Wednesday, February 24, 2010
He Don't Need No Law Degree
"Shon R. Hopwood ... spent much of that time in the prison law library, and it turned out he was better at understanding the law than breaking it. He transformed himself into something rare at the top levels of the American bar, and unheard of behind bars: an accomplished Supreme Court practitioner. ... The court received 7,209 petitions [in 2002] from prisoners and others too poor to pay the filing fee, and it agreed to hear just eight of them. One was Fellers v [US]. 'It was probably one of the best cert. petitions I have ever read,' said Seth P. Waxman, a former [US] solicitor general who has argued more than 50 cases in the Supreme Court. 'It was just terrific.' In January 2004, Mr. Waxman called Mr. Hopwood at the federal prison in Pekin, Ill. They had won a 9-to-0 victory. Justice O'Connor wrote the opinion. ... The law library changed Mr. Hopwood's life. ... By 2005, the Supreme Court had granted a second petition prepared by Mr. Hopwood, vacating a lower court decision and sending the case back for a fresh look. Mr. Hopwood has also helped inmates from Indiana, Michigan and Nebraska get sentence reductions of 3 to 10 years from lower courts. ... Mr. Hopwood now works for a leading printer of Supreme Court briefs, Cockle Printing in Omaha. ... Mr. Hopwood, who is 34, said he hoped to apply to law school next year", Adam Liptak at the NYT, 9 February 2010, link:
Hopwood wants to be a lawyer now That argues against his being rehabilitated. Does he want to work for Mary Jo White in New York? Look out!