14 Apr, 2015

Staying Execution: Death Row and the Supreme Court, Part I

2019-03-18T18:47:28-05:00April 14th, 2015|Tags: , , , , |

  The Supreme Court’s handling of an application to stay an execution may be one of the most suspenseful facets of judicial procedure.  Life and death literally hang in the balance during this little-known and not-so-visible emergency litigation. Generally, a stay is an interim order that halts the effect of a lower court ruling.  Stays [...]

4 Dec, 2014

Prisoners As Pro Se Litigants

2019-03-18T18:47:32-05:00December 4th, 2014|

At Cockle Legal Briefs we work with a great variety of customers, including incarcerated prisoners appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court as pro se litigants. Prisoners who believe that some aspect of their conviction or confinement is unlawful are entitled to bring their cases to the courts—even as far as the highest Court. Some prisoners [...]

17 Sep, 2013

A Couple Weeks of Media Craziness

2019-03-18T18:47:41-05:00September 17th, 2013|Tags: , , , , , , |

I kind of figured what would happen after Adam Liptak from the New York Times called to say he was going to write a follow-up piece to his 2010 article about my life and legal successes while in prison. After the article in the Times, my wife Annie and I had a crazy couple of weeks that [...]

1 May, 2013

How To Write Prison Grievances

2019-03-18T18:47:42-05:00May 1st, 2013|Tags: , |

I recently learned about a new book on how prisoners can write grievances complaining about their conditions in prison. The book, written by Terri LeClercq, is called "Prison Grievances: When to Write, How to Write." The reason why this book is so good for prisoners is because it is written in a simple, and easy [...]

14 Jan, 2013

Cockle Printing And My Second Chance

2013-01-14T01:12:42-06:00January 14th, 2013|Tags: , , , , , , |

This past week, the Seattle Times published an op-ed I wrote about the need for prison reform. In the article, I talk about how I caught a big break following my release from federal prison. I was released in October of 2008, during the heart of the recession, and everyone found it difficult to obtain [...]

22 Dec, 2012

Saving Lives: The Post-Prison Education Project

2012-12-22T19:02:25-06:00December 22nd, 2012|Tags: , , |

Want to change a life? Make the community safer? Save taxpayer dollars? Incarcerating someone for one year costs around $35,000--as I wrote about yesterday in The's the equivalent of a year's college tuition. It also leads to more crime in the long run as the national recidivism rate for returning prisoners hovers around 66%. [...]

26 Jun, 2012

A Halfway House Nightmare

2012-06-26T05:51:26-05:00June 26th, 2012|

When I saw that halfway houses were trending on Twitter last week, I almost started laughing. I didn't know what the story was about, but I could take an educated guess. In case you missed it, the New York Times ran a series of pieces on the deplorable conditions at private New Jersey halfway houses. Then, [...]

18 May, 2012

Asset Forfeiture and the Right to Counsel: An Inmate’s Petition and Reply

2012-05-18T19:58:12-05:00May 18th, 2012|

Alvin Thomas is a federal inmate incarcerated in Kentucky, sentenced to 20-years imprisonment for cocaine distribution and possession. During the course of the prosecution, government lawyers initiated asset forfeiture proceedings against his property. Mr. Thomas asserts that because those efforts prevented him from using his assets to hire an attorney of his choice, the government [...]