Monday, June 30, 2008

Kevin's Sentencing Letter

Your Honor, this letter is in regards to Mechele Linehan, who will be sentenced in your court this month. I’m writing in hopes for your leniency when deciding upon her fate.

I am Mechele’s friend and neighbor, and I wanted to take some time to let you know what she means to my family.

Mechele was the first person to welcome us to the neighborhood when we moved here to Olympia. She came over with her daughter, who’d baked us cookies. First impressions mean a great deal to me. Mechele made a good one. And the remainder of the impressions she’s left on me have been as good and better.

She’s a kind and loving person. She’s the first person I would have trusted to baby-sit my youngest son. Mechele was taken away to jail on the day before she was going to do just that. She asked my wife and I if she could do that for us, so that we could have some time for a date on our anniversary. She’s the first person for which my two-year-old has expressed love outside of our family. Both my sons love her very much, actually.

She adopted us into her family from the get-go, making us feel welcome in our new city. Mechele, her husband, and daughter invited us to go with them to the beach just days after we met them. She made sure to invite us to their family gatherings for the holidays, or when they all (mothers, brothers, sisters, kids and friends) got together to make some good food. Welcoming, that’s Mechele.

Even before her trial, while she was wearing an electronic monitoring device, and had to have certain people with her every moment, she took the time and effort to continue get-togethers, making pizza for her friends and family. During that time, she still kept up her new business, still kept up her great mothering, still maintained friendships, still rescued animals, and worked, worked, worked. She even helped out a young woman whose boyfriend was abusing her, taking her in for a short time. I’m a good person, but she’s better.

She’s even trying to make prison better for the people there. Amazing.

She saves animals. Dogs, birds, cats, you name it—if it needs help, she’s the first to try. People, too. Anything you need, if she has it, it’s yours. Honestly, I cannot believe Mechele is in prison.

When she first told us about this situation, when she was contacted by the police, she was straight and honest. She let us know exactly what was going on. Mechele is honest. That’s something you learn right away. She’s not mean, but she’s honest. You don’t ask her opinion if you’re looking for someone to agree with you. You ask because she’ll tell you the truth.

Mechele has already been taken away from us for too long. My family is suffering without her. It’s hard to imagine exactly what this is doing to hers. What I’ve seen mostly is her daughter trying to not feel so lost without her mom, and Colin trying to hold onto all the reins, and be a mother and father to his daughter. Their daughter has grown quiet and reserved. We try our best to imagine what’s going on in her head, but that’s a difficult thing to imagine. It’s pretty heartbreaking. Her daughter came over to bake cookies for the holidays. She seemed sad. Mechele has always been right there beside her family. Taking her daughter to school in the mornings, picking her up in the afternoon. She’s very active in her school life—PTA and all. Her daughter needs her mom.

My family misses her every day. Her family has a gaping hole in it. Please consider who she is to us, and to her family, and the rest of her friends when you consider her sentence. Mechele is good. I know that.

Thank you for your time.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Appeal Update

The defense attorneys have all the transcripts from the previous trial in for the appeal. One step is done!

To see more on the appeal timeline, go here.

More updates on Mechele and her Amazon list

Hey all,

Just talked to Mechele today. She is VERY MUCH appreciating all the books and notes she's getting in the mail. She read a whole book yesterday. Mrs. Dalloway.

She did mention to me that she was having some issues with hardcover books. Technically, she can only receive paperback books. However, if she is sent a hardcover book, she can donate it to the library there and then take it out from the library. For some reason, that system hasn't been working for one or two books she received before we started this whole list. So, based on that info, I updated the Amazon list to include only paperback books. A few of them are not out in paperback yet, but will be soon, so they have preorder options.

Amazon also has a nice promotion they offer on many items called the 4 for 3 promotion. If you choose 4 books from this special, you get one for free. So, I went through and marked in the comments all the eligible books on the list. I'm pretty sure you could even use it with two addresses, so if you wanted to get a book or two for yourself from the 4 for 3 and send other(s), that would work, too.

As always, thanks!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Thank You Jeff Feldman & Alaska Ear

A couple weeks ago, Alaska Ear (part of reported that Mechele had agreed to do an interview with Dateline and then left them high and dry when they showed up with their camera crews in Alaska. That was not the way I had heard the story, and we debated about whether or not to post our own version. It looks like Mechele's lawyer took care of that with Alaska Ear. To read the revised (and what I think is TRUE) version, of the story, check out Alaska Ear here. (Page down a bit to see the part about Mechele. It starts "No no no.")

