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  • PhilipZ

Day 416

Friday, January 24, 2020 -

Dear friends,

Thank you once again for especially your prayers, and the financial support from so many of you. Both are especially critical right now.

Since I do not have a copy of my previous letters, I do not know or remember all that I’ve already told you. However next week I will be mailing the response to my attorneys’ answers to Judge Arcara’s specific questions. The answers they gave were pretty much what I expected from them.

“D,” the Christian brother here in prison helping me draft all this pro se legal stuff, in consultation with me, has been working for weeks on my response to their answers and the final plea to Judge Arcara to vacate my sentence. We are attempting to anticipate every final thing the government will say in their final amended objection to my petition and include answers to those arguments in advance. With God’s help, no stone will be left unturned. I truly believe that even if I had the highest-paid attorney in the United States, I wouldn’t have found anybody more diligent and capable as “D.” And he truly loves the Lord and believes that God will ultimately vindicate me.

As far as the civil case goes, it has been delayed several times since December, and I am trying to get it delayed again. Because of my motion to Judge Arcara to vacate my criminal sentence, my attorney who I’ve had for the past nearly eight years has withdrawn from my case without notice. Part of the reason is also due to the fact that I insisted he no longer be lead attorney but play second fiddle to someone new, a concept which he refused.

His withdrawal was accepted by Judge Sessions in early January, and he gave us (me, Response Unlimited, and my daughter Victoria) less than a month to find a new attorney, which is a ridiculous and unreasonable deadline. Within a week, “D” helped me to file a pro se motion to delay that deadline until March 31. The good news is that the new trial-ready date, I believe, is now August 15. If Judge Sessions grants my request for a delay in selecting a new attorney, or even if he doesn’t, we’re hoping and praying to push the trial off until early next year, 2021.

In the meanwhile, I am wondering how in the world we are going to pay a new attorney! But I know my God is able to provide, and I know we must continue to trust in Him.

Some days I can get quite discouraged, and yesterday was one of those days. I was told by the unit team that I was ineligible for early release based on good time credits under the First Step Act. I realized that this might only get me released from a few weeks to two months earlier, but I was fearful it would take away the ability for me to spend the last year of my sentence on home confinement under the new experimental program for those over 60 years of age that was passed concurrently with the First Step Act.

And so I asked “D” to investigate for me and find out, especially since the team said I was ineligible for the First Step Act. Yesterday afternoon “D” told me I was eligible for the First Step Act, and that the team was probably lumping my sentence in with other kidnapping crimes, even though it is a different statute. “D” printed me out documentation, and I took it to my case manager. She was rude and adamant, that I was not eligible, and if I thought differently, I would have to go over her head by filing a form asking her supervisor to review it. She refused to look at my “proof.” This actually kept me awake last night, thinking about not knowing whether or not it would affect my going home until 2021. I actually laid awake for about two hours and then thought to myself how silly it was for me to be worrying about it, and so I began to pray and gave the whole thing to the Lord. I should have recalled what I’d read in Psalm 40 the previous morning, “I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destructions, out of the miry clay; and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm… Since I am afflicted and needy, let the Lord be mindful of me; Thou art my Help and my Deliverer; do not delay, O my God.” Then this morning, when I woke up, the Lord took me to Isaiah 46:4, which says, “Even to your old age, I shall be the same, and even to your graying years, I shall bear you! I have done it, and I shall carry you, and I shall deliver you.” What a promise! And just when I needed them most.

Later this morning, on the way back from lunch, I poked my head into the team manager’s office to inquire about the form I needed to file. She was most cordial and came just short of apologizing for being so curt last night. I asked whether not being eligible for the First Step Act would make me ineligible for the Senior Offender Release program, and she said, “Oh, no, that’s an entirely separate thing; you are eligible for that!” What a relief that was! Please pray though, especially during the next few weeks, that God would indeed move on Judge Arcara’s heart to vacate my sentence. The fact that he’d sent me the very detailed and thoughtful questions to the attorneys requiring an explanation means he believes my request has merit. Please believe and pray with us for a miracle!

In His service,


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