Dear Emily Post,

I’m faced with an etiquette dilemma and I could sure use your help. How, precisely, does one make up for sentencing an innocent person to death? Does the proper response change based on the number of years that have passed since the wrongful conviction happened or does it depend just on the number of years spent on death row waiting to be executed? Since in this latest case, the state is Arizona, do you think I should go with a southwest theme?

And about the detective who lied and said she confessed, does he have to send a separate note or can he sign one along with the prosecutors who withheld evidence? Does Hallmark make a “So Sorry We Lied About Your Confession, From All of Us” card? Should they hold a birthday party for each year she couldn’t have one because she was in prison? Do we reenact all of the milestones she missed in her friends’, family’s and loved ones’ lives or just the ones where she would have been the guest of honor?

And what’s an appropriate consolation gift for 23 years on death row? I googled “traditional anniversary gifts” and found out that one should give something silver-plated. Do death row anniversaries use the same theme? I don’t want to spend too much, but I don’t want to seem cheap, either. Should I wrap it in the newspaper page that covered the story, or is that too much?

In case this figures into the equation, Debra Milke is the 151st death row exoneree. The court dismissed the charges and used the word “egregious” in describing the police and prosecutorial misconduct. This request is time-sensitive (she was just exonerated today), so I’d appreciate a speedy reply. Or at the least one sooner than the 23 years she spent waiting for justice.

Sincerely yours,

“Perplexed in Pennsylvania”