The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Brett Kimberlin Attempts a Hail Mary, But ‘None of His Passes Finds a Target’

Posted on | March 7, 2020 | Comments Off on Brett Kimberlin Attempts a Hail Mary, But ‘None of His Passes Finds a Target’

Late last month, while I was covering CPAC, convicted bomber Brett Kimberlin lost a case in federal court in Indiana, in which he was trying to get some of his earlier convictions vacated. My podcast partner John Hoge has covered this latest failure of Acme Law:

One of my favorite excerpts from this proceeding is U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler’s response to one of Kimberlin’s court motions:

Kimberlin has received an abundance of process. He had three trials, and at least four direct appeals, five collateral attacks, and four habeas petitions. … Put differently, “Kimberlin is no stranger to appellate proceedings.” United States v. Kimberlin, 898 F.2d 1262, 1264 (&th Cir. 1990) (Kimberlin VII). As of 1990, he had “averaged two appeals per year in [the Seventh Circuit] over the last decade.” Id.
Now he is back. Decades after his convictions, Kimberlin returns for another inevitable round of litigation. Dispersed over at least 10 filings, he launches a fusillade of claims — complete with typical conspiratorial bent — that range from merely incorrect to actually misleading. He does so under the writ of coram nobis“[the] criminal-law equivalent” of a “Hail Mary pass.” United States v George, 676 F.3d 249, 251 (1st Cir. 2012). None of his passes finds a target.

I enjoy it when lawyers include colorful language in their filings. Like, how often do you encounter the word fusillade? We might have expected “barrage,” but fusillade catches us by surprise. The author of this filing is assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Reitz, an Indiana University alumnus who majored in — wait for it — sports journalism.

There was a time, about ten years ago, when I could write like Grantland Rice. Not necessarily because I believed all that sporty bullshit, but because sportswriting was the only thing I could do that anybody was willing to pay for. And none of the people I wrote about seemed to give a hoot in hell what kind of lunatic gibberish I wrote about them, just as long as it moved. They wanted Action, Color, Speed, Violence…. At one point, in Florida, I was writing variations on the same demented themes for three competing papers at the same time, under three different names. I was a sports columnist for one paper in the morning, sports editor for another in the afternoon, and at night I worked for a pro wrestling promoter, writing incredibly twisted “press releases” that I would plant, the next day, in both papers.
Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72

How perfect is it that an ex-sportswriter like Brian Reitz became a Republican lawyer whose job gave him the opportunity to sling a sports metaphor in the face of that evil bastard Brett Kimberlin?

There is no reason why legal writing must always be boring, and I suspect that Judge Pratt got a smile on her face when she read Reitz’s filing in the Kimberlin case, which concluded thus:

Kimberlin’s incessant litigation appears unlikely to abate. Reveling in his litigiousness, he covers the “continual reexamination of [his] old convictions.” Craig. 907 F.2d at 658; cf. Kimberlin, 2017 WL 3141909, at *1. But he has had his day(s) in court. This Court should deny his petition — without discovery or a hearing — to preserve precious judicial, and governmental, resources for “those who have yet to receive their first decision.” Sloan, 505 F.3d at 698 (citing Keane, 852 F.2d at 204) (emphasis in Sloan). Because, besides the weakness of Kimberlin’s claims, “no society can afford forever to question the correctness of its every judgment.” Withrow v. Williams, 507 U.S. 680, 698 (1993) (O’Connect, J., concurring and dissenting). Enough “is enough.” Peoples, 403 F.3d at 846.

That’s lawyer-talk for, “This criminal pest deserves nothing.”



Comments are closed.