I READ One-hundred and twenty volumes of United States Supreme Court decisions while in federal prison because I thought it was the most efficient use of my time. I was back on a parole violation for smoking pot and knew I had exactly fourteen months. Got the job a Head Inmate Law Clerk right off the bus, put people in charge of everything and read this death penalty case where the lawyer was placed on the stand against a charge of Ineffective Assistance of Counsel. He said under oath he had only read two (2) Supreme court cases while in law school. I thought to my self: If I read ten cases does that me make more knowledgeable of the law than a real lawyer? Your damn right it does!
I'LL BET YOU there are lawyers who have read ten (10) SCOTUS decisions but, how many have read a hundred cases? How about One Hundred Volumes (100)? It's never been done.....until now.. The following is a short description of the cases that blew my mind..
REMEMBER them adjustable light poles with three or four lights on it? Major patent dispute. Intermittent Windshield Wipers? Twenty years of litigation... I spent weeks on Bartkus v Illinois alone. It was my first big important case and the complexity of Sovereignty, federalism. double jeopardy, prosecutorial misconduct and Justice Black nearly walked off the bench like Justice Thomas did in Payne v. Tennessee (Victim Impact Statement), made me question early on if I had the Right Stuff i.e, Intelligence to complete this quest....
Bartkus v. Illinois, 359 U.S. 121 (1959) Petitioner was tried and acquitted in a Federal District Court for violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113, which makes it a crime to rob a federally insured bank. On substantially the same evidence, he was later tried and convicted in an Illinois State Court for violation of an Illinois robbery statute.
1. The cooperation of federal law enforcement officers with Illinois officials did not
violate the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment.
2. The Fourteenth Amendment does not impliedly extend the first eight amendments
to the States.
3. The Illinois prosecution for violation of its own penal law after a prior acquittal for
a federal offense, on substantially the same evidence, did not violate the Due Process
Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
LAWS CONTROL the lesser man, right conduct controls the greater one. #MARKTWAIN
I READ ONE HUNDRED AND twenty volumes of United States Supreme court cases because I thought it was the most efficient use of my time doing five years in federal prison for bank fraud back in the 1980's. To be a great writer you have to read great writers and while legal writing is not exactly classic literature, occasionally a work of art emerges and this case is one of them. In one of the histories of the United States Supreme Court I read that the Justices drew straws to decide who would write the opinion for the high court. One of the two biggest baseball fanatics won, Justice Harold Blackmun and Justice Potter Stewart shared an obsessive following of baseball. In one oral argument on October 10, 1973, Stewart passed Blackmun a note that read, "V.P. AGNEW JUST RESIGNED!! METS 2 REDS 0." If you love baseball you will love this case.
PEOPLE ASK ME what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring. #RogersHornsby
Mr. Justice BLACKMUN delivered the opinion of the Court.