The kind you’re born with, the kind you choose, the kind that teach Catholic school
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Melody Ermachild Chavis is a longtime private eye who works for defendants in capital cases. She is the author of two books, Altars in the Street (Three Rivers Press) and Meena, Heroine of Afghanistan (St. Martin’s Press), and is at work on a third, a memoir about her career. She lives in Berkeley, California, and practices Buddhism at the Berkeley Zen Center.
The justice system is so capricious that if you were to read all of my case files and try to guess which defendants got death sentences, you could never do it based on the facts.
Sleeping alone in our bed one night when my husband, Stan, was away, I was awakened at 5 A.M. by a big wind. I put on my slippers and a robe and went into the kitchen. It was late November, and still dark at that hour of the morning. When I tried the kitchen light, I discovered the power was off. Looking outside, I saw the street lights were out. The wind was gusting so violently between our house and the apartment building next door, I was afraid the fir trees would blow down. I stood at the window, watching them toss and bend alarmingly.