Jonathan Lee Riches and Jared Loughner

Over the past year, we haven’t covered a lot of the crazy lawsuits initiated by Jonathan Lee Riches. The man has sued everybody from Eliot Spitzer to Molly Ringwald. At some point, you get used to the drill. And there are always other crazy pro se litigants to write about.

But the embarrassment of riches in Riches’s latest complaint should remind everyone why he is still the king of pro se whackjobs. On January 24th, he filed for a temporary restraining order against Jared Lee Loughner, the alleged shooter in the Tucson attacks. Riches claims that if the Bureau of Prisons should transfer Loughner to the Lexington, Kentucky facility that currently holds Riches, Loughner might use “his bare hands or a prison shank to kill me for being a moderate Democrat.”

And if you know anything about Riches, you know that quote isn’t anywhere near the craziest claim in his complaint…

Where to begin? Well, the case caption is always a good place to start:

And here’s the heart of the Riches complaint:

Riches goes on to explain that he is being held illegally in jail. He’s then got a delightful story about how he had to “smuggle” his complaint out of prison — it’s complicated, it involves ants and pigeons. For your reading pleasure, here is the full complaint. It’s only four fun-filled pages.

Eventually, Riches turns his attention back to Jared Loughner:

For those not used to reading the chicken-scratch handwriting of prison inmates (we get a lot of their letters here at ATL), Riches is saying that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was about to expose the truth behind Riches’s illegal incarceration, before she was shot.

For a federal inmate, Riches sure is up on current events. And his writing contains more pop-culture references than my own.

But, just to show that he has a heart, Riches closes as follows: “The defendant’s actions also made me cry. I seek a restraining order against him.”

So which judge will have he pleasure of dealing with J.L. Riches this time? The answer might be a little bit more complicated than usual, as an Arizona tipster explains:

[The case is] not yet assigned to a judge — usually [a case] is randomly assigned as soon as it is filed, but I think anything involving Loughner goes through our new chief judge first now since all the AZ judges have been recused or DQ’ed by the 9th Circuit.

While the Tucson attack victims and their families will not appreciate Riches’s whimsical and deranged commentary on the situation, I’m taking it as a sign that things are getting back to normal.

Jonathan Lee Riches v. Jared Lee Loughner [U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona]

Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Jonathan Lee Riches


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