There will be many people who read about the actions of Florida Death Row inmate William Deparvine with disgust, or anger, or both – and with his appeal on the truck claim going forward, there will many more new stories to invite further emotional response to Deparvine’s actions.
Who is William Deparvine?
William Deparvine is currently housed in the Death Row Unit of the Union Correctional Institution in Raiford, Florida. He’s been found guilty of murdering Richard and Karla Van Dusen and he’s been sentence to death for these crimes. This criminal conviction is being appealed.
Deparvine is an Excellent Example of a “Jailhouse Lawyer”
Many inmates in facilities across the country spend lots of time learning the law – and then sharing their information with fellow inmates, as well as entering the system with their own handwritten filings and letters to the court. However, in the case of William Deparvine, he’s gone further than most: Deparvine has filed a lawsuit, representing himself (acting “pro se”), seeking to gain title to a classic pick-up truck from the Estate of Richard Van Dusen.
What many find particularly reprehensible about this act is that Deparvine met Van Dusen and his wife through a classified ad placed to sell the classic truck, and killed them while he was purportedly discussing its purchase with them. The jury found that the “bill of sale” for $6500 from VanDusen to Deparvine was not legit, and there is no other evidence that a sale ever took place. The executor of the Van Dusen Estate sold the truck shortly after the deaths – so all that Deparvine can hope to achieve, should he win his case, is a monetary sum. Many view this civil suit as a strategy on Deparvine’s part to favorably impact his pending criminal appeal.
Still, Deparvine has survived the first level of any lawsuit without being thrown out. He has lost at the trial court level, but his case was not dismissed on grounds for which other jailhouse lawsuits are notoriously booted: lack of jurisdiction, for example, or failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
Deparvine, the Jailhouse Lawyer, has successfully taken his case to the appellate level and his arguments are being considered by the 2d District Court of Appeals. Even the Van Dusen Estate’s counsel has given Deparvine his due, as he was quoted in the media as saying “[Deparvine]’s one of the best jailhouse lawyers I’ve seen.”
Deparvine Is Also an Example of Death Row Inmates Still Having Legal Rights
Due to the heinous nature of the crimes upon which their sentences are based, many Death Row inmates are considered by much of the public – as well as many in authority, truth be told – as not having any legal rights once they have been assessed capital punishment. And, while it is true that many of their rights have been taken from them as they live, day after day, in those small Death Row cells, they are still U.S. citizens and they still have many of the same legal rights as you and I.
For instance, they can still file suit. And, they can still seek monetary damages. As William Deparvine is educating so many with his Classic Pickup Truck lawsuit today.