Stilley has just filed a motion asking for reconsideration of an order that failed to consider and decide the specific claims raised, with respect to the government’s interference with Stilley’s legal resources. Also filed is an adoption of Lindsey Springer’s appeal brief. This post contains links to 1) the Court’s 12-27-10 order regarding briefing, 2) Stilley’s motion for reconsideration, and 3) Stilley’s adoption of Springer’s brief, in which he explains how Springer’s arguments are applicable to him, such that his conviction should be reversed and dismissed.

Court Order-122710

Motion Reconsider-011511

Adoption of Arguments-011511

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Stilley has spent more than 6 months trying to stop the Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) affirmative interference with Stilley’s right to access the courts. The Court told Stilley that he must exhaust his administrative remedies. The Department of Justice-Federal Bureau of Prisons (DOJ-BOP) stonewalled Stilley’s administrative claims, refusing to rule one way or another. The prison warden denied Stilley’s claims on 12-18-2010, which was after the deadline for filing his appeal brief, and after Springer actually filed his appeal brief. No reason was given for the denial. Stilley has appealed this decision to the Regional office. If that is denied, Stilley must appeal to the National office before he can appeal the decision to the courts.

Facing an impending deadline for filing his appeal brief, with no ruling on the merits of his constitutional claims, Stilley filed a motion asking the Court to explain how he should preserve his right to be free from government interference with access to the courts using his own legal resources. The DOJ-BOP was sabotaging the very due process rights that the Court directed Stilley to use, without any apparent fear of discipline from the Court. At the same time, the Court imposed a “final” deadline for filing the appellate brief.

The Court directed the DOJ to respond. The DOJ’s response claimed that because Stilley declined a government paid lawyer at trial, the DOJ was free to interfere with his access to legal authorities, court papers, etc., as much as they chose. Without waiting for a reply, the Court abruptly entered an order [light this up with a link, if you can] offering Stilley a court appointed lawyer at government expense, and telling him that he must pick one of 4 choices that the Court offered.

Stilley filed a motion for reconsideration, explaining that 1) under the appellate rules he had a right to reply, 2) the DOJ’s claims constitute a perversion of the case law on the subject, which always prohibits the government from actively interfering with a prison inmate’s use of his own legal resources, without regard to whether he had a lawyer, and 3) Stilley is entitled to file his own adoption[light this up with the adoption pleading] of Springer’s brief and to file his own full length brief as well.

This isn’t exactly leisure reading. Nevertheless I hope you’ll seriously consider reading or at least reading at these documents. This case is increasingly defined by the DOJ’s assault on the idea that prison inmates should be free from active governmental interference with their right of access to the courts. This right is guaranteed by the 1st Amendment right to petition, as well as the right to due process.

The United States has not achieved a prison population 5 times the rest of the world, on a per capita basis, by honesty and fair dealings with persons charged with crimes. The DOJ routinely extorts testimony, money and property, and plea deals from its victims. In order to silence the victims as they serve their unduly harsh sentences, the DOJ prevents inmates from using their own equipment and services to prepare legal documents. The equipment supplied by the DOJ is so wretchedly inadequate that it poses no significant threat to DOJ corruption.

The DOJ has evolved into an extortion racket and political slush fund. The DOJ cares little about justice and much about money and power. Each prisoner represents the opportunity to chisel some $40,000 annually out of the US treasury, much of which will be siphoned off by the politically well connected, rather than used for its intended purpose.

As citizens of a “representative democracy” we bear some responsibility for what our government does. We pay the freight, and we elect our leaders. We don’t just have the right to object to our leaders when government agencies become corrupt or incompetent or both. We have a moral obligation so to do.

The German people during WWII were mostly decent people. A tiny minority committed atrocities. Most did nothing worse than giving power to persons unworthy of it, and trusting the government when they should have been skeptical. They did tend to think that they were the greatest people in the world, a sentiment that many of us seem to have today. They were confident that their greatness would give them victory and spare them from calamity. They were wrong.

The citizens of these United States would do well to vigorously object to the systematic, institutionalized deprivation of due process practiced by the US DOJ, and its subsidiary the DOJ-BOP.