, looking him in the eyes, introducing himself, or even speaking to him?

Michael Lambrix was a person, a human being, not a thing that needed to be expelled of. To me, it seems as heartless as giving a kick to a dying stray dog.

I need to understand the reason for, what seems to me, an unreasonable cruelty inflicted upon a defenceless man facing death. I understand the necessity of checking someone's veins before you execute him, after all you don't want any last minute nasty surprises, but surely it doesn't have to be this way?

When asked the warden of Florida State Prison (Warden Barry Reddish) about this, the reply was:

The Florida Department of Corrections supports a dignified death process for those inmates with an active death warrant. The identity of the medical providers involved in the death process is restricted by Florida Statute, thus it’s not open to public disclosure"
"I'm struggling with the words: "Dignified death process".
What is dignified or even remotely decent about any of this??

If we have to have the death penalty, there is no need to treat condemned people in their final days like sub-humans, any person facing death should be treated with some dignity and compassion.

Read Mike's post "Florida's Death Squad" where he discusses this procedure with a fellow inmate


Read: Is this how medical personnel conceal their identity when participating in executions in Florida?

Monday, October 23, 2017

Music Mike Listened To While on Death Watch

Some of the music Mike listened to and held special meaning for him

Every Storm Runs Out of Rain - Gary Allen

Fight Song - Rachel Platten

Absense of Fear - Jewel

Halleluja - Leonard Cohen

Do What You Have To Do - Sarah McLachlan

Amazing Grace - Celtic Woman

I Won't Let Go - Rascal Flatts


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Letter from a friend of Mike

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

I, too, was lucky enough to have known Mike and was his friend. I fully support the sentiments expressed by the author of Letter from a friend of Mike to Governor Scott, October 9th,2017.

It sickens me that States such as Florida and Texas, among others in the US, can so disregard the fact that the death penalty is an anachronistic, senseless and cruel punishment – and that the US is the only Western country to cling to it. 

The death penalty has nothing to do with justice. It is applied in an arbitrary manner, however it happens to suit corrupt law enforcement and Courts for political purposes. 

I admired Mike’s courage in calling out the rotten system in Florida for what it is, even though he realized his precarious situation. Executions, a pitiful blight on humanity, will only continue for as long as those who know better, remain silent – a point Mike often made.  You may not be concerned, that is, until your friend or relative is murdered by the State. 

Why the people of Florida live with the risk of a wrongful conviction, together with possible imposition of the death penalty, is beyond my understanding. This can and does happen: Florida leads the States with 27 Death Row exonerations since 1973. While there is no way of knowing how many wrongful convictions there have been, the high number of exonerations, at least, points to the strong likelihood that innocent people have been executed.  I believe that Mike is in this sad category. The outrage that I would expect decent people to feel at such a possibility surely is enough to end this horror.

In Mike’s memory, I ask you to please become active in ending executions in Florida. 

Rest in Peace, Mike. 

Heather Land


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Letter from a friend of Mike to Governor Scott

9th October 2017                                                   

Dear Governor Rick Scott

Since August 2011 I have had the pleasure of calling Michael Lambrix a true friend, despite being a convicted prisoner who lived on death row for 34 years and labelled a “monster” I was astonished to find that he like the rest of us, was a human being, with a heart, emotions and feelings. Mike was highly intelligent and fully capable of providing friendship to a number of people.

