Letters from jail

July 24, 2008
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If there’s ample evidence you wrote threatening letters to the president of the United States and chief justice of Canada, and you happened to include a white, powdery substance that could be mistaken for anthrax, then don’t try to appeal your convictions.

One inmate in the Westville Correctional Facility, Kerry Magers, decided while he was incarcerated to send these letters using his name and the correctional facility’s address.

He was convicted based on the evidence, but he appealed. His attorney smartly moved to withdraw because he thought any appeal would be frivolous.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals granted the attorney’s motion today in USA v. Kerry Magers, finding all of Magers’ argument for appeal would be frivolous.

Kudos to Magers’ counsel for not attempting to file an appeal. I’ve read several opinions from the 7th Circuit in which the justices take attorneys to task for filing frivolous appeals.

Magers was found to be competent to stand trial, but there’s got to be something off about his way of thinking for him to send threatening letters stating, “enclosed is anthrax, Sincerely, Die,” and then to think that he could appeal his sentence when the evidence was overwhelming that he sent the letters.

Inmates have a lot of time on their hands, and they sometimes use it to write letters. Indiana Lawyer gets a few letters from inmates. Have you ever received a letter from an inmate and what’s the strangest letter you’ve received or heard about?
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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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