1. And... we're back. You'll notice that all of your images are back as well, as are our beloved emoticons, including the infamous :foo: We have also worked with our server folks and developers to fix the issues that were slowing down the site.

    There is still work to be done - the images in existing sigs are not yet linked, for example, and we are working on a way to get the images to load faster - which will improve the performance of the site, especially on the pages with a ton of images, and we will continue to work diligently on that and keep you updated.

    Cheers,

    Fok on behalf of the entire Styleforum team
    Dismiss Notice

Accepting work from a convict?

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Fabienne, Jul 17, 2006.

  1. Fabienne

    Fabienne Senior member

    Messages:
    2,030
    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    A friend of mine received a request from a man currently in prison (letter was stamped: Inmate Mail. Department of Corrections). The work is not his area of specialty, so he forwarded the request to me. Unfortunately, I have no PO box I could use, and the man has no access to email, it seems. Any other ideas so I do not give out my personal address? Any precautions you may offer? I have worked within prisons and for inmates before on other types of projects, but my information was always kept private, and I was paid by an agency.

    If I went ahead and accepted this project, it would not be for the monetary gain, it so happens that the research sounds interesting, and it would be relatively difficult for him to find someone else to do the work.

    Suggestions welcome.
     
  2. Joffrey

    Joffrey Senior member

    Messages:
    11,351
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2006
    Location:
    Pennsylvania Ave/Connecticut Ave
    Depends on what he's in jail for
     
  3. Fabienne

    Fabienne Senior member

    Messages:
    2,030
    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Isn't this private information?
     
  4. Matt

    Matt Senior member

    Messages:
    11,179
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2005
    Location:
    Sunny Saigon
    Just fork out for the PO box, and name it F.Fabssurname in the instance that the circumstances behind his incarceration worries you later.

    If you dont want to take on any expenses on a project that isnt profitable anyhow, act in the grand tradition of consultants the world over and creatively rebill it.
     
  5. lawyerdad

    lawyerdad Senior member

    Messages:
    21,820
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2006
    Isn't this private information?
    No. Different governmental agencies may be subject to legal or other restrictions in how they collect and/or disseminate this information. But the fact that someone was convicted and sentenced to prison for a crime is a matter of public record. With rare exceptions that are not likely to be applicable here, court files are public records that are open to the public -- and such files would reflect information about the conviction, sentence, etc.
     
  6. lawyerdad

    lawyerdad Senior member

    Messages:
    21,820
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2006
    Is it necessary that you have an ongoing dialogue with the client, or is the project something you can essentially research on your own without further information? If the latter, you could possibly use your friend who referred it to you as an intermediary.
    But I second m@t's suggestion that if you are sufficiently interested, you incur the moderate expense and inconvenience of an anonymous P.O. Box. Even leaving aside the obvious potential safety issues, you should keep in mind that any personal information the client receives may be disseminated, intentionally or unintentionally, within the facility where he is incarcerated. At the very least, this would create the potential for annoying and intrusive, even if non-threatening, requests from other inmates once the word gets around that you're someone who is willing to provide assistance to inmates.
     
  7. Fabienne

    Fabienne Senior member

    Messages:
    2,030
    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    No. Different governmental agencies may be subject to legal or other restrictions in how they collect and/or disseminate this information. But the fact that someone was convicted and sentenced to prison for a crime is a matter of public record. With rare exceptions that are not likely to be applicable here, court files are public records that are open to the public -- and such files would reflect information about the conviction, sentence, etc.

    I see. Thank you. Is there an easy way of finding out information online at no cost? The man does not reside in the same state as I do.
     
  8. Fabienne

    Fabienne Senior member

    Messages:
    2,030
    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Is it necessary that you have an ongoing dialogue with the client, or is the project something you can essentially research on your own without further information? If the latter, you could possibly use your friend who referred it to you as an intermediary.
    But I second m@t's suggestion that if you are sufficiently interested, you incur the moderate expense and inconvenience of an anonymous P.O. Box. Even leaving aside the obvious potential safety issues, you should keep in mind that any personal information the client receives may be disseminated, intentionally or unintentionally, within the facility where he is incarcerated. At the very least, this would create the potential for annoying and intrusive, even if non-threatening, requests from other inmates once the word gets around that you're someone who is willing to provide assistance to inmates.


