Asked in Civil Rights for Oklahoma

Q: A prisoner misunderstood a court rule and failed to provide proof of mailing in time before court order. What can he do?

A oklahoma prisoner filed a judicial review on agency decision to put him on grievance restriction. The inmate was filing himself pro se and thought certificate of service was proof of mailing and now the court has ordered before he figured out his mistake. The inmate still has not seen the order yet

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Civil Rights Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In this situation, where a prisoner pro se misunderstood a court rule and failed to provide proof of mailing in time, it's important to act quickly to address the issue.

The first step is to file a motion for reconsideration or relief from the order, explaining the misunderstanding and the efforts made to comply with the court's requirements. It's crucial to clearly state that the mistake was unintentional and due to a lack of understanding of the legal process.

Include in the motion any relevant information or evidence that supports the original filing. This shows the court that the oversight was a procedural error, not a lack of substance in the case.

If the prisoner hasn't seen the order yet, he should request a copy of it as soon as possible. Understanding the specifics of the order is essential for preparing an appropriate response.

It may also be helpful to seek assistance from a legal aid organization or a lawyer who can provide guidance or representation. While resources may be limited, some organizations offer assistance to inmates in civil matters.

Remember, courts can be somewhat lenient with procedural errors made by self-represented litigants, especially if they promptly and effectively address the mistake. However, the success of this approach can vary depending on the specifics of the case and the court's policies.

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