I decided to retain a civilian appellate attorney, in spite of the repeated advice of many inmates here. The thing is, I haven’t had great experience with military lawyers and I’ve been in the appeals process for four months now but have yet to hear one word from my appointed military appellate attorney. His/her silence doesn’t inspire confidence.
The civilian attorney called to talk to me before he even received my court transcripts. Dare I allow myself to plant a seed of hope?
Parole is a separate process from my appeal and it’s about time to begin preparing my parole packet for the parole board. Given that my clemency board occurred six months after it was supposed to, I have little hope of a timely parole hearing. Even if it is timely, my chances of parole are slim. Parole boards hinge primarily on a few factors: the prisoner’s salient factor score (see p. 36 in linked .pdf), admission of guilt and expression of remorse, and a fulfilled treatment program. My salient factor is higher than my actual sentence, so that’s a strike against my parole. I’m not going to admit guilt, though I’ve expressed remorse over the pain I caused (half a strike). And I’ve had zero treatment while incarcerated (2 ½ strikes) – not for lack of trying.
According to my treatment plan, I was supposed to start anger management classes last May and then being Reasoning and Rehabilitation in September. I’ve not started either. No one’s even told me how long my training is postponed. I’ve now been here nearly two years and haven’t been able to attend a single treatment regimen. So yes, my chances of parole aren’t great. Nevertheless, I have to try. I have to get out of here and begin rebuilding my life and I’d make a million parole packets to do that.