A crime I did not commit

For more than 10 years the idea of dying in prison for a crime I did not commit was not merely a random thought, it was a nightmare. I was serving two consecutive life sentences in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. There is no rehabilitation.

Like the 3,200-plus prisoners on death row and the thousands more serving life without the possibility of parole, my death by degrees in a California prison was almost guaranteed. I was a model prisoner, horrified when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger denied a stay of execution for Stanley "Tookie" Williams, one of the strongest cases of "redemption" the state of California has ever seen. Ironically, when Tookie died at the hands of the state Dec. 13, 2005, I was approaching the final months of my unlawful detention. I just didn't know that.