Kentucky U.S. Attorney’s Office Sues Prisoner Who Files Four Lawsuits a Day
I usually don’t link to articles lamenting frivolous prisoner litigation, because I don’t consider it a real problem. Of course there are recreational and vexatious litigants out there, but meanwhile the Prison Litigation Reform Act as well as institutional and cultural barriers make it exceedingly difficult for prisoners with legitimate grievances to get into court. On the whole, prisoners are actually less litigious than the general public, though you might expect them to have more claims to make since literally every aspect of their day is controlled by the state and thus brings opportunities for something potentially actionable to go awry.
That said, since Jonathan Lee Riches has his own Wikipedia page, has garnered coverage on the likes of Gawker and Above the Law, and has filed suit against everyone from Perez Hilton to Pervez Musharraf, I thought readers might find this item of interest. From the Telegraph:
The US Attorney’s Office in Kentucky said the persistent lawsuits were “a waste of judicial resources” and eat up court time that could be used for legitimate cases.
Prosecutors have now filed their own lawsuit asking for Riches’ outgoing prison correspondence to be screened by a court employee, and any frivolous legal filings stopped.
Riches has been in prison for nearly a decade after pleading guilty to using email to obtain credit card numbers from people online. He is due to be released in March 2012.
More here from the WSJ Law Blog. As I’ve noted before, the media has an unfortunate though not surprising tendency to focus on extreme cases like this one; meanwhile, the pressing need to reform the Prison Litigation Reform Act has been recognized by a broad coalition.