COUNT TIME - EVERYONE ON THE WALL!
That's the shouting command I hear twice a day. There is what
is called a "stand up count" seven days a week-twice
a day at 11:45 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Each inmate must stand against
the wall close to his bunk bed, as two prison guards (called
C.O.'s or correctional officers) walk the wall counting to
be sure all inmates are present.
There is a bed count at 9:15 p.m. where you have to be sitting
on your bed. And there are three night counts (at 12:00 a.m.,
3:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.) where a guard walks the sleeping
area. Six counts in all and every inmate must be present.
There are no exceptions to being there-none. Last Wednesday
evening, I was watching Game Four of the World Series. There
were two runners on base with no outs and no score in the
fourth inning, and home run king Barry Bonds was up to bat.
The clock showed 9:15 p.m. "Count Time." With a
lot of complaining we all scrambled for our beds.
I'm often in the library or a corner of the recreational room
reading during the evening and midnight counts. So it's a
quick jog back to my bunk several times a night.
I'm working through the books I have sent in but this reading
has slowed a bit because of the onslaught of mail I receive
each day. In my first four weeks, I have received up to 40
letters a day plus an assortment of books, various magazines,
newspapers and other publications sent by friends across the
country. I'm making a valiant effort to answer as many letters
as possible, but it will take a lot of time.
Now about the food. It's pretty good, which surprised me,
but it's generally the same. A decent salad but the same salad
bar. Same dressing (Italian or French), same vegetables, same
mashed potatoes and rice.
I had a dream about food last night. Different foods and lots
of foods. It was back in the late 1970's when I was a state
senator from Ferriday. I represented six parishes in North
Louisiana-the largest senatorial district, land area wise
in the state. On many Sundays I would be a guest in a country
church. After the service, there was often dinner on the grounds.
(If you are reading this from up north, we in the south, particularly
where I come from, have dinner at noon and supper at night.)
Dinner on the Grounds generally is held on a special Sunday,
and is just a big picnic held at dinnertime.
I dreamed I was at the Aimwell Pentacostal Church in Catahoula
Parish pastored by my longtime friend, Rev. Everett T. "Shorty"
Mayo. And I could envision all the plate loads of food spread
out over a number of wooden tables. There were deviled eggs
dusted with paprika, loads of potato salad, homemade pickles,
casseroles galore including sweet potato, squash and spinach,
barbequed pork chops, baked hams, fried chicken, beans of
every kind (pinto, navy, snap, green, butter, lima, pole and
baked), cornbread and biscuits, cakes, puddings, pies (peach,
pecan, fig, lemon, apple, cherry, and chocolate), and gallons
of iced tea both sweetened and unsweetened.
In my dream, I fixed a large plate (a little of almost everything),
went back for seconds, visited for awhile, then went back
again. It was wonderful. Then I woke up. Back to the real
been overwhelmed by the e-mails I have received in response
to my website-over a thousand so far. I did not realize the
interest and concern my case has caused, particularly outside
Louisiana. Since I do not have access to a computer here at
Oakdale, Gladys is doing her best to respond to each of the
e-mails, along with friends who have volunteered to help her.
But I read every one, so don't hesitate to contact me this
Now included on my website is a new category called "Reader
Responses," which lists some of the e-mails I have been
getting. You will be able to read the expressions of concern
I receive daily.
Keep fighting Jim, you have done nothing wrong.
cannot explain why the FBI policy would be to not
record statements. What does the FBI have to hide?
Why wouldn't anyone want evidence backed up? This
policy is in their best interest and certainly subject to
C.M., New Orleans, La.
have never met you but have read so much about you.
I firmly believe you are in the wrong place. I will keep
you in my prayers.
E.N., Baton Rouge, La.
seems that the FBI can do just whatever they can do
and get away with it. I don't for a minute think you did
anything wrong. I am a strong supporter of you.
It is an indication of how great the danger to our liberties
under the constitution that Commissioner Brown was
convicted on a charge of lying to an FBI agent. As has
been demonstrated many times of late, FBI agents do not
know what the truth is-they make it up as they go along.
They are liars, and I think that in the minds of most people
in possession of the facts, there is little question that
FBI, backed by the federal prosecutors, lied about Jim Brown.
We live under an extremely wicked regime. The wrong people
are going to jail.
E.C.C., Woodville, Ms.
felt that I know you because of all the media attention concerning
your trial. I think you
got a bum deal. I hope you win your appeal. Good luck and
There are hundreds like this and they continue to pour in
daily. Despite this terrible tragedy in our lives, Gladys
and I are thankful for the huge outpouring of concern from
so many people.
And one more e-mail to share with you. One from a member of
the jury that convicted me. It speaks for itself.
As one of those 12, I so thought you would win your
appeal. I really could not fathom you not winning your
appeal. I believe in the system far less after being on
that jury. I really think you can still beat this and clear
your name. I have to say if anyone could win an appeal
I believe in you.
I know this doesn't mean much to you now but I wish
you and your family all the best under the circumstances.
My thoughts and prayers are with you. There has not been
much peace of mind from this juror since that day we left
Keep up to good fight. God be with you.
I am withholding the juror's name for now. But how unbelievable.
A member of the jury. The jury that convicted me. Now saying
that they made a mistake.
I understand why. The jurors were left in the dark. Critical
information for my defense was kept from them. They never
saw the FBI agent's notes that directly contradicted his testimony
at the trial. They were not allowed to hear my attorney cross-examine
the agent about what he wrote down in his notes.
Simply put, the jury was not able to review the key evidence
that would have cleared me. I am the only person ever convicted
of making false statements in a federal court-anywhere in
this country-that was not allowed to see the FBI agent's notes
or cross-examine the agent.
It is rare in the American judicial system for a juror to
come forward and admit the jury made a mistake. I am certainly
thankful for this juror's feelings and new opinion of me.
The statement by the juror is of little use to me now-at least
in a legal sense. But it confirms what I've said all along.
I did nothing wrong. I was set up. My name should be cleared.
I should be home with my family and friends.
But here I sit in a federal prison.
May you and your family have the peace and justice that I
am still fighting to receive.
Until next week,