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Three Years, Six Months, Two Months discussed on 60 Minutes



Of course and part because there's not a lot for the inmates to do he doesn't talk about the things that he witnessed and experienced in federal prison he doesn't want his family to know and he sees no value and reliving except for the job he landed in the safety of the legal library which every federal prison is required to have and for the first six months i worked at the present law library i didn't hardly touch the books they were big they were thick they were intimidating what was the spark that got you to start opening the books and looking at them south motivation it all started with a supreme court ruling that sean thought might help him get his sentence reduced in an ended with him assisting other prisoners with all sorts of cases i spent two months working on my own case researching and i was never able to get an illegal relief for myself and tire time i was in federal prison but you were for other inmates i did lawyers had made really bad mistakes are really costs their clients sometimes you know a decade or two and federal prison inside the walls at peak and he won the respect to fellow inmates in discovered that he had an aptitude for something the law i would be sitting in my sal reading a federal reporter which is a compendium of federal court of appeals cases and i would just read that cover to cover as if it was a novel just for fun was a fun i think the laws fascinating in what way it was like a big puzzle for me three years into his prison term he got an opportunity to show just how much he learned when john fillers a friend and fellow inmate sean to appeal his drug conviction to the highest court in the land a came to me and said would you take the case and what did you file this petition to the supreme court said no absolutely not why has case was very complex and i didn't think i could do it but john was very persistent he would spend months working day in night on the petition it required him to master the facts of the case understand the statutes and legal precedents identify the air's made by lawyers and judges in the appeal process and then craft an argument in the language of the court before mailing it off to washington did the supreme court note the brief have been written by prisoner the first hat what abandon the fact that it was typed on a typewriter i don't think law firms in two thousand and three where using typewriters to knock out supreme court braves four out of nine supreme court justices must agree for a case to be heard that year more than eight thousand petitions were filed seventy four were accepted one of those was written by sean hopwood at one morning a friend of mine came running and screaming my name shawn shawn shawn than what he had was a copy of the usa today and i read the article said that the court had granted john fellers case with through your mind i was shocked i was shocked that the court had granted the case and that i had done something that you know lawyers wait their whole lives to do and done at the first time it's not that unusual for prisoners to file their own petitions what is freakishly unusual is for one of those petitions to be granted seth waxman a prominent appellate lawyer in the former solicitor general of the united states is not easily impressed but winning was asked to argue the fellers case before the supreme court he said he would do it only if sean hopwood would work from prison as part of the team i wanted him to be involved because i was really curious it seemed actually almost inconceivable that somebody with his level of education and his level of exposure to the life of the law could actually write a.

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