U.S. Supreme Court

Ex-Alito Clerk Will Represent 'Frequent Filer' Inmate Who Won Cert with Handwritten Appeal


Pennsylvania inmate Kim Millbrook won Supreme Court review of his handwritten appeal with some help from his opponent, the U.S. Solicitor General’s office.

Milbrook is what some would call a “frequent filer,” the New York Times reports. He has been housed in four prisons and jails and sued for alleged mistreatment in every one. Every lawsuit has so far been unsuccessful.

One judge noted Millbrook had a propensity to get involved in physical disputes and then to complain about the consequences; another said Millbrook complained of injuries derived from an attack on an inmate “who turned out to be armed and disposed to protect himself.”

Millbrook alleges in the case before the Supreme Court that he was sexually assaulted by prison guards, an accusation found to be unsubstantiated by the prison. Christopher Paolella, a former law clerk to Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., has been appointed to represent the inmate.

The lower courts ruled that the government could not be sued because of sovereign immunity. The Solicitor General’s office told the Supreme Court that the courts were correct on the issues raised by Millbrook and cert should not be granted. But the office said a separate issue in the case concerned the scope of a law enforcement exception to sovereign immunity for intentional torts, an issue on which the courts were divided.

At issue is whether the law enforcement exception applies only in the course of investigative or law enforcement activities. SCOTUSblog posted the brief (PDF).

The government said the issue may warrant review in the future, the Times says, but “the Supreme Court decided not to wait.”

Hat tip to How Appealing.

Prior coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “SCOTUS Agrees to Hear 2 Pro Se Appeals; One Written in Pencil by Inmate off of Website Form”

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