INTERESTING NEWS RELEASE FROM SOUTH CAROLINA…
A now-famous “Jailhouse Lawyer” who gained national attention in 2008 when he took a fellow inmate’s case all the way to the United States Supreme Court has had lightning strike again in the legal arena.
Michael Ray, of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, who was nearly charged in 2008 with an “unauthorized practice of law” violation by South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster for his participation in the Supreme Court case, has had yet another of his former inmate clients’ cases gain national attention.
In 2009 the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond decided to consider the appeal of Timothy Rice of Greenville, South Carolina who was charged in a drug and gun conspiracy indictment in 1990. After several U.S. Supreme Court rulings relating to what defined “the use of a firearm” in relation to a drug trafficking crime, Ray petitioned the South Carolina District Court in 2008 to reduce Rice’s sentence, based on the fact that Rice did not “use” the weapon which was in his home at the time of his arrest. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Greenville supported Ray’s argument on Rice’s behalf when they agreed with Rice’s claims at the District Court level, and moved to vacate his sentence and have him re-sentenced.
Much to the amazement of the litigants, Rice’s original trial judge, the Hon. G. Ross Anderson of Greenville found against Rice and opined that his original finding was correct when he found that Rice did “use the weapon” in relation to the drug crime.
Rice appealed and the Fourth Circuit then appointed Professors Sean Andrussier and James Coleman, Jr. of the Duke University School of Law, along with their fourth-year law students to usher the appeal through their Court. Andrussier has maintained contact with Ray while briefing Rice’s case and the Court has set oral arguments for March 23rd. Ray hopes to be in attendance in the Richmond courtroom when the case is heard.
Ray was notified late last year that the American Bar Association will be featuring him in an upcoming article series in their ABA Journal publication based on his prior accomplishments as a “Jailhouse Lawyer.” In 2008, Ray was the first non-attorney to author a successful certiorari petition in the U.S. Supreme Court since 1969. As a result of the feat, he received worldwide media attention, including coverage by CNN, the BBC and the Washington Post. The ensuing press coverage caught the attention of Attorney General McMaster in South Carolina, and he investigated Ray’s legal activities, but was dismayed to eventually learn that Ray was permitted under federal law and Bureau of Prison’s regulations to assist and prepare the fellow inmate’s certiorari petition.
Upon his release from federal prison in 2008 Ray vowed that he had “officially retired” from his criminal ways, and to date he has remained crime-free and is working to complete his five-year term of post-release supervision.
YOU GO MICHAEL!