January 12, 2011

Garden reflection
On Monday, I went with Hozan Alan Senauke to Marin to attend the evidentiary hearings for Jarvis Masters which are taking place for three weeks.  Jarvis received a death sentence having been convicted of sharpening a tool that was used by another to kill a prison official.  Jarvis has been on death row for twenty years.  The California Supreme Court ordered the hearings in response to a habeus corpus brief filed by Jarvis and his legal team.  If the current judge finds in Jarvis' favor, she can recommend to the Supreme Court that he receive a new trial.  The Supreme Court will take this under advisement and consider granting the trial, or not.  If yes, and there is a  trial and he is found innocent, then he will be freed from prison.  If the conviction stands, then he will await execution.

There is quite a bit of tension in the court room as, on the day that I was there, three people gave testimony:  one, an attorney who had decided not to represent Jarvis.  I didn't understand the legal reasons for his testimony.  The second was a former P.I. who was shown to be an expert witness in the behavior of gangs in prison.  Because the murder of the prison official involved the Black Guerilla Family, gang behavior is fundamental to the case.  The third person giving testimony on behalf of Jarvis was a former inmate with Jarvis at San Quentin and a member of the BGF who is serving a life sentence and is now at another prison.  Both prisoners appear shackled and in their bright orange prison jumpsuits and they are each guarded by four or five officers.  Then there are four or five attorneys representing Jarvis.  There are two attorneys representing the State of CA.  The gallery is full of Jarvis supporters, maybe 20 in number.

We are now in the middle week of the hearings.  You can read on Alan's blog a good synopsis and description of the people who gave testimony.  Alan also describes more background of the case.  I plan to attend one more day next week.  Here is the address for Alan's blog:  clearviewblog.org.  You can also read more about Jarvis on freejarvis.org.


I had lunch today at a sidewalk cafe in Rockridge, and it turned so warm I had to move into the shade.  You can't imagine how good it felt to capture some vitamin D in the old fashioned way.  Later I worked in the library which is comfortable with areas set aside for quiet study.  Various professional people and students work with varieties of manuscripts and books, pounding away at their computers, as you'd expect in a library.  I'm quite in league with others and find that being at the library is helpful to focus and attend to my work even though there is no one in the apartment to intrude.  Still, I jump into gear in the library and as well I can enjoy a poetry or art book here and there that I wouldn't otherwise pick up.  What more could a body ask for - sunshine, delicious food, writing, good health, quietude, and the California hills rising into the blue, blue sky.