Friday, June 13, 2008

Short Update on Mechele

Hello Friends and Supporters!

We heard from Mechele by phone last night. She just received 3 more books off her Amazon Wishlist. She is so very grateful. She also said she really appreciated the kind notes that people have sent along and wanted us to relate that once she is done with the books, she will donate them to the prison library. So, your gifts are benefiting more than just one! Thanks so much.

Keep the faith.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Presses May Have Stopped & Thank YOU Supporters

Well, it's been quite a week here at Free Mechele. I don't think I'm going to link back to all the articles that appeared this past week, just because it seems too self-referential and like too much work. Suffice it to say, we were in Alaska Daily News (ADN), The Olympian, Seattle Times (I think?), KOMO, and others. Lots of comments on all those, as usual. The hunger for Mechele news seems to be great. (Some of my favorite commenters are the ones who say they are so sick of reading about her. Perhaps maybe the better choice would then be to stop reading and commenting. But, I digress.)

The articles began because I told Megan Holland at ADN about the site, thinking she would add a sentence to some article she might write in the future. I had no idea our little site here would be the focus of an article that would then be picked up all over the place. Tuesday and Wednesday we had over 6000 hits on this blog. That is a LOT.

Thanks to everyone for checking us out and for the positive comments. Keep them coming. They mean a lot to Mechele and her friends and family. Some people have bought from the Free Mechele store. Some people have sent Mechele things from her Amazon list. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! We are all so very grateful for your kindness.

I do want to clarify something about Mechele's Amazon wish list. Most of the things on there are specifically chosen by me for Mechele. The list was one of my ideas in response to the question we often get, "What can I do to help?" I know that reading is a big comfort to her. Initially, I just meant to share it with friends and family. But when we put up this site, I figured we might as well take it to a larger audience since so many kind people like to help.

As far as how the list was/is created. I update it occasionally based on conversations with and letters I get from Mechele. She will generally tell me one or two specific titles that I add and then rate those as the highest priority. She then tells me much more general things, such as "classics like Tolstoy, Louisa May Alcott, Owen Wister, Thoreau, etc." and "books on data collection" or "college level coloring books" With those directives, I then search Amazon for things I think fit her parameters and that she will like. In the course of those searches, I then sometimes find new things that, as her friend, I'm pretty sure she will like. I then add those. So, the list is a conglomeration of specific things she has asked for, things I pick based on general requests, and things I just sorta stumble upon that I think she'd like. I then prioritize them as such.

To summarize:
Highest priority = she asked for this title
High priority = she asked for a general thing like this and I think she'll really like this one
Medium = she asked for things like this or I just think she'll like it

There is something like 88 items on there right now. That's all my doing. I don't want anyone to think she's greedy. She hasn't asked for that many. I just like to have options. If you use the links I provide to the amazon list, the items should be listed by priority.

There's still a possibility of getting posts in here from Mechele and/or Colin. I don't have a timeline for when it might happen, but when it does, I'll be sure to post.

Thanks again everyone!!!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Free Mechele Store


Due to some technical difficulties earlier in the day, the store was offline temporarily. But the good news is, it's back up now. We've decided to just stick with the logo at left as the signature item right now.

Want to show your support of Mechele in a big way? Now we have Free Mechele logo items to help you do just that.

Products include numerous kinds of T-shirts, sweatshirts, tank tops, mugs, stickers, pins, magnets, mousepads, and more. The design features Mechele's nickname, simply "Me". We thought it was a nice play on words.

Appeal Timeline

This appeal timeline just came in from Mechele's mom, Sandy. It gives us a much better idea of what we will be dealing with as far as progress in the next year or so.

  • Mid-June 2008 Defense attorneys have to have all transcripts, evidence, etc from previous trial.
  • Early July-Meeting with three judge panel and all attorneys.
  • August 1-Defense attorneys will turn in appeal
  • Oct 15-Deadline for prosecution attorney to respond.
  • Mid Nov-defense deadline to respond to prosecution' s response.
  • Early Dec (no later than Jan)-Oral arguments will begin.

Also from Sandy:
"This process can take up to twelve months meaning that we will have an answer no later than Jan. 2010. These are "worse case senarios," meaning this is the maximum time it will take. From what I understand once a new trial has been approved things begin to happen quickly.