Being a Christian myself I am fully aware of my sin, which is what makes me not perfect, just as we ALL are not perfect. I believe as a Christian we are not given the job of judging others, Jesus himself became very angry at those who judged others for the sins they committed as how can we judge others when we have failed to look at ourselves first? Are you, Governor Rick Scott a perfect man? You call yourself a Christian and claim to have peoples best interest at heart by showing your support for others when disaster strikes, but we all know that this is purely to obtain votes for the next election, I am certain that you don’t actually care. Does it not bother you that many of those you helped recently in Puerto Rico were quite possibly unconvicted thieves, rapists or drug lords? You didn’t sit them all before a jury to decide if they deserved your help, you saw a need and fulfilled that need, isn’t that correct? That was very Christian of you, though I’m sure as it served your ultimate goal of achieving votes you were happy to look past the sins of those you were helping. Now my friend Mike, who was on death row until you so cruelly took his life, and yes it was you Rick Scott who took his life, you may hide behind people that do the dirty deed for you but ultimately you sign the death warrants, you say that it’s ok to kill someone as a punishment, you are responsible. Now tell me as a Christian, or at the very least a man who claims to care for others, would it not be right, having been responsible for the deaths or should we say cold blooded murders of so many people, to then punish you yourself with the same punishment you are administering? Why are you any different? You have killed many more people than any one of the guys who are on death row have been alleged to have killed, so why are you not rotting away in a cell with them? Why is it ok for you to premeditate murder in such a disgusting manor that you are exempt from the punishment you hand out?

At this moment I would like to point you towards the blog which I’m sure you are aware Mike kept in which he was able to tell the truth not only about his individual case but also the manner in which the system works for those on death row and in particular death watch. I am not here to argue Mikes case, we both know that many years ago he chose not to take a shorter sentence in preference for putting his trust in the courts and legal system to give him the fair opportunity to prove his innocence which he has maintained all of these years. I do believe that someone willing to put their life on the line to prove their innocence must be very certain of their innocence and ability to prove it if the alternative is execution and let’s face it, Mike would have been living in the free world years ago had he taken the relatively short prison sentence offered to him. I beg that you take time to actually read the details of his case and come to the only conclusion which you can possibly come to which is that he was innocent. Obviously there is nothing that can bring Mike back to us, you have already so cruelly punished not only Mike himself but his many family members and friends who cared for him so dearly.



I would like to quote a short passage from his most recent blog written shortly before he died as it was very troubling to me. You, the Governor pride yourself on supporting and upholding the death penalty and its ultimate punishment, execution, yet it seems you go to great lengths to distance yourself from both your responsibility in the cold act of execution and concealing those others who perform the act for you.

Mike writes: And shortly after they removed all my property, the warden came down with a few people from Medical. I can only assume that it was the “doctor” responsible for carrying out the execution. They went to great lengths to conceal his identity, as although I could tell he was an upper middle aged white man, maybe just a bit shorter than I am, he was dressed from head to toe in a light baby blue hazmat suit, which included a white surgical mask. So all I could see of him was his eyes. He kept his head down — probably some part of him has to be ashamed of making a living putting people to death.

Then again, for all I know, he could be eagerly volunteering for the job, only too happy to help carry out these state sanctioned murders and probably couldn’t care less if he helped kill an innocent person or two. With total detachment, I was ordered to extend my arm through the cell-front bars and this masked man proceeded to touch my veins at the inner elbow, first the left arm and then the right, while whispering to another man standing beside him, and that was that. Now they were ready to kill me. Yep, not just a job — it’s an adventure.

So why go to such lengths to hide the identity of the Doctor/Executioner? And even if the death penalty was a just form of punishment may I ask why it was done in such a way that clearly promoted such an evil thought process that a man concealed, barring his eyes was sent to someone who knew they were facing imminent death, striking I imagine further fear into what would have been unbearable emotional pain that Mike was suffering at the time already, like some kind of sick joke to laud your power over such people. If you are so ashamed of your actions that you have to hide people’s identity who are involved in the murder which you sanction and distance yourself from being responsibe than why on earth do you think it’s acceptable? Either have the balls to do it yourself and take responsibility for your decision and the punishment which you hand down or recognise that it is not the action of a Christian or a decent human being, someone who should be showing love and compassion and forgiveness. I’m not suggesting we don’t put people in prison and punish them for varying lengths for their crimes, but killing them makes you no better than those you incarcerate. Many of whom have committed crimes in random bursts of emotional trauma whilst under extreme stress and life’s circumstances fell at their feet in such a way that they did something they will regret for the rest of their lives. You Rick Scott sit in a comfy office, with a fat pay check and everyone running around after you like your some kind of God, yet whilst sipping your tea at your nice desk, you are able to rationally think about (premeditating) how to punish others by the use of the death penalty (murder), and you think those incarcerated are the monsters?!

