Crazy story in the NYT: bank robber goes to prison, becomes a fine legal mind.

[Shon Hopwood] prepared his first petition for certiorari — a request that the Supreme Court hear a case — for a fellow inmate on a prison typewriter in 2002. Since Mr. Hopwood was not a lawyer, the only name on the brief was that of the other prisoner, John Fellers.

The court received 7,209 petitions that year from prisoners and others too poor to pay the filing fee, and it agreed to hear just eight of them. One was Fellers v. United States.

“It was probably one of the best cert. petitions I have ever read,” said Seth P. Waxman, a former United States solicitor general who has argued more than 50 cases in the Supreme Court. “It was just terrific.”

And I love this twist:

Mr. Hopwood was released from prison in the fall of 2008. Mr. Fellers was out by then, and he owned a thriving car dealership in Lincoln.

“Here,” Mr. Fellers said, presenting his jailhouse lawyer with a 1989 Mercedes in pristine condition. “Thank you for getting me back to my daughter.”

Now he’s thinking about going to law school. He’s like the Saul Kripke of constitutional law.