Stilley presented to the US Supreme Court clerk the following four documents; 1) A provisional response in support of Lindsey Springer’s petition for certiorari, 2) a motion asking the court to stop the BOP’s interference with my access to the courts, etc, 3) a motion for in forma pauperis status, and 4) a proof of service. These documents have been made available to the public via the blog. The link to these documents is available in the blog post.

The central issue in this case, for me, has been the right of access to the courts. It started soon after my incarceration and continues to the present date. After no less than 19 pleadings in 8 separate proceedings before 5 tribunals, I have not been able to obtain a reasoned decision, or the enforcement of well established US Supreme Court case law prohibiting interference with my right to use my own property in defense of my liberty.

Read the blog post HERE…

Upon incarceration April 23, 2010, I discovered almost immediately the fact that prisoners are denied effective access to the courts. Even in Tulsa County Jail, even for garden variety criminal charges, inmates are denied the most basic information, equipment, and supplies necessary to reasonably access the courts. The inmate may own all this equipment at his home or business. He is just prohibited from possessing or using that property while in jail.

I’ve attempted to enforce my constitutional right of reasonable access to the courts for 2 years, without success.  The provisional RESPONSE in support of Lindsey Springer’s petition for writ of certiorari lays out in reasonably concise form the history of the fight. I’ve also filed a MOTION to enforce my right of access to the courts , a MOTION for In Forma Pauperis status , and a PROOF OF SERVICE

Without an enforceable right of access to the courts, the other rights of incarcerated persons, pretrial or post trial, mean very little. The government has a great incentive to jail political opponents or people against whom their case is thin, or who may have a legal claim against the government. Jail is a great bargaining chip to get people to waive legal claims for the violation of their legal rights.

I hope you’ll read this response, but consider the numbers. I have filed (or at least tendered for filing) no less than 19 pleadings in 8 separate legal proceedings in 5 separate tribunals. I have not obtained one single reasoned decision explaining why I am not entitled to the relief that I seek. Nor have I obtained relief in any court.

The reason for depriving incarcerated litigants of the right to use their own property in support of their legal rights is quite simply a fear and hatred of the truth. It is the fear that the well equipped prisoner will achieve a result much better than the result to be achieved by a prisoner whose ability to think, learn, and speak in his own defense, has been crushed by the very adversary who deprives him of his liberty.

The April 2012 edition of Vanity Fair has an article about Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a Russian who became wealthy by the age of 30. During his 30s, a bank that he owned failed, and his company Yukos was at one time incapable of paying wages owed. He persevered and within a few years was one of Russia’s richest men.

Khodorkovsky first loved Communism, and openly. Then he espoused economic profit as the greatest good, and openly, going so far as to write a book entitled THE MAN WITH THE RUBLE. Then he discovered and embraced the love of the truth.

The love of the truth opened Khodorkovsky to the value of loving and caring for other people, including but by no means limited to his own employees. He is reported to have been at one time the source of more than half of all non-government organization (NGO) support for charity within Russia; and by some accounts up to 80% of it. He recruited his own parents to oversee a home for disadvantaged children. When oil prices bottomed, his employees supported him despite being on the very edge of starvation, while Yukos owed them wages. The employees knew that he was honest and genuine, and that he truly cared about them.

In February 2003, Russian president Vladimir Putin invited Russia’s wealthiest businessmen for a discussion. The meeting was open to the media – a rarity in Russia. Vanity Fair describes the meeting thus:

Against his partners’ counsel, Khodorkovsky went to the meeting intent on standing up to Putin. He took a Power-Point presentation highlighting facts that everyone present was certainly aware of but just as certainly tried to pretend they did not know. Slide Six was titled “Corruption Costs the Russian Economy over $30 Billion a Year” and cited four different studies that had arrived at more or less the same figures. Slide 8 was titled “The Shaping of a New Generation” and contained a chart comparing three different institutions of higher learning; one that produced oil-industry managers, one that trained tax inspectors, and one that prepared civil servants. Competition to get in the last college reached almost 11 applicants per spot, whereas aspiring tax inspectors had to beat out only four competitors, and future oil-industry managers had to fight off fewer than two – even though the starting salaries in the oil industry were as much as three times higher than those in the government sector. The explanation, according to Khodorkovsky: high-school students choosing civil service were factoring in what they could expect to make from corruption.