I think to further prove your cold heart, less than 48 hours after killing my friend Mike you signed the warrant on another inmate, Patrick Hannon to be executed only a month later. I can only assume that you are worried about the support you currently have from your people in Florida because it seems to me like you are desperately trying to spin the wheels of your execution factory as fast as possible in order to win over those who are crazy enough to agree with you.

I accept that my letter and views will have no impact on you and that no doubt I am wasting my breath, but I can make efforts in making sure as many people as possible are aware of you and who you really are in the hope that one day the death penalty ceases to exist and that you will not be voted in as Governor. The American motto “In God we Trust” makes me laugh, you are not trusting in God, and you are taking life in to your own hands and trying to be God yourself. I hope that those who vote for you realise that should life’s circumstances ever affect them in such a way that they hope and trust in you and your legal system to treat them fairly and to allow the truth to be known and justice served justly then they will be very rudely awakened won’t they?

May I ask why it is that Florida’s death row has such a high exoneration rate? Is that because all you are bothered about is someone being held accountable for a crime, even if they are the wrong person? So if so many have been exonerated I wonder how many innocent people didn’t get the chance to prove their innocence who you have killed? Does that seriously not play on your conscience?

I would like Governor Scott for you to really think about what you are doing, when you face God at the final judgement are you honestly going to be able to say that you did everything you could to be loving and forgiving towards others? Will you have a clear conscience? The good news is that Jesus offers us forgiveness and new life to any of us who accept our sinful nature and accept his forgiveness. It isn’t too late for you Governor Scott, just because you have killed so many doesn’t mean you can’t have a change of heart, doesn’t mean you can’t be a real man and stand up in front of everyone and say you were wrong, that you apologise for what you have done and that you will not sign the warrant of anymore prisoners because you are going to be a Governor who does things right, who sets the Christ like example to other Governors in your country. Even if it means losing your position and status, surely it is more important to do what’s right, than to live this life of cruel punishment and false identity which you hold.

Mike wasn’t able to take any of his worldly goods with him when he died, what few you allowed him, but I am certain that when he stands in front of God he will be welcomed with open arms. He accepted he wasn’t perfect but even until the end, he was only concerned for others. Mike was happy in the knowledge that if his murder brought peace to the family of those he was convicted of killing (which he didn’t) then it would have served at least some purpose, though I feel very sad for them because one day they will either find out the truth or already realise in their own hearts that Mike was not responsible, then his death will have been in vein in that sense, in which case what have you achieved?

Break the cycle of senseless murder that you are putting your name to Governor, you think you are punishing a murderer but in fact you are punishing so many more people than that. Should one of your own children lose their way, which happens to even the best of people no matter how great a parent they are, would you without hesitation, hand down this same sentence to your own child for that crime if they committed it? You can’t say that they wouldn’t, hypothetically, would you murder your own child to punish them for a crime? We are all God’s children, it is not his will for you to murder anyone, and it is not acceptable. I will pray for you Rick Scott and hope that you see sense. We must treat others how we wish to be treated. We are not animals and should not be treated in such a way.

On Thursday October 5th I stayed up for most of the night waiting for you to act out your premeditated murder on my friend, your punishment of Mike will last me a life time, I have lost a dear friend. Who were you really thinking about when you signed his warrant and had the lethal drugs plunged through his veins? Was it seeking justice for the victim’s family? I wonder if it has really made them feel any better, nothing would make me feel better about losing a loved one unless they were brought back to life. Was it to punish Mike? If so you have failed, he was not punished but has been released from your hell and is free from both the physical and emotional chains with which you contained him like an animal, I imagine he’s laughing at you right now! Or was it for you and your gain? In which case when you sit drinking your tea at your lovely desk in your posh office which you have gained through stamping on those around you and murdering your way to the top, do you feel satisfied? Has it made you happy?

