Michael Flinner
                                    
                       Death Row California
                  
          
              

Greetings,

Thank you for paying a visit to my page. My name is Michael Flinner.

Before I begin, think back … Have you ever lost a loved-one in your life who never knew how much you loved them?

On a lazy Sunday morning in June of 2000, exactly one week before my 33rd birthday, I awoke in the arms of my beautiful bride-to-be, lost in peaceful dreams.

Later that same day after running some errands with my only son Jonathan, then 10 years young, we would return home for a pre-planned family barbecue only to discover that Tamra had been murdered. Part of her will always live within me.

There are amazing pictures of us that I carry in my heart. I close my eyes and see them when the world gets dark.

One year later, in June of 2001, a former employee of my now defunct landscape construction company was arrested in connection with Tamra’s death. Her demise, still a shock to conquer after all this time.

Once apprehended, he made several statements to law enforcement which included that I had contracted him to carry out the murder in order that we might benefit from life insurance proceeds. Nothing could be further from the truth. Though our pathways have parted, to Tamra’s memory I am true.

Charged with conspiracy to commit murder and two special circumstances, automatically, the district attorney sought the death penalty.

There is no standard, profile or criteria used in qualifying someone to stand trial. It is all done rather arbitrarily. Anyone can be sentenced to prison. Children, mentally handicapped, first time offenders, and people with no previous criminal history. By and large, you will find people much like yourselves in custody. Yes, there are some “bad” people here but, in all of the time I have been inside, I have yet to meet anyone I would consider beyond help.

This may sound strange, but for those of you who’ve never sat on a jury, I encourage you to do so. Our jury system is not what it should or could be. Like everything else, it is susceptible to human nature and error.

Technically, one is presumed innocent until proven guilty but how many of us can say that we live our lives without bias? When we see an individual charged with a crime, most reason, “they must have done something wrong.”

Human nature is often unfair when asked to judge. I’ll tell you this, the system is vicious when it comes to trying someone. The state has virtually unlimited resources at their disposal. However, in support of your defense, that is if you’re not independently wealthy, they will only pay an attorney so much. Often the amount is not nearly sufficient, hence the defense falls short. The justice system in this way definitely victimizes the indigent.

Automatically, you are against the odds. The prosecutor is typically viewed as the “good guy”, after all, he or she is the crime fighter and an officer of the court.

Defense attorneys on the other hand are generally viewed with contempt, the “hired gun”, someone associated with the criminal element.

From the moment you enter the court room, the proverbial “deck” is stacked against you. The prosecutors know of these advantages and exploit them thoroughly.

In my case, the prosecutor used the testimony of jailhouse and paid informants. They certainly are not beneath coercing witnesses to manufacture evidence. In fact, they will do whatever is necessary to win a case. They are not remotely interested in justice, only winning. There are many disturbing examples reminiscent of deceitful inequities in our criminal justice system.

This winning interest is fueled and directly attached to their personal gain. By winning cases, they receive recognition. The recognition leads to a reputation for being tough on crime and when it comes time for promotion or election, you can imagine, this helps them tremendously.

Over 300 civil and professional witnesses testified in a ten week period. Not one person, say nothing of the convicted gunman, spoke of any such plot to kill Tamra.

His statements, as I mentioned earlier, found their way in part, before my jury. This amongst numerous other judicial indiscretions should never have occurred.

The same jury, a jury of my peers, would return verdicts of guilty in November of 2003, some 40 months ensuing the homicide.

Continued love and support of my family provides me enormous courage to preserve in what has become life’s worst journey. No matter what, there will never be a happy ending to this story. Tamra is gone forever.

I have had some personal experience with grief, loneliness, inadequacy, shame, guilt, and even anger. Haven't we all?

Ordinarily, I have, and live and complete life. I enjoy time with those I love, working hard and seeing the fruits of my labors, the outdoors, cooking, travel, writing, reading, boating, kids, museums and country music to name a few.

Everything I have worked so hard for in life is gone. I have lost it all.

Lately I have found what eludes me now in life is laughter, companionship and the seemingly simple ability to find something to hope for.

Often in the face of adversity, affliction and insurmountable misfortune, we ask God to forgive us all for the things we have done in life which fell against His permissive will. We ask Him for fluid guidance, security, and peace for our families and friends. I have done so, countless times.

How though, do we ask to be forgiven for something we did not do, or worse, couldn’t prevent?

In my innocence, I understand it’s not just a matter of living a better quality of life than the man in the next cell over. Compared to God, we all fall short of what we should be.

Despite this tribulation, I continue to celebrate in the sufferings of Christ, so that I may rejoice when His Glory is finally revealed.

Psalms 40:14 
May all who seek to take my life be put to shame and confusion; may all who desire my ruin be turned back in disgrace.

If asked to describe myself, aside from the photos, I’d say I’m a God-fearing, harmless, spontaneous, whimsical, passionate, goal-oriented man with a genuine love for life and a positive self-attitude. However, there have been several times when I honestly believed that the light at the end of life’s tunnel had all but burned out.

In an effort to keep from becoming one of the “forgotten”, I have chosen to break ground upon a series of personal growth tasks while awaiting resolution of appeals filed.

First, I plan to enroll in various college courses leading to a degree with an emphasis in land planning and ornamental horticulture.

Secondly, I'd like to write a few books and become a published author.

Additionally, I have a significant financial goal which must be achieved in order to retain aggressive, competent legal representation, and numerous expert witnesses for my next trial. No contribution will go unnoticed.

Most importantly, I yearn to make many new friends to share with for years to come.

I hope you’ll join me in my personal crusade against capital punishment. As human life is sacred, every person has value in the eyes of God.

Write soon and ask what you wish. I will answer all, postage permitting. Photos are welcomed.

While in thoughts that lie too deep for tears, it is hard to see the pain behind the mask.

Michael Flinner
San Quentin State Prison
1 Tamal # V-30064
San Quentin, CA 94974
U.S.A.
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This page was last updated October 22, 2005            Canadian Coalition Against the Death Penalty
This page is maintained and updated by Dave Parkinson and Tracy Lamourie in Toronto, Canada