Senior U.S. District Court Judge Richard Kopf has stated in his blog, Hercules and the Umpire, that his criminal sentencing “viscera” in the sentencing of convicted bank robber Shon Hopwood was wrong: “Hopwood proves that my sentencing instincts suck.”
Shon Hopwood appeared before Judge Kopf in the late 1990s for sentencing following a guilty plea for bank robbery using a fire arm during a crime of violence. At the time, Judge Kopf sentenced Mr. Hopwood to, among other things, a 147 month prison term. In prison, Mr. Hopwood became a jailhouse lawyer, authoring a successful petition for certiorari for another inmate to the United States Supreme Court. After leaving prison, Mr. Hopwood worked at a legal publication printing company, interned for a federal district court judge, worked with a federal public defender’s office, wrote a book, and is currently in his final year at University of Washington School of Law. Mr. Hopwood made the news this week after being offered a coveted judicial clerkship with U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Judge Janice Rogers Brown.
Following news of the clerkship, Judge Kopf took to his blog to congratulate Mr. Hopwood, stating that he “deserves all the credit in the world.”
While LPR knows little of Judge Kopf’s courtroom demeanor or rulings during his tenure as a judge, we applaud his apparent self-awareness. It is inspirational to see someone of power humble enough to question themselves. We hope all judges take note, step back, and look within.
- Incarceration, Second Chances, and Clerkships (judicialclerkreview.wordpress.com)
- Unusual Law Clerk Hire for D.C. Circuit Judge Janice Rogers Brown (legaltimes.typepad.com)
- Reformed Bank Robber Scores Coveted Federal Judicial Clerkship (thinkprogress.org)
- Use Hyperlinks, Don’t ‘Bitch-Slap’ — and Other Tips from a ‘Cranky’ Federal Judge (legalblogwatch.typepad.com)