Mike’s experiences and life will live on through his words and through his friends, you will not be able to get rid of that, you cannot take that away. I will continue to be inspired by a man I am so proud to have called my friend, someone who despite being treated so terribly faced life with so much love, faith and bravery despite the bleak outlook his physical life laid before him. The way he cared for others and put others first despite the pain and anguish he went through and suffered on a daily basis was incredible. Even at the end you couldn’t break him and he finished how he wanted to finish, as a true man of faith giving only love to those around him, even those who wished to benefit from his death. If you feel like the opening words to one of Mike’s favourite songs don’t apply to you or to any of us then you haven’t grasped the meaning of life.

Amazing Grace! 
How sweet the sound 
That saved a wretch like me! 
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.

Mike's friend, Lester Griffiths-Bartlett

Vigil for Mike Lambrix

October 5, 2017 - Vigil in front of Florida State Prison

October 4, 2017 - Gathering in Paris, France where a letter from Mike's family was read, asking the governor for an exceptional clemeny hearing.

Prayer Service During Vigil Florida State Prison


Michael Lambrix Remembered:




Sunday, October 8, 2017

Death Watch Journal — Written Friday, September 29, 2017

(This was just received and written by Mike a week before his execution on October 5, 2017
I now have less than a week to go until my scheduled execution. Yesterday I was put on “Phase II” of death watch. I stay in the same solitary cell, but now they take all my personal property out of the cell — even my clothes and shoes (except for what I’m actually wearing) and put a guard in front of my cell to watch every move I make and write it down. No privacy anymore!

And shortly after they removed all my property, the warden (warden Barry Reddish) came down with a few people from Medical. I can only assume that it was the “doctor” responsible for carrying out the execution. They went to great lengths to conceal his identity, as although I could tell he was an upper middle aged white man, maybe just a bit shorter than I am, he was dressed from head to toe in a light baby blue hazmat suit, which included a white surgical mask. So all I could see of him was his eyes. He kept his head down — probably some part of him has to be ashamed of making a living putting people to death.

Then again, for all I know, he could be eagerly volunteering for the job, only too happy to help carry out these state sanctioned murders and probably couldn’t care less if he helped kill an innocent person or two. With total detachment, I was ordered to extend my arm through the cell-front bars and this masked man proceeded to touch my veins at the inner elbow, first the left arm and then the right, while whispering to another man standing beside him, and that was that. Now they were ready to kill me. Yep, not just a job — it’s an adventure.

Earlier today I had a visit with the “second chair” lawyer assigned to my case, Bryan Martinez. He’s been working on my case for a few months, but this was the first time I’ve met him. And because I was in “Phase II” this legal visit was non-contact (behind glass).

Just before Bryan entered the prison he received a phone call from the state-agency office letting him know that the Florida Supreme Court had just issued its 5 to 1 decision denying my last State appeal. That was the one arguing that the Florida Supreme Court’s earlier decision that held that although all of Florida’s death-sentenced prisoners were illegally sentenced under last year’s decision in Hurst vs Florida, only those sentenced after June 2002 could be granted relief, was unconstitutionally arbitrary and unfair.

My lawyers argued that this “partial retroactivity” rule had to be set aside, as it was constitutionally unsustainable — never before has any court recognized that a new law was retroactive, only to then limit retroactivity to some but not all.


But the majority of the court refused to address the issues, instead summarily reiterating that they already decided the issue and would not address it again. However, Justice Pariente dissented, writing a lengthy opinion as to why the rest of the court was wrong and unequivocally stating that they are constitutionally obligated to throw the illegally imposed sentences out.

By early next week — before this blog can be posted — my lawyers will file an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court arguing why Justice Pariente’s dissent correctly recognized that constitutional “due process” and the prohibition against infliction of cruel and unusual punishment dictates that my illegally imposed death sentences must be vacated.And obviously, if the death sentences are thrown out, they cannot execute me.

This is one of the things I have a hard time trying to explain to my family and friends, who ask me how it is that they can execute me when the courts do recognize that my death sentences were illegally imposed. Common sense leads most to assume that if a person has been illegally sentenced to death then they cannot legally execute that person.

But as I’ve said too many times already, when it comes to the death penalty, the insidious politics of death trump what’s fair and right. In our legal system, the Supreme Court itself (Herrera vs Collins) made it clear that there is no constitutional prohibition against executing the innocent — and if a state can “legally” execute an innocent person, then they can also proceed to execute someone who has been illegally sentenced to death… the ends justify the means.

