Blog About Brett Kimberlin Day
Lee Stranahan declared today "Blog About Brett Kimberlin Day," which only seems reasonable. Kimberlin is scary-evil, and a threat to free expression. Threats to free expression should be called out and exposed — hopefully without descending into pure partisanship.
Since people refer to this as a law blog, and my secretary keeps claiming I am a lawyer and that I am supposed to be working on law-stuff, I thought I would focus on law. I went on Westlaw and searched federal cases for Mr. Kimberlin.
There are quite a few. But today, let's just look at some highlights.
First, let's look at some language from the Sixth Circuit describing what Kimberlin did:
Kimberlin was convicted as the so-called “Speedway Bomber,” who terrorized the city of Speedway, Indiana, by detonating a series of explosives in early September 1978. In the worst incident, Kimberlin placed one of his bombs in a gym bag, and left it in a parking lot outside Speedway High School. Carl Delong was leaving the high school football game with his wife when he attempted to pick up the bag and it exploded. The blast tore off his lower right leg and two fingers, and embedded bomb fragments in his wife’s leg. He was hospitalized for six weeks, during which he was forced to undergo nine operations to complete the amputation of his *529 leg, reattach two fingers, repair damage to his inner ear, and remove bomb fragments from his stomach, chest, and arm. In February 1983, he committed suicide.
After being convicted of the bombings and related offenses, Kimberlin was sentenced to a fifty-year term of imprisonment for manufacturing and possessing a destructive device, and malicious damage by explosives with personal injury in violation of 26 U.S.C. §§ 5861(d) and (f), and 18 U.S.C. §§ 844(f) and (i). He received a concurrent twelve-year sentence for impersonating a federal officer, illegal use of a Department of Defense insignia, and illegal use of the Presidential Seal in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 912, 701, and 713, respectively, and a five-year term for receipt of explosives by a convicted felon in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 842(i)(1). Finally, he was given a four-year sentence by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas on an earlier, unrelated conviction for conspiracy to distribute marijuana.
Kimberlin v. White, 7 F.3d 527, 528-29 (6th Cir. 1993).
The same court listed Kimberlin's unsuccessful appeals and collateral attacks on his convictions:
Kimberlin’s convictions have been affirmed on appeal, United States v. Kimberlin, 805 F.2d 210 (7th Cir.1986), cert. denied, 483 U.S. 1023, 107 S.Ct. 3270, 97 L.Ed.2d 768 (1987); United States v. Kimberlin, 781 F.2d 1247 (7th Cir.1985), cert. denied, 479 U.S. 938, 107 S.Ct. 419, 93 L.Ed.2d 370 (1986); United States v. Kimberlin, 692 F.2d 760 (7th Cir.1982) (table), cert. denied, 460 U.S. 1092, 103 S.Ct. 1792, 76 L.Ed.2d 359 (1983); United States v. Kimberlin, 673 F.2d 1335 (7th Cir.1981) (table), cert. denied, 456 U.S. 964, 102 S.Ct. 2044, 72 L.Ed.2d 489 (1982); and on subsequent collateral attack, United States v. Kimberlin, 898 F.2d 1262 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 498 U.S. 969, 111 S.Ct. 434, 112 L.Ed.2d 417 (1990). Kimberlin’s Rule 35 motions have also been denied, United States v. Kimberlin, 776 F.2d 1344 (7th Cir.1985), cert. denied, 476 U.S. 1142, 106 S.Ct. 2251, 90 L.Ed.2d 697 (1986); United States v. Kimberlin, 675 F.2d 866 (7th Cir.1982).
Id. at 529 n.1.
Second, Kimberlin's many appeals, many collateral attacks, and many lawsuits against the government might suggest to you that he's an implacable foe of the state, a staunch opponent of law enforcement. Well, sort of. When it suits him. That's his brand. But when cooperating with the state might suit his needs, Kimberlin does so. Kimberlin has acted as a jailhouse snitch:
Appellant was also connected to the cocaine transaction by his admission to Brett Kimberlin, his cellmate. Kimberlin testified that appellant admitted his involvement in a drug transaction that appellant claimed to have gotten involved in as a favor for someone in his family. Kimberlin also testified that he vaguely remembered appellant telling him that the cocaine was in appellant’s car or in the car’s trunk.
U.S. v. Sarmiento-Perez, 724 F.2d 898, 900 (11th Cir. 1984). I haven't been a prosecutor for 12 years — I've been a defense lawyer all that time — and I'm not shocked by many things prosecutors do any more. But I am stunned that an AUSA would put this man on the stand and ask a jury to believe him.
Kimberlin also demanded, but did not receive, credit for "cooperation" in connection with explosives:
Kimberlin filed a motion 116 days later, on August 12, 1983, seeking a reduction of sentence under Fed.R.Crim.P. 35(b). He argued that he had begun to cooperate with the government and should receive a reward. The government opposed the motion-ungratefully, if one believes Kimberlin, although the government’s position is that Kimberlin has never provided it any help concerning his dealings in explosives and that to the extent he has offered other aid he should direct his plea to the Parole Commission rather than the court.
