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From behind bars to the bar exam

A former Nebraska prison inmate is finding himself on the right side of the law these days.

While behind bars, bank robber Shon Hopwood filed petitions for certiorari on behalf of other inmates, one of which was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

After getting out of prison, Hopwood is now attending law school courtesy of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and has just published a book about his life, called “Law Man.”

Hopwood discovered his penchant for the law while working in the prison law library, where he transferred to get away from work in the cafeteria.

One of his fellow law library coworkers, serving 12 years on drug charges, asked him to write a petition for certiorari to the Supreme Court. Hopwood’s petition argued the inmate’s right to an attorney had been violated when police talked to him after he was indicted.

The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case (ultimately knocking four years off of the inmate’s sentence) and Hopwood even worked with the attorney who took over the case from prison. After Hopwood got out of prison, the inmate, now a car dealer, gave him a new Mercedes Benz as thanks.

Hopwood is now married with kids and attending the University of Washington School of Law on a full scholarship.