So, in just a few days the odds are that I will be put to death for a crime that I am innocent of — and despite the irrefutable fact that I was illegally sentenced to death by non-unanimous jury votes, what they cannot do is say that they are administering justice as there’s nothing fair or just about about carrying out the execution of an innocent person who was illegally sentenced to death.

No matter, I’m almost done whining about how inherently unfair and politically corrupt our legal system is. By the time this blog is posted, I will probably be dead.

But then again, maybe not… a funny thing happened this week in that at least at the time I’m writing this offers a bit of hope. On Monday, September 25, the United States Supreme Court did their “conference” on cases considered for review and included in that conference was my case that under Martinez vs Ryan, the claims collectively establishing my actual innocence must be heard.

Normally, after such a conference the Court will release its list of the cases that were denied review — or granted review. We anticipated a decision in my case by no later than Thursday (September 28), but as of Friday evening there still has not been any released decision.

Do I dare get my hopes up that maybe, just maybe, the Court will do the right thing and order that the lower Federal courts must allow the evidence substantiating my consistently pled claim to b heard? I want to — I really do want to hope. But there’s that part of me that tells me that if I do dare hope that the failure to release a decision could mean I may have won and my execution will be call off, then on Monday we will get the news that they denied relief.

At this point, now only days away from my scheduled execution, I am afraid to get my hopes up. It is easier to accept my intended fate and spend these last few days preparing for my death. A big part of that preparation is finding the strength not to be angry at this injustice so deliberately imposed upon me.

Too often, I find myself wanting to pray that those who have judged me will be judged by the same measure. But I don’t want to allow those thoughts in… my spiritual faith instructs me to forgive others as the only condition of being forgiven myself.

And I know that if I must die in a few days, I will be in a better place and that despite my 34 years of being condemned to solitary confinement, I have been blessed by having so many who chose to come into my life and extend love and support. I could not have maintained my strength without those who have stood by me. So, as I spend what will most likely be my last few days on earth, I choose to focus on how blessed I am to have had so many others there for me.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Mike has left us, but his blog will stay alive, as he wished. Every few weeks one of his writings will be re-posted. Mike started his blog in 2008, but there are essays from even before that time. Also, relevant information, updates and developments about topics close to Mike's heart will be posted here, so while he is not with us, his spirit lives on in this writings and in the hearts of all who cared about him.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Michael Lambrix - Rest in Peace

                                             Rest in Peace Dearest Friend


                                                Sky above Raiford, October 5, 2017     
                                                Photo by MaryLynn McDavid

I saw you standing in the middle of the thunder and lightning
I know you're feeling like you just can't win, but you're trying
It's hard to keep on keepin' on, when you're being pushed around
Don't even know which way is up, you just keep spinning down, 'round, down

Every storm runs, runs out of rain
Just like every dark night turns into day
Every heartache will fade away
Just like every storm runs, runs out of rain

So hold your head up and tell yourself that there's something more
And walk out that door
Go find a new rose, don't be afraid of the thorns
'Cause we all have thorns
Just put your feet up to the edge, put your face in the wind
And when you fall back down, keep on rememberin'

Every storm runs, runs out of rain
Just like every dark night turns into day
Every heartache will fade away
Just like every storm runs, runs out of rain

It's gonna run out of pain
It's gonna run out of sting
It's gonna leave you alone
It's gonna set you free
Set you free

Every storm runs, runs out of rain
Just like every dark night turns into day
Every heartache will fade away
Just like every storm runs, runs out of rain

It's gonna set you free,
It's gonna run out of pain,

It's gonna set you free

Every Storm - Gary Allan

Amazing Grace, How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found
T'was blind but now I see

T'was Grace that taught my heart to fear
And Grace, my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed

Through many dangers, toils and snares
We have already come.
T'was grace that brought us safe thus far
And grace will lead us home,
And grace will lead us home

Amazing grace, Howe Sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost but now am found
T'was blind but now I see

Was blind, but now I see.

