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Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ordered to Pay Prisoner $500 For Misconduct

On April 6, 2005, a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas levied a $500
sanction award against two Assistant U.S. Attorneys for their unethical, unprofessional, and
dishonest conduct in a prisoner lawsuit.

Plaintiff Brandon Sample filed a pro se federal lawsuit on May 19, 2003, claiming that while
imprisoned at the Federal Correctional Institution in Bastrop, Texas, prison officials had
repeatedly changed his job assignment and transferred him to another prison in retaliation for
his filing numerous grievances. District Judge Sam Sparks ultimately ruled in favor of the
defendants holding that Sample had not established a causal link between his assertion of First
Amendment rights and the prison officials' actions. Even so, the judge specifically noted that
Sample's suit was not frivolous or brought in bad faith.

Following Spark's ruling, Sample moved for sanctions against Assistant U.S. Attorneys Winstanley
Luke and Susan Cone Kilgore pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37 for their conduct in
the case. Specifically, Sample complained that he was forced to prepare for trial without the
benefit of highly relevant documents and that throughout the trial, he was forced to respond to
and defend against newly presented evidence.

In an opinion blasting the duplicitous duo, Sparks granted Sample's motion. Sparks noted the
defendants had obviously not seen Sample's complaint and were unaware of the specific
allegations against them. Moreover, the testimony of certain defendants, including FCI-Bastrop
Warden R. D. Miles, was inconsistent with their answers to the interrogatories. Sparks also
expressed surprise that the defendants' signatures mysteriously graced the answers to the
interrogatories, even though they testified the answers were not theirs. Finally, Sparks noted that
Luke and Kilgore refused to produce certain documents during discovery, claiming Sample was
not entitled to them, even though they planned all along to use the documents at trial.

Sparks concluded that Luke's and Kilgore's conduct represented a continuous pattern of
unreasonable, unprofessional, grossly inept, and appalling conduct.... He further characterized
the attorneys' representation as so inferior as to be objectively unreasonable and accused them
of wasting the Courts time by their lack of preparation.

Consequently, Sparks found that sanctions were warranted and ordered Luke and Kilgore to pay
Sample $500 within 20 days. See: Sample v. Miles, USDC WD TX, Case No. A-03-CA-311-SS.

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Related legal case

Sample v. Miles

The contempt order is in our brief bank.