Khodorkovsky boldly spoke truth to power, to Putin’s face, about the corruption that plagued Russia, knowing full well the risks. In response Khodorkovsky heard thinly veiled threats directly from the lips of Putin. Knowing full well that Putin could make good on those threats, he chose the truth over a life of ease and pleasure. He persisted in his opposition to public corruption and dishonest governance.

After the attacks upon him and his company started, he could have signed over his Russian assets to the enemies of truth, and departed to some other country to live his life out as a billionaire, living the good life. Others chose that course and tried to persuade him to do the same, saying that he should “…try to bargain from a position of freedom.” He rejected their counsel, fully aware of the likely consequences.

Khodorkovsky was charged, incarcerated and mistreated, given what amounted to a trial in name only, and sentenced to a long prison term. Recently he was charged again on even more ludicrous grounds, convicted, and sentenced to more time in prison. Khodorkovsky knows the Kremlin’s goal, and what he must do to gain his freedom. He must confess to the false accusations of the Russian government, cede title to his Russian property, and depart Russia. Others have chosen that course and escaped further punishment. Khodorkovsky refuses because, to him, the truth is a greater good.

Political leaders around the world – including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – regularly confront Putin about his treatment of Khodorkovsky.

Is this not hypocritical? What is Clinton’s basis for challenging Putin over his opposition to the truth, when the US federal government pervasively suppresses the truth through unconstitutional means, with respect to its own federal prisoners? Is the moral suasion of the US executive branch not blunted by its own persistent suppression of the truth, buttressed by a corrupt and dependent judiciary?

Jesus in the account of the rich young ruler asked him to sell all that he had, give it to the poor, and follow Jesus. Forced to choose, the rich young ruler valued his wealth and the security that it brought more than Jesus. Since Jesus equated himself to “truth,” one might arguably say that the rich young ruler valued his possessions more than truth.

Speaking to his disciples thereafter, Mark 10:29-31 records Jesus as saying: “I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel [30] will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields – and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. [31] But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

By 2 separate gospel accounts (Matthew and Mark) he promised 100 to 1 repayment, IN THIS PRESENT AGE, as well as eternal life. Do you think he’s good for his word and his promises? Do you think that Jesus will be a debtor any man?

The power of the truth lies in our own hands, quite literally at our own fingertips. Modern society has the internet and I-petitions and blogs and Twitter and Facebook and faxes and emails and the printed page. The ability to project, disseminate, and defend the truth has never been greater, in the history of the world. What then is the justification for condemnation of assaults upon the truth far away, while maintaining silence as to the same phenomenon at home?

An American attempting to persuade a Russian that Americans had more liberty, bragged that he could go to Washington, DC, stand in a public place, and loudly say “The US president is a crook!” The Russian smiled and responded that he could go to Red Square and say the very same thing. Of course he could. Anyone can denounce evil from a safe distance – that requires no courage at all. Denouncing evil under the heavy breath of Big Brother is another story altogether.

The Russian people are finding in their hearts a love for the truth even when it’s costly. From time to time, pictures of Khodorkovsky beside Putin bear the caption “time to trade places.” They quickly get torn down by the authorities, but then pop up some other place. The Russians are ascending the ladder of truth, despite a tragic history of incompetent and despotic governance. They are rejecting dishonesty despite the very real threat of beatings, prison, and loss of property.

Khodorkovsky has credibility with the Russian people because he has chosen and persevered in the truth when the price was high. Putin fears him for all the same reasons. The truth has a power all its own.

The people of this country hail from the greatest heritage of liberty in the history of the world, yet we are descending into an abyss of deception and lies. Ben Franklin, asked what sort of government was created, said “A republic, if you can keep it.” Our fathers kept the faith for many generations. How can we be guiltless if we receive this great heritage from our fathers, yet pass on to our children a morally and financially bankrupt police state? How can we help the Russians clean up their government before we clean up our own?

If we truly care about Khodorkovsky, we should love and fight for the same thing he fights for – the truth. Defend the truth not just for yourself and your friends, but for every member of society, no matter how despised or hated, no matter who or where they are. Defend the truth as a matter of principle.

Discover and embrace the power of truth.