U.S. v. Kimberlin, 776 F.2d 1344, 1345 (7th Cir. 1985).
Third, Kimberlin has never lost the capacity to see himself as the victim. He asserts that the Parole Commission made unfavorable rulings against him in retaliation for his claim that he once sold marijuana to Dan Quayle. Bullshit, says the Sixth Circuit:
As for Kimberlin’s allegations about Vice President Quayle supposedly creating an appearance of political vindictiveness in the Commission’s decisions, the district court correctly concluded that Kimberlin, not the Commission, created this appearance. He has neither proven nor alleged that the Commission’s decisions were actually influenced in any way by his statements about the Vice President—indeed, Kimberlin’s counsel did not mention Quayle during oral argument. In the absence of proof or an allegation of actual vindictiveness, no lawful basis exists to set aside the Commission’s sentence. Alabama v. Smith, 490 U.S. 794, 799–800, 109 S.Ct. 2201, 2204–2205, 104 L.Ed.2d 865 (1989) (where Pearce presumption does not apply, burden remains upon defendant to prove actual vindictiveness). Were it otherwise, any prisoner could make public accusations prior to a Commission’s decision, and *533 then argue that the decision was tainted by an appearance of vindictiveness.
Kimberlin v. White, 7 F.3d 527, 532-33 (6th Cir. 1993).Id. 532-33.
Fourth, as an illustration of what Brett Kimberlin values, he sued in an attempt to force the Bureau of Prisons to let him use an electric guitar in jail:
Plaintiffs assert that an acoustic guitar is not equivalent to an electric guitar. According to plaintiff Kimberlin, it is impossible for him to play his songs on an acoustic guitar. He is not able to make long, sustained notes. Also, he cannot perform a technique called “vibrato” because the strings on an acoustic guitar will not bend or sustain like those on an electric guitar.
Kimberlin v. U.S. Dept. of Justice, 150 F.Supp.2d 36, 41 (D.DC. 2001).
Fifth, to illustrate what Brett Kimberlin does not value, he has struggled endlessly and mostly successfully to avoid paying the judgment that the widow of his bombing victim, Carl DeLong, obtained against him. When the prison tipped off his probation officer that Kimberlin was sending cash to a woman outside of prison, Kimberlin was so enraged that he sued for a breach of the Privacy Act. He lost:
Kimberlin was convicted in 1981 for detonating an explosive device and is currently residing at the Chicago Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC). In 1983, Sandra DeLong won a civil judgment against Kimberlin on behalf of her husband Carl, subsequently deceased, in the amount of 1.61 million dollars for injuries he suffered in the explosion. Thomas Gahl, the probation officer assigned to Kimberlin, sent a letter to the warden of the MCC to inform him of the civil judgment. Kimberlin’s prison case manager, Patrick Leddy, in turn informed Gahl that Kimberlin was regularly sending funds from his prisoner commissary account to someone outside the prison. Gahl informed Mrs. DeLong and her attorney, Paula Kight, of the transfers. DeLong then obtained a writ of attachment against the plaintiff’s commissary account based on an affidavit alleging that Kimberlin was sending $125 a month to a civilian outside the prison.
Kimberlin v. U.S. Dept. of Justice, 788 F.2d 434, 436 (7th Cir. 1986).
Kimberlin later litigated in an attempt to prevent money seized from him at the time of his arrest from being turned over to his victim's widow to satisfy her judgment against him:
The FBI seized as evidence $3037.13 from Brett Kimberlin when it arrested him in 1979. The FBI kept custody of the funds while Kimberlin’s case continued through the courts. In 1987 Kimberlin’s conviction became final. In 1989 the government moved to have the money disbursed to compensate for funds it used in processing Kimberlin’s case. 18 U.S.C. § 3006A(f). Meantime Sandra Sue DeLong, the victim of Kimberlin’s crime, secured a 1.61 million dollar judgment against Kimberlin in the Superior Court of Marion County, Indiana. Kimberlin did not file a supersedeas bond after the court issued the judgment, so, though the case is still on appeal, DeLong has a final, collectible judgment. When she learned that the FBI had possession of some of Kimberlin’s funds, she intervened in the proceeding to disburse the funds so as to satisfy a portion of her otherwise unpaid judgment against Kimberlin. Attorneys for the government, DeLong, and Kimberlin attended the hearing on the motion.
The government argued that the funds belonged to Kimberlin, making the money available for distribution. Kimberlin argued that the funds belonged to his mother because she had spent so much on his legal defense. The court adopted the government’s position.
Kimberlin v. U.S., 978 F.2d 1261, *1 (7th Cir. 1992) (unpublished).
That, ladies and gentlemen, is Brett Kimberlin. Believe it or not, the man has allies and supporters. As far as I can tell, it's because of pure partisanship — because people will embrace any evil if it stands against the same things they stand against. That's sick.
That aside, there are people out there like this, and they and their allies will attempt to sue, harass, threaten, and retaliate against those who would expose and criticize them. Stand against them — whether you love or hate their critics.
Edited to add: this post documents some of Kimberlin's activities. For a particularly shocking example of what some of his supporters are willing to do, see Patterico's post about being SWATted.
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