In Deep Doo-Doo: A Texas Prisoner's "Vulgar Pen" Is Not Protected From Penalty
Four years ago, a Texas Department of Criminal Justice guest by the name of George Morgan filed for a habeas corpus proceeding, which the state asked the court to dismiss. Morgan didn't take kindly to that, and in response to the state of Texas's request, Morgan sent to Assistant Attorney General Susan San Miguel a letter that he'd penned on toilet paper, as he'd clearly run out of stationary by that point. The missive read, quite simply, "Dear Susan, Please use this to wipe your ass, that argument was a bunch of shit! You[rs] Truly, George Morgan."
So happens the state didn't take kindly to the note and docked Morgan 15 days of so-called "good time credit." He's been appealing that particular ruling ever since, claiming that "the First Amendment protects his vulgar pen from penalty and that the Fourteenth Amendment protects his good time credits from loss." Alas, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit disagrees with Morgan, ruling on Monday that the letter was "unsolicited, harassing, and resembled a threat." Reminds me of this one time in 1992 when someone mailed back one of my Jackopierce reviews, which they had used as toilet paper. The sentiment was similar.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Observer's biggest stories.