Amazing Grace - Celtic Woman. Mike wants this played at his funeral

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Date With Death: Contemplating My Last Words - Michael Lambrix

By Michael Lambrix - written for MinutesBeforeSix

What if someone approached you today and told you that you only had two days to live - and that you had to spend your remaining days in solitary, away from all those that mattered to you. Alone, you slowly count down each moment of every day, each tick of that clock, drawing you closer to a date with death.
You will be allowed to say a few (and only a few) “last words”. Whatever you decide to say is what you will be remembered for (or forgotten, if all you do is waste that last breathe of life).

That is where I am today. As I write this, it is Friday, September 15, 2017, and I am in Cell One, formally known as Q-2101, only feet away from Florida's execution chamber. And in the early evening of October 5, 2017, at precisely 6:00 p.m., the State of Florida intends to put me to death for a crime I did not commit.


After 34-years on Florida's Death Row, I've become familiar with how this process unfolds. I’ve seen many others where I am today (please check out “Execution Day- Involuntary Witness to State Sanctioned Murder”). I've survived three previous attempts by the state to take my life, but I know that this time is different. This time, the odds of surviving this date with death are significantly stacked against me. I don't expect to make it out alive. The Governor is running an election for a tightly contested U.S. Senate seat, and he needs to rally the votes by executing as many as he can. To him, all my life is really worth is the hope of winning a few more votes. He has already sent more people to their death then any other Governor in Florida’s history and, after he kills me, he will move on to his next victim.

Warden Reddish came down to Death Watch the other day and asked me why I'm doing a hunger strike. I explained that I am protesting the injustice of putting me to death without allowing all readily available evidence substantiating my innocence, including DNA evidence, to be heard. He responded by sharing with me that in all the years he has worked in prisons, he has never seen a hunger strike actually accomplish anything.

Continuing our casual conversation, as if the set of steel bars that separated us didn’t exist, the morning sun now shining through the windows behind the Warden, I offered my observation that, from the prisoner’s perspective, it's not about actually winning whatever issue compelled you to take that drastic act. I don't expect a tangible result.

Rather, in prison, a person has extremely limited options available with which to protest perceived injustice. Even the slightest hit of expressing anger on the part of a prisoner escalates the situation and punitive sanctions are a standard response.

By the time most get to where I am today, they are already broken. The long journey from being condemned to death, to confronting that date with death is, itself, a deliberate process intended to slowly erode your will to do anything but passively submit to state sanctioned execution.

When that time comes, I am expected to walk into the execution chamber and those waiting within that room will gently, without even the slightest hint of malice, assist me as I climb up on to the gurney where a moment later they will then firmly pull the straps down to render me motionless and unable to physically resist, so they can proceed to expeditiously insert needles connected to long I.V. tubes in each of my arms at the inside of the elbows.


Then the white curtain that separates me from a panel of witnesses safely seated behind a single pane of polished glass will be pulled open. I will quickly scan that small group of people, not more than ten-feet in front of me, desperately looking for a friendly face, or at least a familiar face, but likely to be met with blank stares by most gathered, who have waited many years to watch me die.

Then, in a predetermined and all but imperceptible gesture, the executioner hidden behind a nearby partition will push that first plunger down, forcing a presumably cold lethal liquid into my veins.
It's a ritual, and every aspect of that ritual has been planned to precise detail, and everybody performs their part. And I will too.

But I don't want to just lay down and die, exterminated like nothing more than a glorified cockroach.
And, so, I am doing a hunger strike. I don't expect to gain anything but to protest against this deliberate injustice, and that, itself, is my only objective. It is my way of saying that I accept that I am powerless to change the outcome, as this cold machinery of death grinds its gears.

For now, though, I sit in this solitary cell. Twenty-days to my date with death doesn't seem to be that long, and yet I find it to be way too much time. I find myself trying to pull up the memories of the life I once had so long ago, as a means of escaping the thoughts of my relatively imminent death.

But try as I might, like the invisible force of a blackhole slowly consuming the universe around it, I am pulled in again and again, dragged back to envisioning what that last moment of my life will be - and what my last words will be.