"We are extremely impressed with the firm handling her case. Keep in mind that this will not be the firm representing her at the new trial. They only handle the appeal case. Kevin Fitzgerald will co-counsel with new attorneys, not yet chosen. All of this is frustrating at best, but it is the hand we have been dealt and we just have to play it as best we can."

Talked to Mechele tonight

Mechele called tonight! That's always exciting. I was busy cookin' up some grilled cheese for the fam when the call came in. Unfortunately, she only had a couple minutes before she had to go. We barely got to say hi, but she sounded fine. She said she'd call back, but must not have been able. Such is prison communication. I do have faith that we'll get a post from her here soon. Still workin' on it. Much more to come in the next few days, so stay tuned! list is updated!

If anyone wants to spread a little joy to Mechele, her wish list is newly updated with books she has requested.

The link to her wish list is always on the side bar, but I'll also put it right here, for your shopping convenience.

Mechele thanks you!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Terri's Sentencing Letter

Dear Judge Volland:

I am writing to urge you to consider the lightest possible sentence for Mechele Linehan. She is our neighbor and a dear friend of my entire family. Mechele is a close personal friend of mine, our children play together and until recently, we even spent the holidays together. When we moved to the neighborhood, Mechele and her daughter were the first people to welcome us, baked goods in hand, and have been warm and open with us the entire time we have known them.

Mechele is the sort of person who takes care of everyone around her. She is sorely missed by her friends, her family, and especially, her husband and daughter. She opens her heart and her home to those around her. Her home is a gathering place for friends and family of all generations. For example, she always takes a special interest in my mother, who lives with us, and makes sure she has what she needs and is included.

In the time I have known her, I have seen her as incredibly generous with her time, her resources, and her good humor. On more than one occasion I have seen her pick up a dog on the street, locate the owner, and be sure that the dog was returned. Mechele has taken in numerous animals that need homes. Although I consider myself a decent person, I don’t know that I would have gone the extra mile in many of the situations that I have seen Mechele do so. She is an inspiration to me.

More than that, of course, is that Mechele works to help people. She’s always willing to babysit for family and neighbors. Even while she was awaiting trial (and on severe restriction), Mechele took in a young woman who was experiencing an abusive relationship and tried to help her. She creates community with her family, the people in her neighborhood, and at her workplace.

One of the most impressive things I have seen about Mechele is how she has handled the entire indictment/arrest/trial/conviction. She has continued to go on with as normal of a life as possible throughout it all. During the year when she was awaiting trial, she took over a new business and worked incredibly long hours to make it thrive. She created a small family among the women who work at her clinic. She has kept a positive attitude in this most difficult of situations and just worked to make it as good for everyone concerned as possible. Even now, in prison, she has been working very hard at being the best she can be, to find meaning in her situation, and help others. This speaks volumes about her character.

All of us will suffer without Mechele in our daily lives. Not only is she not a threat to anyone, but she is such a force for positive in the community that it is truly a shame that she has been taken away from us. However, it is not most compelling that Mechele is a good friend, helpful neighbor, decent employer, and loving wife. These are all true. But most compelling is that she is the only mother that a dear sweet little girl has.

When I first met Mechele, as a mother, I was impressed with how she parents. She is loving, yet has high expectations. She is fun, but also tough. She pays attention to the small things with her daughter and is an ever-present shaping force in her life, from making sure she is not hurt by thorns on rose bushes to seeing to it that her daughter wears her bike helmet and writes thank you notes for gifts.

I have seen close up what this situation has done to her daughter. Mechele is not just a mom, she’s an extraordinarily great mom. To be robbed of that relationship has been very hard on both of them. From the time of the trial, her daughter has worked to be brave; she has been struggling forward with the positive attitude that all of us have been cultivating at Mechele’s lead. But I see her daughter taking little pieces of her mother and cherishing them to her heart, starting at the trial and continuing now. When we visited the Linehans in Alaska during the trial, her daughter paid special attention to how Mechele explained something to my 2 year old, hoping she could be as good with little children as her mother is. At Halloween, right after the conviction, her daughter kept insisting they do things as her and her mom always did. Just recently, at Christmas, we had her over to bake cookies. It was hard, because of course she had done this with her mom, but now she can’t. She has to go on without a mother for an unforeseeable amount of time. Possibly, as she goes through puberty, has her first date, perhaps even when she gets married and has her own children. I dearly hope that is not the case.

Thank you for reading this letter and considering my thoughts as you make this important decision.