Shon told the sentencing judge that he would change his lifestyle and pleaded for an easier sentence. The judge did not believe his promise. The judge said: We will know in 13 years if you mean what you say.
He was locked in the federal prison in Perkin, Illinois.
The prison’s law library changed his life. He spent much of the time there. He suddenly realized he was able to understand the laws very quickly and very clearly. He turned himself into a Supreme Court practitioner.
In 2002, Shon prepared his first petition for certiorari. This is a formal request to the Supreme Court to hear a case. He did this on behalf of his friend in jail, John Fellers. John was sentenced on a drug related case. Since Shon was not a lawyer, his name did not appear on the brief. That year, more than 7,200 such requests were received by the U.S. Supreme Court. It agreed to hear only 8 of them. One was Fellers v. United States.
Seth Waxman, a former U.S. Solicitor General, agreed to argue this case in the Supreme Court. He said this certiorari was one of the best he has ever read. He had one condition to Fellers. Shon should be involved in this case and decide how to frame the arguments, decide on strategy, and anticipate questions from the justices.
The Supreme Court unanimously (9-0) decided in favor of John Fellers.
Shon helped several prisoners in many states and got their sentences reduced from lower courts. He was released from prison in 2008. He is now working on many Supreme Court petitions. He recently wrote a petition for a prisoner, who says his Miranda Rights were violated.
What is a “Miranda Right”? In 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court mandated (Miranda vs Arizona) that arresting police officer must tell the criminal suspect his/her fundamental rights at the time of arrest. The police officer should inform the suspect with the following words:
“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have a right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you”.
If the suspect does not know English, the above statement must be told to him/her in his/her mother tongue.
If the arresting police officer fails to tell the suspect his Miranda Rights, the judge will dismiss the case even if the arrest was made for premeditated murder committed in front 100 witnesses.
Shon is interested to go to law school and get a law degree. A law professor at the University of Michigan, who is working with Shon on various cases, has already secured a seat for him.
I know couple of lawyers (one in Mumbai and another one in Delhi) is looking for a talented assistant.