Part of me wants to put all I can into a concise statement that will be something to remember. But no matter what I try to say it, I imagine it will be forgotten. Nobody's coming to witness my execution to hear what I have to say. They’re coming to watch me die.

I think a lot about the young woman's family. They lost their daughter and, through all these years, have believed that I was the one who took her life. Their need to seek justice can only be satisfied with my death. This has given them the strength to cope with their loss. But I didn't kill their daughter.

I've prayed for them, that they might find the strength to forgive - not because the person responsible for taking the life of their daughter is worthy of their forgiveness, but because carrying around that much hate towards any other person for so long is like a cancer that will eat at their own soul.
Maybe my death will bring them peace and, if it does, then I can go knowing that there was a purpose in all of this.

Years ago, I tried to reach out to them, to explain the circumstances that transpired that night, and how much I wished I could take their pain away. Their response was to contact the prison - they found it offensive that I wrote them and demanded the prison punish me.

But still, as the years have passed, I’ve kept them in my prayers, wishing that I could turn back the hands of time and change it all. I do that a lot, escaping the reality of this place by picking my memories apart and trying to identify that one point in time, so long ago, where it all went off the tracks.

Maybe I should use my last words to ask for their forgiveness, even though I didn't kill their daughter. Maybe they need that. Then again, maybe their need for vengeance has consumed so much of them that they cannot forgive under any circumstances, and anything I may attempt to say to them at that time would only make them suffer more. I don't want to bring any more pain into their lives. I wish I could take all their pain away. My death won't accomplish that. Only they can make that decision to let it go.

Then there's my family. They've committed no crime, but they've suffered just as much. They will stand by helplessly as their son, their father, their brother, and their best friend, is put to death for a crime that they know I am innocent of.

Those in my life who have been there for me through the years have been the “Wind Beneath My Wings”; nurturing my hope and sustaining my strength. I have been so incredibly blessed by these who sacrificed so much to be a part of my life. I know it has not been easy. They have suffered along with me, at every setback, and felt the pain of injustice with each appeal denied.

Most families quickly fade away, and all but forget you once you cross over to that death row life. And, as the years passed, there's been times that my family did too. But we always were drawn back together, and are now stronger than we've ever been. Having to go through this Death Watch process and endure our last visit will cause them so much pain.

Maybe my last words should be to tell them how much it has meant to me to have them in my life. 
Not only my family, including my children, but also the small group of friends, spread out across the world, that have been there for me.

What would I say? What few words could possibly convey what I feel in my heart?? When they visit, at each visit I hug them like I never would let them go. Like I knew that this day might come.

I can no longer hug them. Once my execution date was set, my contact visits were immediately terminated and restricted to non-contact. They still come, now more frequently, driving many hours, even through the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, to spend a few hours of communion with me. We talk, and I try to make them laugh, but I can see in my mother’s and my sister’s eyes how hard this is for them.

There are the moments of silence, when I see the tears forming in their eyes, and I quickly work to find something to talk about, to get their minds off what lies ahead.

They are worried about my health, fearing that this hunger strike will only cause me to suffer more. Just as with the Warden, I patiently explain why I feel I must do this. But nothing I say is enough to comfort them. They beg me to eat. They are allowed to purchase sandwiches and snacks from the prison canteen, which the guard will then bring around to me. But I  refuse, and then they refuse to eat too.
I explain that they do not have to worry. The nurses check on me each day, taking my weight and blood pressure. As of today, I've only lost 17-pounds - and, truth be told, I really needed to lose some weight anyways.
When I return to my Death Watch cell, I lay down and put my MP3 player on, and then relive every moment of the visit to prolong it, as if it never had to end. But my moment of meditation is broken, as someone on the floor above me is kicking at his solid steel door.

I get back up, and look at the pile of old cards and letters I've stacked against the wall of my cell. As the days pass, I slowly go through them, rip them up and throw them away. Some I've had for many years, some not as long. But each was saved in the very limited room I'm allowed for storage of personal property for a reason. And now, I find myself destroying the things that I treasured the most.

