From my e-mail inbox:
Dear Blog Editor,
We thought you might be interested to hear that The Harvard Civil Rights-Civil
Liberties Law Review is publishing its first ever article written by a prison
inmate, Thomas C. O’Bryant, who is a jailhouse lawyer serving two consecutive
life sentences in prison without hope of release. Having taught himself the
law from prison, O’Bryant has represented himself and other inmates in numerous
criminal and civil lawsuits in state and federal courts over the past ten years.
In his law review article, O’Bryant describes the difficult process that he and
other indigent inmates must endure to challenge their state convictions.
O’Bryant argues that the combination of federal laws and stringent prison
conditions make it impossible to challenges wrongful convictions effectively.
O’Bryant describes his own case, in which his lawyer assured him that if he
pled guilty, he would be eligible for release after ten years, even though he
discovered from prison that he would never be eligible for release.
O’Bryant’s article is the centerpiece of a Symposium of articles in the Harvard
Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review that examines pro se litigation ten
years after AEDPA. Other authors of articles in the Symposium include Bryan
Stevenson, the director of the Equal Justice Initiative of Alabama and a
Professor at NYU Law School, Jamie Fellner, the director of U.S. Programs at
Human Rights Watch, and Jessica Feierman, at attorney at the Juvenile Law
Center in Philadelphia, PA. Coming on the heels of the 10th Anniversary of the
passage of Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, all of the
articles in the Symposium challenge legislators, scholars, advocates, and
everyone interested in issues of criminal justice in America to rethink its
treatment of “final” criminal convictions.
The entire Summer Issue of Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review,
including O’Bryant’s article, is available online at: