The new Supreme Court term begins next Monday and Court watchers are already sizing up the cases that they plan to hear, including one with a rather unusual approach to lawyering. On Tuesday, the Court agreed to hear the petition of Millbrook v. United States, involving a federal prison inmate who sued after claiming he was raped by three guards. The unusual part is that Millbrook doesn't have a lawyer, has been warned previously about filing frivolous lawsuits, and his petition was written by hand on lined legal paper.
According to McClatchy Newspapers, the Supreme Court receives about 9,000 petitions every term. From those, the Justices pick maybe 75 to actually be given a public hearing. In a good year, one of those cases might belong to a prisoner who filed on his or her own behalf. Most of those at least had access to a typewriter. Yet, in an even odder twist, the Court not only agreed to hear Millbrook, but they also accepted the case of Matthew Descamps, another inmate in the exact same Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, prison here Millbrook is serving his sentence. Two prisoners, with no legal training and a habit of wasting the time of lower courts, will both get their day in front of the Supremes.