IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS EASTERN DIVISION
April 30, 2013
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
AMIR HOSSEINI, DEFENDANT.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Milton I. Shadur Senior United States District Judge
On April 5, 2013 this Court issued an order directing any lawyers who may have assisted Amir Hosseini ("Hosseini") in the research and preparation of his recently submitted 28 U.S.C. § 2255 motion and supporting memorandum to reveal their identities. Hosseini has responded by saying that the assistance he had received was not provided by a licensed attorney but rather by a "jailhouse lawyer" who has chosen to remain anonymous. Two points should be made:
1. By recognizing the obvious fact that Hosseini himself is not capable of having produced the documents that he filed, this Court should not be mistaken as expressing any view as to the quality or lack of quality of that work product. Familiarity with legal vocabulary does not automatically carry with it a full understanding of the underlying legal concepts and of their application (although, by the same token, the absence of a license to practice law does not necessarily mean that the unlicensed person is incapable of doing credible work).
2. At the same time, Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(b) imposes specific standards and burdens on everyone who presents written materials to a federal court. Although that rule speaks in terms of "an attorney or unrepresented party," the representations required of any filer must extend as well to anyone who acts behind the scenes -- and the "jailhouse lawyer" is a prime example of such a person.
Accordingly this Court will require disclosure of the identity of the so-called "jailhouse lawyer" who has assisted Hosseini in this instance. If, as Hosseini's response states, that individual's preference for anonymity is based on "government retaliation concerns," this Court will cause that revelation of his identity to be filed under seal if he so requests.
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