Just so you know:
It is difficult to explain to a non lawyer how disastrous, absolutely disastrous, some of the “jailhouse lawyers” are. The law is complicated*, and most of the jailhouse lawyers have NO CLUE what they are doing! Talk about “lost in space”! The law library is IT!
2/10/17 = I changed the title to include “And Some Facebook Group Pages” because I am seeing soooo much bad info out there!! When I began my “mission” about 5 years ago, there were virtually no similar groups on Facebook; now, however, there are many prisoner/inmate/prisons groups and they are loaded with misinformation … bad legal advice!
If you know someone in prison, don’t let anything distract you from understanding this: – those “law libraries” are an unmitigated disaster! I have seen the harm they do. They are harming sooooo many inmates! 🙁
*WARNING! The law is complicated! And THAT may be the understatement of the century. Also, dealing with problems concerning CPS, Prisons, Police, Lawyers, Judges, etc. is tricky and can be extremely frustrating if you don’t know the best way to go about it.
So why have I reminded you of all this? Because there are an ever-growing number of Facebook groups and pages where people give advice when they HAVE NO CLUE what they are talking about! If you listen to them or believe what they write you are going to possibly waste a ton of time and money doing things (filing lawsuits) that have NO chance of getting to second base!! I don’t mean a slim chance, I mean NO chance!! They are DANGEROUS with their misleading advice! Two such groups are “Attorneys who fight and sue Child Protection Services” and some of the “wrongly convicted” sites or pages! Another is called “The Lawless Family Court Video Series” done by Bob Norton. Bob sent me his videos weeks ago and I am now viewing them. WOW! TONS of incorrect and possibly very dangerously misleading information! BEWARE! You can check my credentials at our website, www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net (click on Board Members) or by calling my references.
The sad state of prison law libraries is a SERIOUS nationwide problem, another consequence of officials’ refusal to acknowledge and remedy prison problems, and is costing taxpayers billions of dollars in the form of useless, misguided, pointless litigation! It also is destroying lives; imagine being wrongly convicted and getting no effective legal help whatsoever. Imagine being imprisoned and getting totally wrong and useless advice as to how to proceed with legal issues! This is what happens every day due to prison law libraries!
As you might imagine, once inmates learned that I was an attorney, ALL of them had questions! I have talked to thousands of inmates concerning virtually every conceivable issue. Read Call This Guy!
NOTE: Today I specialize in handling applications for Pardons and for Sentence Commutations/Clemency (reductions). I started on these while imprisoned, where I did indeed get three inmates out early – they got out before I did -, working from my isolation cell! Today I help people all over the country with Pardons and Commutations/Clemency. You can check my credentials at “Board Members”. Click there and then read my resume.
The U. S. Supreme Court requires that prisoners have “reasonable access to the law”. They have said that this means free counsel in criminal cases (the Public Defender) and they have said that prison law libraries must provide legal materials requested, and must have at least one person trained in the law on board.
What a joke! As you know, I spent five years in prison in Delaware (four years completely unlawfully – read “What They Did to Me” – in an isolation cell) and I spent at least 26,280 hours studying law: prison issues, prison abuse, civil rights, post conviction remedies, and much, much more … I got a good look at the “law library”. It was a disaster, and I do mean disaster! Nobody there was trained in the law. The guy in charge, a mean-spirited CO (His name is Brian Ingram – sue me,; truth is a defense), had taken some paralegal classes, but he refused to help anyone and just ran the place administratively. All others working there were/are inmates. They all repeatedly refused at least 1/2 of the legal materials requested, not just by me, but by many others. They repeatedly refused to make copies of legal documents which were required to be filed in court cases.
What I cannot adequately describe in a short essay is the overall chaos: The legal advice given out many times daily which was dead wrong, the lack of knowledge, the total failure to understand proper procedure, … I mean, it was a circus, a conglomeration of misunderstanding and bad information!
I tried to get a federal judge to intervene 4 times (i.e. when guards who were already defendants in one case I had filed entered my cell and stole legal papers critical to that case!); to get them just to provide the “bare bones” minimum which was required by law. All efforts were denied, fell on deaf ears.
In my 5 years, I met one man –one – who was a good jailhouse lawyers. I met dozens who claimed to be jailhouse lawyers, knew just enough to be dangerous, just enough to convince other inmates that they knew what they were doing and could help them (wrong on both counts!). These clowns were just giving inmates false hope and “ripping them off” in order to buy snacks from commissary or bilk unsuspecting family members of inmates out of hundreds of dollars. On several occasions I intervened and put a stop to this despicable theft.
This terrible mismanagement of our prisons is costing YOU a small fortune in tax money! Inmates file thousands of truly ludicrous cases in federal courts annually, and YOU are paying the Judges, staff, clerks who handle them and the attorneys who defend against them. Equally disastrous are the cases which may have valid legal claims, but because they are being presented by absolutely clueless inmates, they are wildly inefficient, sloppy, confusing,… And the whole thing is a mess, costing YOU billions upon billions of tax dollars!
That our prisons’ “law libraries” are as they are, in total defiance of the U S Supreme Court, is a national tragedy!
Read also: Citing Legal Cases: HOLDING v Dictum!