Appellate Practice

SCOTUS Agrees to Hear 2 Pro Se Appeals; One Written in Pencil by Inmate off of Website Form

In a highly unusual move, the nation’s top court on Tuesday agreed to hear two pro se appeals, both of which apparently involve sovereign immunity issues.

One was written in longhand, in pencil, by an inmate at a federal prison in Pennsylvania, using a boilerplate form that can be downloaded from the U.S. Supreme Court’s website, reports the Associated Press. Appellant Kim Lee Millbrook is seeking to revive a dismissed lawsuit he filed alleging sexual assault by Special Management Unit guards. Prison officials called his claim unsubstantiated.

The other pro se appeal, for which a $300 filing fee was paid by appellant Steven Alan Levin, seeks to revive a medical malpractice and battery claim over unsuccessful cataract surgery performed at a U.S. Navy hospital in Guam.

Appellate attorney Tom Goldstein, known for his work on SCOTUSBlog, said it was “unheard of” for the Supreme Court to accept two pro se appeals at the same time, the article reports. It also notes that the Supreme Court routinely appoints counsel to help pro se parties.

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