    He would need to share documents, and I would have to send him my work based on the documents. This is a rather narrow field of expertise, so it would probably not be needed by any other inmate at that prison.

    I think I'll probably start negociating a contract through my friend (assuming he's willing) and then I may get the PO box, as suggested by m@t, if I feel it is getting too tedious: he is located in yet another state.
     
  9. lawyerdad

    lawyerdad Senior member

    Messages:
    21,820
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2006
    I see. Thank you. Is there an easy way of finding out information online at no cost? The man does not reside in the same state as I do.
    How information is kept and accessed varies from state to state. It is, unforunately, unlikely that the information can be obtained easily and for free. Perhaps with his name, etc. it may be possible.It likely would either require some digging or some $ - although the cost should be fairly nominal for someone used to tracking down such information (private investigators, etc.) If you were to request some information from the potential client (name, date of conviction, type of offense, case number, etc.) it probably would be easier to verify what he is telling you than to find it "blind". To the extent courts in various jurisdictions have case information and the like online, it is easier to find if you know what you are looking for. (That is, in many courts it is easy to find the records of a particular case about which you have enough information, but perhaps harder to find information if all you know is the name of a party, especially if that name is relatively common.)
     
  10. Patrick Bateman

    Patrick Bateman Senior member

    Messages:
    1,099
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2004
    Location:
    Manhattan

    If you dont want to take on any expenses on a project that isnt profitable anyhow, act in the grand tradition of consultants the world over and creatively rebill it.


    Well this would certainly help one to get into the "criminal" mindset.

    I recall a white collar case a few years ago about over-billing by an ad agency. The people who went to trial were convicted of fraud and did hard time.
     
  11. Fabienne

    Fabienne Senior member

    Messages:
    2,030
    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    How information is kept and accessed varies from state to state. It is, unforunately, unlikely that the information can be obtained easily and for free. Perhaps with his name, etc. it may be possible.It likely would either require some digging or some $ - although the cost should be fairly nominal for someone used to tracking down such information (private investigators, etc.) If you were to request some information from the potential client (name, date of conviction, type of offense, case number, etc.) it probably would be easier to verify what he is telling you than to find it "blind". To the extent courts in various jurisdictions have case information and the like online, it is easier to find if you know what you are looking for. (That is, in many courts it is easy to find the records of a particular case about which you have enough information, but perhaps harder to find information if all you know is the name of a party, especially if that name is relatively common.)

    I googled his name and came up with this wording: Sentence of death vacated, remanded for imposition of life sentence.

    He appealed in 01, appeal denied.
     
  12. Bradford

    Bradford Senior member

    Messages:
    6,708
    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2002
    Location:
    Phoenix
    I googled his name and came up with this wording: Sentence of death vacated, remanded for imposition of life sentence.

    He appealed in 01, appeal denied.


    Yeah - that's not good.

    Probably one of those convicted murderers whose death sentence was tossed by the Supreme Court a few years ago (because they were sentenced by judges, not juries) so now it's reverted to a life sentence.
     
  13. odoreater

    odoreater Senior member

    Messages:
    8,739
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2005
    Location:
    Elizabethtown
    If he was sentenced to death, then he must have been convicted for murder. It's the only crime for which death is a permissible punishment.
     
  14. Quirk

    Quirk Senior member

    Messages:
    2,581
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2006
    I don't know what business you're in, but even if YOU don't personally have an ethical problem with doing work for a convicted murderer, you might want to consider how it might look to current and/or potential associates, clients, etc. should they become aware of it. Not that that should or shouldn't influence your decision, but you should consider it and go into it with your eyes open.
     
