Good Law | Bad Law #154 - From Jailhouse Lawyer to the Supreme Court: A Conversation w/ Professor Shon Hopwood about His Remarkable Journey

From jailhouse lawyer to law professor and criminal justice reform advocate . . .


Aaron Freiwald, Managing Partner of Freiwald Law and host of the weekly podcast, Good Law | Bad Law, is joined by Shon Hopwood, an attorney and law professor at Georgetown Law, to discuss his remarkable life story and how it brought him to understand the need for profound reform in our criminal justice system.  After Shon’s story was featured on a recent episode of “60 Minutes,” he graciously agreed to come on Good Law Bad Law to share his story and the reforms he believes are so urgently needed.


Shon served 11 years in federal prison for a series of armed bank robberies he committed in his early 20s. After securing a job in the prison law library, Shon discovered that he had quite the knack for the law and legal thinking.  After failing to get his own sentence reduced, he turned to helping other inmates with their cases.  Against all the odds, Shon wrote a brief to the U.S. Supreme Court asking for review of a fellow inmate’s conviction and the appeal was accepted.  This brought Shon into contact with former Solicitor General Seth Waxman, who agreed to argue the appeal.  Then . . .  well, you just have to listen to the episode to hear the rest of Shon’s incredible journey and his views on in-prison rehabilitation services, mandatory minimum sentences, and re-entry training and services.


A graduate of the University of Washington School of Law, and a Gates Public Law Scholar, Shon’s research and teaching interests include criminal law and procedure, civil rights, and the constitutional rights of prisoners. He has served as a law clerk for Judge Janice Rogers Brown of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. And his legal scholarship has been published in the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties, Fordham, and Washington Law Reviews, as well as the American Criminal Law Review and Georgetown Law Journal’s Annual Review of Criminal Procedure.


To find more information on Shon, visit his Georgetown web page here.


Host: Aaron Freiwald

Guest: Shon Hopwood