AuthorLRIRE

Introduction: Jailhouse Lawyering

Jailhouse lawyering has a long and radical tradition in the American prison system, and for decades, it has been recognized and protected by the U.S. Supreme Court.  In Johnson v. Avery,[1] the Court struck down Tennessee’s restrictions on jailhouse lawyering because “it is fundamental that access of prisoners to the courts for the purpose of presenting their complaints may not be denied or...

Barriers to Jailhouse Lawyering

Abstract Jailhouse lawyers face unreasonable barriers to have their constitutional claims heard post-conviction.  Courts, without adequate regard for the physical limitations inherent behind bars, place procedures over justice. *** They say that a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client.  When you are poor and incarcerated, you often have no choice.  Your right to appointment of...

Broken Systems: Function by Design

Abstract This Essay traces the roots of the criminal legal and immigration systems and explains my personal journey through these systems, as well as what I have observed about how they operate today.  These systems are rooted in British and colonial laws, as well as Puritanism.  The remnants of these practices still affect our systems today and show us that they are not broken but working...

Applying for Compassionate Release as a Pro Se Litigant

Abstract This Essay describes the importance of exhaustion of administrative remedies to filing petitions for compassionate release as a pro se litigant.  The exhaustion requirement has traditionally functioned as a barrier to filing petitions in federal court.  It can often take months or over a year to fulfill the exhaustion requirement, which means that people seeking compassionate release are...

Insurgent Knowledge: Battling CDCR From Inside the System. The Story of the Essential Collaboration Between Jailhouse Lawyers and Appointed Counsel & Lessons for Resentencing Today

Abstract Jailhouse lawyering enables incarcerated persons throughout our nation to access the court system as pro se litigants, but self-represented litigants face detrimental barriers to obtaining justice.  A partnership between prisoners filing pro se and appointed attorneys is essential to bridge the gap between the vast resources of the State and those of prisoners, equipped with...

Bound by Law, Freed by Solidarity: Navigating California Prisons and Universities as a Jailhouse Lawyer

Abstract For jailhouse lawyers, winning a lawsuit seems like a victory, but there are multiple barriers to practicing law post-incarceration. Building on personal experiences, this Essay focuses on the deterrents to legal education in prison and post-incarceration for jailhouse lawyers. Through an examination of structural obstacles that keep formerly incarcerated people out of the legal...

Challenging Gladiator Fights in the CDCR

Abstract The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has a long history of placing people in long-term isolation in response to suspected or confirmed gang membership or affiliation.  Despite being forced to stop the practice of  indefinite solitary confinement, CDCR continued other arguably unconstitutional practices in response to gang activity.  At Pleasant Valley State...