I must do this before I'm placed on “Phase II”, and all my property is removed from my cell to ensure that I cannot cheat the state out of its intended act of murder by committing suicide. I still cannot destroy so many. And the stack of what means too much to throw away soon grows high. I've accomplished nothing.

The pictures are much harder. In my world, it's the photos of the smiling faces of those you love that keep you going. And photos of the past, of family and of my children, and of my grandchildren.

I go through them one-by-one, remembering each as if I just received it yesterday and, in the end, I throw very few away. A few years back, I lost all my pictures, so what few I have left are part of me and I cannot bear to toss away the memories reflected. Many are of visits I've had, and each photo allows me to think of that special day.

Try as I might to think of other things, that one thought keeps pulling me back - my last words. I find myself becoming consumed. What will I say?

I think of my spiritual advisor of many years, a man who gave up a successful career in law to become a Catholic lay minister devoted to Death Row prison ministry. Dale Recinella has visited me more times than I can begin to count, and is family too.

Before me, he has been there for many others, patiently listening to their words and offering an inspiration of spiritual comfort. When my day comes, he will be here. Contrary to movies, they will not allow him to walk with me into the execution chamber. But he will share time with me in the hours before my execution is carried out, and they will allow him to join the panel of witnesses to watch my execution.

He has witnessed many executions of those he has come to know and provided spiritual comfort to; not only us in our final hours, but to our families too. (Dale Recinella has written numerous books relating to his death row ministry that can be found at www.iwasinprison.org)

Although long disillusioned by what contemporary Christianity has become and those who claim to be Christian, I have never doubted my spiritual faith. I find strength in it.

So, when that final moment is upon me, and the opportunity to express what will be my last words I will ever utter in this life arrives, maybe I will say the Lord's Prayer. Nothing I could come up with could possibly be more profound than that.


I sit silently at the edge of my bunk and look outside the window on the other side of the cell bars. Not more than ten-feet from where I sit, the green grass of a lawn that stretches from that window to the distant perimeter fence begins. A few days ago, a lawn mower outside that window came so close that I could smell its distinct exhaust.

I can smell the grass. Only a few feet away in another direction, the execution chamber patiently awaits me. I can close my eyes and imagine laying out on that grass - preferably at night, so that I can see the heavens above and count the stars, and, if by chance a shooting star passes, even make my wish.
Maybe I won't die. That's the thing about being down here and facing that date with death. As each day draws to a close, you find yourself thinking about how these are your final days, your final hours, and your final minutes. It becomes real. No matter how much you try to think of anything else, you cannot escape those persistent thoughts that this won't end well.

I've been down on Death Watch now for two weeks, and I have less than three weeks to go. So far, my lawyers haven't been able to do anything to stop my execution. Hurricane Irma (what they are now saying is the worst hurricane in Florida's history) shut everything down across the state, including my lawyers’ offices and the courts.

I talked with them yesterday, finally, but they can't get up to visit me until next week. By then, we will have two weeks left. That clock continues to tick. This time is lost forever.

I've already had numerous appeals pending. The two still before the United States Supreme Court could even result in my exoneration and release, if only the court would grant a review. But that's a long shot. I know, only too well, that the Supreme Court only looks at a handful of cases of the many thousands filed each year.

My lawyers continue to believe that the most favorable issue is the challenge to my illegally imposed sentences of death. The jury did not unanimously vote to sentence me to death. But, by marginal vote, the Florida Supreme Court decided that only those illegally sentenced after June 2002 would be allowed relief, and that those, such as myself (and almost 200 others), sentenced to death prior to June 2002, are still to be executed.

If the Supreme Court agrees with my lawyers, that this is unconstitutionally “arbitrary” and that my death sentences must be vacated, then I would have my sentences reduced to “life” and become, almost immediately, eligible for parole.

I struggle to keep that hope alive.
I don't have faith in the court doing the right thing.
Maybe that's just what I should tell them, as they so deliberately put me to death for a crime that I did not commit. I should tell them that they are committing an act of murder, and quote Socrates by saying “To which of us go the worst fate, you or I?” And then breathe my last breath.

Michael Lambrix recited the Lord's Prayer, his last words were: "Deliver Us From Evil"