  15. odoreater

    odoreater Senior member

    Messages:
    8,739
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2005
    Location:
    Elizabethtown
    I don't know what business you're in, but even if YOU don't personally have an ethical problem with doing work for a convicted murderer, you might want to consider how it might look to current and/or potential associates, clients, etc. should they become aware of it. Not that that should or shouldn't influence your decision, but you should consider it and go into it with your eyes open.

    I don't know what field Fabienne is in, but I know that at most Biglaw firms it's pretty acceptable practice for young associates to represent death row inmates in their habeas petitions on a pro bono basis.
     
  16. lawyerdad

    lawyerdad Senior member

    Messages:
    21,820
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2006
    If he was sentenced to death, then he must have been convicted for murder. It's the only crime for which death is a permissible punishment.
    Basically true, at least in terms of state offenses. I think on the federal side, there's treason and perhaps a few others. A few years back I remember being amused to discover that in this day of detailed statutory regulations and complex sentencing guidelines, the federal criminal code still defined the offense of "piracy" in language something like this:
    "Whosever cruises against the vessels of the United States is a pirate", with death being the specified maximum sentence.
     
  17. odoreater

    odoreater Senior member

    Messages:
    8,739
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2005
    Location:
    Elizabethtown
    Basically true, at least in terms of state offenses. I think on the federal side, there's treason and perhaps a few others. A few years back I remember being amused to discover that in this day of detailed statutory regulations and complex sentencing guidelines, the federal criminal code still defined the offense of "piracy" in language something like this:
    "Whosever cruises against the vessels of the United States is a pirate", with death being the specified maximum sentence.


    But even if death is the specified sentence, wouldn't the feds still have to show that the piracy or treason resulted in somebody's death to satisfy the Eighth Amendment? There was that Georgia case where the guy was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder, then escaped and raped some woman, and then when he was caught again they tried to impose the death penalty and on review the Supreme Court said that the death penalty can only be applied when the person is convicted of a killing. Might not apply to treason though because the punishment of death for treason is specified in the Constitution itself.
     
  18. lawyerdad

    lawyerdad Senior member

    Messages:
    21,820
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2006
    But even if death is the specified sentence, wouldn't the feds still have to show that the piracy or treason resulted in somebody's death to satisfy the Eighth Amendment? There was that Georgia case where the guy was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder, then escaped and raped some woman, and then when he was caught again they tried to impose the death penalty and on review the Supreme Court said that the death penalty can only be applied when the person is convicted of a killing. Might not apply to treason though because the punishment of death for treason is specified in the Constitution itself.
    You could well be right - I don't know the Georgia case in question. But I'm pretty sure it's not the case with treason (perhaps for the reason you've identified). I'm thinking in particular of the Rosenberg case. I just kind of liked the archaic and straightforward formulation of the anti-piracy statute, from a purely literary perspective.
     
  19. Quirk

    Quirk Senior member

    Messages:
    2,581
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2006
    I don't know what field Fabienne is in, but I know that at most Biglaw firms it's pretty acceptable practice for young associates to represent death row inmates in their habeas petitions on a pro bono basis.

    Oh yeah, I would expect that for a law firm, I just didn't realize this was legal work.
     
  20. Stax

    Stax Senior member

    Messages:
    858
    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
    Location:
    Bay Area
    But even if death is the specified sentence, wouldn't the feds still have to show that the piracy or treason resulted in somebody's death to satisfy the Eighth Amendment? There was that Georgia case where the guy was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder, then escaped and raped some woman, and then when he was caught again they tried to impose the death penalty and on review the Supreme Court said that the death penalty can only be applied when the person is convicted of a killing. Might not apply to treason though because the punishment of death for treason is specified in the Constitution itself.

    I think that case is Coker v. Georgia, or some similar name. IIRC, that court held that a sentence of death violated the 8th when the accused was only convicted of rape, rather than holding that murder is mandatory prerequisite to a death sentence. I am pulling this out of my foggy memory of a capital punishment seminar I took in LS, however, and I could be off base. Also, I think some other crimes that result in a death that does not rise to level of murder are eligible for the death penalty. Threatening or ordering the death of a federal witness or jury member is also a federal capital offense, I think.
     

Share This Page

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by