Notice of Appeal:

The Legal Reader reports (thanks to Joe Olson for the pointer):

Plaintiff George C. Swinger, Jr., an inmate in Washington State, filed a pro se Notice of Appeal in a civil case before U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton in the Western District of Washington. The Notice, filed July 12, 2006, states:

I hereby am informing you that I am appealing the asshole Ronald B. Leighton's decision in this matter.

You have been hereby served Notice. You're not getting away with this shit that easy.

You can view the handwritten Notice of Appeal here (.pdf). (That's almost as good as a "Motion to Kiss My Ass" . . . .)

The links to the notice (and the motion to kiss the movant's ass) are in the Legal Reader post.

The "Motion to Kiss My Ass" would be funny if it were the product of some curmudgeonly lawyer or legal prankster. Actually it caps a long series of ravings from a man serving life in prison for murdering a police officer in the line of duty.
8.3.2006 7:26pm
Cornellian (mail):
Our law school career office recently sent out an email about some federal court that was looking for a full time pro se lawyer. Imagine having a job consisting of reviewing filings like that full time.
8.3.2006 7:46pm
Bottomfish (mail):
Why is it not possible for a court to require that unless a filing meets a minimal standard of coherence and civility, it will be ignored? What the hell! The more legal "documents" get cranked out, however silly and vapid, the more the legal industry thrives.
8.3.2006 8:01pm
DaSarge (mail):
This order has been making the rounds up here in the W.D. of WA. Appellant is a lucky guy. Judge Leighton is a most patient man &all around good guy. Had he drawn Judge Coughnour or Quackenbush (E.D. WA), I suspect things would have been more problematic from his standpoint.
8.3.2006 8:06pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
What would Coughnour or Quackenbush do? He's already serving a life sentence.
8.3.2006 8:18pm
John Jenkins (mail):
Impose sanctions under Rule 11. That banc account could get empty in a hurry.
8.3.2006 8:41pm
Ted Frank (www):
J.B./Harry -- why do you think Swinyer is serving a life sentence for murder? The records I see, from perusing his frequent filings, is that he's a lifelong criminal who's in jail for violating a domestic violence order. The PSLRA will shut him down soon enough.
8.3.2006 8:46pm
Ted Frank,

I'm talking about
8.3.2006 9:15pm
Ted Frank,

I'm talking about Matthew Washington, the litigant in the "Motion to Kiss My Ass."
8.3.2006 9:15pm
Ted Frank:

The guy who wrote the "Motion to Kiss My Ass" is in jail for murder. The Notice discussed here is by a different guy. The "Kiss My Ass" thing was just mentioned as another example of a humorous filing. And I agree with JB that it loses its humor when you find out the author is in jail for murdering a cop.

What I liked here is that the guy hand wrote a proper caption, included the line numbering and everything. Just like you would see on a computer-writen document. Nice job.
8.3.2006 9:18pm
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):

The "Motion to Kiss My Ass" would be funny if it were the product of some curmudgeonly lawyer or legal prankster. Actually it caps a long series of ravings from a man serving life in prison for murdering a police officer in the line of duty.

Still funny.
8.3.2006 10:29pm
Ming the Merciless Siamese Cat (mail):
Charlie: This no more funny than if a litigant took a crap in the court room.

John: Read the Rule. The Notice in question does not, on its face, appear to violate Rule 11.

The remedy is to find the jackass litigant in contempt of court for calling the judge an asshole.
8.3.2006 11:18pm
Alan Gura:
The notice does not conform to the requirements of FRAP 3(c).

Perhaps the judge will get away with it after all.
8.3.2006 11:19pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
Ming: It's no less funny than that, either. To be precise, I'm sure I wouldn't find it funny if it happened in front of me. But am I a bad person if I laughed when I heard about it? Or even when I read your comment?
8.3.2006 11:28pm
The kicker with his notice, of course, is that it shouldn't be sufficient because he didn't name the court to which the appeal is taken, presumably the Ninth Circuit. See Fed. R. App. P. 3(c)(1)(C).

But knowing how the Ninth loves to bend over backwards to poor indigent litigants, I'd bet it works anyway.
8.3.2006 11:59pm
Ming the Merciless Siamese Cat (mail):
Prof Volokh:

Fair enough. But the Notice merits a guffaw only because such conduct is extremely rare in the and likely to be quickly punished. Yes, we would laugh if someone pooped in court once. We'd not be laughing if it happened, say, once a month.

Practicing abroad, including in jurisdictions where verbal, written and physical abuse of judges is not uncommon, I suppose I am more [overly? Ed.] sensitive when it comes to respecting the dignity of the courts. But trust me, once you've seen a litigant throw a shoe at a judge or proceedings degenerate into a mass brawl (in Indonesia and Taiwan respectively, if you're curious), you don't soon forget it.

It really is a slippery and short slope. Abuse and incivilities multiply quickly, and prisoner pro se litigants are the ones most likely and inclined to drag the courts down to their level. Having had to sort through prisoner pro se petitions when I clerked, I don't there are thousands of potential, indeed eager, incarcerated imitators out there who aren't really subject to any effective sanctions.
8.4.2006 12:07am
Eugene Volokh (www):
Ming: Your first paragraph strikes me as quite right.
8.4.2006 12:28am
Ted Frank (www):
I want to thank everyone for not calling me to account for mistyping PLRA as the entirely different PSLRA, which I had on my mind.
8.4.2006 1:37am
Well, I was wondering, but the Ninth Circuit DOES tend to interpret the PSLRA broadly...
8.4.2006 4:30am
Ira B. Matetsky (mail):
It's not quite the same as Ming's hypothetical, but see United States v. Perry, 116 F.3d 952 (1st Cir. 1997).
8.4.2006 9:54am
Falafalafocus (mail):

Nice cite. I really have a problem with the court's analys of purging the contempt in this context. Sometimes, the legal term of art just isn't warranted.
8.4.2006 10:32am
John Jenkins (mail):
Ming, I thought the post ahead of mine was referring to the "Motion to kiss my ass" mentioned in the post, not the notice of appeal.
8.4.2006 10:39am
Ming the Merciless Siamese Cat (mail):
"We sit by and watch the Barbarian, we tolerate him; in the long stretches of peace we are not afraid. We are tickled by his irreverence, his comic inversion of our old certitudes and our fixed creeds refreshes us; we laugh. But as we laugh we are watched by large and awful faces from beyond: and on these faces there is no smile."

8.4.2006 11:09am