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From the Editor

by Paul Wright

After editing PLN for over 31 years now, it seems like all 370-plus issues of the magazine kind of blend together in my mind like one big, long magazine. A lot of stories don’t have a beginning, middle or an end but rather are like a very, very long play with many scenes in them.

This month’s cover article is one of them. In the very first issue of PLN, May 1990, which myself and PLN’s co-editor at the time, Ed Mead, hand-typed in our respective maximum security prison cells, we reported on the murder of then Oregon DOC director Michael Francke and Gable’s arrest for the murder. Today, 31years later, we are still reporting on Francke’s murder and the rather startling developments behind Gable’s habeas release.

The story is far from over, with prosecutors now appealing the habeas decision. The state’s appeal has been pending for several years now before the 9th circuit federal appeals court. We will report the court’s decision when it is issued. The bigger question of who killed Francke, and why, may never be known. It may turn out to be the story without a conclusive ending, just an enduring mystery.

Speaking of wrongful convictions, this issue reports the filing of a lawsuit by Robert DuBoise against Tampa police and “expert witnesses” who wrongfully convicted him of a rape and murder he did not commit, for which he spent 37 years in prison, several on death row, before eventually establishing his innocence and getting released. He is represented by attorneys from the Human Rights Defense Center, the publisher of PLN, and the Chicago law firm of Loevy & Loevy. Details of his ordeal and now his quest for compensation for those many years he was deprived of his liberty are on page 10.

The COVID pandemic continues its course and will likely get worse during the winter months. We continue reporting developments around it—legal, medical and news wise. Unvaccinated staff entering prisons and jails seem to be the primary vectors for the disease and they are also showing resistance to getting vaccinated. Around the country, various state governments and the federal government are imposing vaccine requirements on police and prison and jail guards. We will report on those developments as well.

If you have not donated to our annual fundraiser yet, please do so. HRDC undertakes a massive amount of advocacy for prisoners and their families, and the victims of police state injustice. We need your support to continue doing so. HRDC does not have a lot of foundations or wealthy people writing huge checks to support our work (and not for lack of trying on our part). Rather it is individuals like you whose donations and support allow us to keep advocating for lower phone rates for prisoners and their families, to end the financial exploitation and abuse of prisoners and to keep plugging away on these issues and many others year after year. We have always operated a very lean organization where money goes to very direct advocacy, litigation and publishing. Even if you cannot afford to donate now, please encourage friends and family members and those in your social network to do so.

We have several book projects in the works. Hopefully by the end of the year we will have John Boston’s new book, The PLRA handbook: Law and Practice Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act available for shipping. We also have a new edition of Protecting Your Health and Safety in the process of being updated and several other books as well. And we have the paperback edition of Victoria Law’s new book, Prison By Any Other Name: The Consequences of Popular Reforms, available and ready to ship. See the interview with Vikki in this issue of PLN, on page 38.

Lastly, readers have probably noticed that they are getting PLN later in the month than they normally have in the past. This has been caused by slowdowns with the post office which seems to be operating slower and slower with each passing day and there have also been delays by our printer due to both staffing and paper shortages. If your issues of PLN or CLN are later than usual please give them extra time to arrive.

A number of prisoners have taken advantage of our introductory specials to subscribe to PLN and its companion publication Criminal Legal News. We are offering bundle deals for readers who wish to subscribe to both publications, which allow for greater savings. Please subscribe now as the fewer renewal notices we have to send out the more staff time and postage we can save and focus on putting out the magazines themselves!

In addition to our print magazines, we also have a free daily electronic newsletter and we also publish news on a daily basis on our Facebook and Twitter accounts under the handles of the Human Rights Defense Center.

Enjoy this issue of PLN and please encourage others to subscribe. 

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