So, the appellate process is very different than a trial. It is very slow and requires tremendous patience and calm. One thing I’ve learned is that deadlines are not really deadlines. Meaning, if something is due on a certain day, and you’re not done, you can always get a brand new deadline. I wish college and graduate school were like that. Many deadlines have come and pass and we have just now received the State’s response to our appellate points. These are points that question whether any of Judge Volland’s decisions strayed from the rules of the game. We are confident we have found examples that are pretty clear cut. But, we wait.
Now it is our turn to answer the State. Then comes oral arguments and the last part is the three-judge decision. This can take some time. We have patience and hope. There are some very strong appellate points.
With this process, the focus shifts specifically to the trial and nothing else. Any new evidence we have does not come in at this point. Any new witness or affidavit is not important here. The appellate process is strictly about the trial and errors of law within.
So, if you have followed what I’ve previously written, you can see why I can’t really comment on Judge Volland’s statements during the trial and sentencing. He is obviously a good man, but his sentencing speech was pretty interesting. I will state that he stated he had “a clear conscience” about his sentencing twice. The first time, it was for the people in the courtroom. I wonder if the second time was for him.
There is one last item I would like to touch on now. When I received the State’s response to our appeal, I noticed it was brought to us by Mr. Richard A. Svobodny. Mr. Svobodny is the Acting Attorney General for the State of Alaska. Mr. Svobodny also wrote an internal email to congratulate his colleges on October 22, 2007 after Mechele’s conviction. He states, “Exotic dancers across Alaska are shivering with fear with the conviction of Mechele Linehan.” This does shed some light on what this whole trial was all about. Notice he doesn’t say “Murderers across Alaska are shivering with fear…”