Commercial Litigation and Arbitration

Sanctions — Pro Se Inmate’s Letter to Court Laced with Obscenities and Charges of Racism Directed at Judge and Court Reporter Sent with “Improper Purpose” of Harassment, within Rule 11(b)(1)

From Kelly v. Null, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109356 (S.D. Ill. Nov. 23, 2009):

[T]his is not a situation in which the Court is threatening to impose sanctions on Kelly for making a layperson's mistake of law; rather, as is aptly demonstrated by even a cursory glance at Kelly's October 19 letter, Kelly's abuse of the judicial process is gross and obvious to any observer, whether an attorney or otherwise. In the letter, Kelly, who is black, repeatedly accuses the undersigned District Judge of racism and of attempting to influence the jury at the trial on Kelly's civil rights claim against him out of racial bias, a very serious charge, of course, for which Kelly has yet to offer a shred of evidence in support. Also, Kelly makes demeaning comments about the undersigned's longtime court reporter, Molly Clayton, and a former party to this matter, Marvin Powers. Finally, Kelly showers the undersigned with obscene epithets that the Court is pleased not to have to repeat here. There is no serious question in the Court's mind that Kelly presented a paper to the Court, his October 19 letter, for an improper purpose, e.g., harassment, within the meaning of Rule 11. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(b)(1); Coats v. Pierre, 890 F.2d 728, 734 (5th Cir. 1989) (affirming the imposition of Rule 11 sanctions on a pro se litigant who stated in a submission to the trial court that opposing counsel "acted like a little nasty dumb female Mexican pig in heat" and was "nothing but garbage"); Washington v. Alaimo, 934 F. Supp. 1395, 1396, 1400 (S.D. Ga. 1996) (imposing Rule 11 sanctions on a pro se party who filed a paper alleging, in terms laced with obscenities, that a judge of the court was corrupt).

Share this article:


Recent Posts