Poster child for criminal justice reform arrested for viciously beating his wife

Poster child for criminal justice reform arrested for viciously beating his wife
Image: Georgetown University

“A convicted bank robber who turned his life around and reached the upper echelons of the legal profession is again facing potential jail time after being charged with domestic violence in Washington, D.C., this month,” reports the National Law Journal:

Georgetown Law professor Shon Hopwood has been charged with two counts of assault of his wife, Anne Marie Hopwood, following a police visit to his D.C. home….Hopwood’s journey from jailhouse lawyer to a member of the U.S. Supreme Court bar earned national media attention and turned the former federal prisoner into a poster child for second chances….That feel-good story has turned sour as Hopwood now stands accused of beating his wife on numerous occasions and inflicting injuries that required treatment at a hospital. Anne Marie is also a lawyer and listed as a partner at Hopwood & Singhal PLLC alongside Shon Hopwood…

Hopwood pleaded not guilty at an arraignment on Oct. 3 and has been released with monitoring by pretrial services. He is under a temporary protection order barring him from being within 100 yards of Anne Marie….In a court affidavit posted online by the Mail, Anne Marie alleged several incidents of abuse and painted a picture of Hopwood as a controlling, temperamental and violent individual.

In the latest incident, Hopwood allegedly began fighting with his wife at a baseball game and later threw her phone out of the car window, according to the affidavit. At home, Hopwood allegedly shoved his wife, leading to a broken tooth and finger.

“I received bruises all over my body,” Anne Marie said in her affidavit. When D.C. caseworkers visited their home days later, she said, “Shon directed me to stay in the basement with the door locked. When the police came, he came down to the basement and again told me not to come out.”

A police officer who responded to a 911 call told the Mail he had a gut feeling that Hopwood was lying when he told him that his wife was out of town. “I am more than sure if I did not stay and find Ann Marie, she would not be with us today,” said Officer JP Mcardle, according to the Mail…Hopwood’s dramatic journey from convicted felon to law professor captivated the legal world and received extensive news coverage from various media outlets, including a 2019 segment on “60 Minutes” by Steve Kroft.

Hopwood was sentenced to 12 years in prison following a series of bank robberies that he committed in small town Nebraska in the late 1990s. While serving his sentence, he began reading U.S. court of appeals decisions in the prison’s library and eventually began helping other inmates with their appeals.

Before his release in 2009—after 11 years behind bars—Hopwood had achieved the unimaginable for a jailhouse lawyer: successfully petitioning the Supreme Court to review a criminal case. What’s more, he had done it twice….His remarkable rise in the legal world continued with a highly coveted clerkship on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, widely considered the nation’s second-most-powerful court. He became a fellow in Georgetown Law’s Appellate Litigation Clinic and was later hired by D.C.’s highest ranked law school as a professor, where he was on track to obtain tenure.

Along the way, he wrote a book “Law Man: My Story of Robbing Banks, Winning Supreme Court Cases, and Finding Redemption” and became an advocate for prison reform and second chances. Former U.S. Solicitor General Seth Waxman became a mentor, and Hopwood has worked alongside some of the biggest names in legal academia and the Supreme Court bar.

He played a role in the passage of the landmark criminal justice reform bill known as the First Step Act.

According to many “criminal justice reformers,” violence like that committed by Shon Hopwood doesn’t happen. Shon Hopwood is age 48, well beyond the age at which “criminal justice reformers” claim people with criminal records age out of crime.

Many “criminal-justice reformers” falsely claim people age out of crime by their late 30s, and thus can be safely released on parole by the time they are middle-aged, or after 10 or 15 years in prison. But Hopwood viciously beat his wife at age 48. And a prisoner recently escaped from prison at age 46 and murdered five people.

The Law Enforcement Action Partnership, which is funded by left-wing billionaire George Soros‘ foundation, has mistakenly claimed that keeping people in prison who were sent there “a decade ago” does “very little, if anything, to maintain safety.” But Hopwood remained dangerous even after 11 years behind bars, and additional years out in the free world. A Texas inmate recently escaped and killed five people after being imprisoned for 16 years.

Experts say many inmates often do not age out of crime, even when they reach their 50s or 60s. Last February, the U.S. Sentencing Commission issued a 116-page report titled “Recidivism of Federal Violent Offenders Released in 2010.” Over an eight-year period, violent offenders returned to crime at a 63.8% rate. The median time to rearrest was 16 months for these violent offenders. So, most violent offenders released from prison committed more crimes. Even among those offenders over age 60, 25.1% of violent offenders were rearrested.

At the age of 76, Albert Flick murdered a woman, stabbing her at least 11 times while her twin children watched. He had earlier spent 25 years in prison for killing his wife by stabbing her 14 times in front of her daughter.

At the age of 19, while on parole, Kenneth McDuff shot and killed two boys, then killed a girl after raping her and torturing her with burns and a broomstick. After being paroled years later at the age of 43, he murdered additional women — as many as 15 women in several states.

Last year, a transgender murderer was arrested for killing again at age 83 after two prior murder convictions. Thus, it’s wrong to claim that inmates swiftly age of out of crime, or that inmates can safely be released just because they have reached a particular age, as supporters of New York’s Elder Parole bill and Virginia’s second-look bill have claimed.

As the Daily Mail notes, Hopwood “was profiled by Steve Kroft on 60 Minutes as a stellar example of how some criminals deserve a second chance.” But even this  supposedly “stellar” example of a reformed inmate appears to pose a danger to those around him.

Some press reports have suggested that Shon Hopwood overcame economic disadvantages and humble origins, by becoming a law professor. But in reality, Hopwood was not disadvantaged, was not of humble origin, and did not turn to a life of crime because of any disadvantages. Jill Cockson notes this, in claiming at the National Jurist that Hopwood is a sociopath:

Shon’s sociopathic tendencies have been visible since high school. His story has been well-curated to sell the beloved ‘come back kid’ narrative. The problem with his come back story is that there was nothing to come back from. He came from privilege. He had supportive parents. He had a full- ride, athletic scholarship to college that he wasted. He squandered opportunity with the U.S. Navy.

He was cruel to his siblings. He was cruel to friends and schoolmates. He was cruel to animals. He got off on seeing others afraid. I witnessed his reckless behavior endanger the lives of others on multiple occasions, all while he laughed, maniacally. I wasn’t a bit surprised to learn of the bank robberies; Shon seemed to derive sheer joy from seeing others truly terrified. It’s sad that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation didn’t work to find a more deserving candidate to send to law school – perhaps someone who never got a first chance, as opposed to someone who pissed away several.

LU Staff

LU Staff

Promoting and defending liberty, as defined by the nation’s founders, requires both facts and philosophical thought, transcending all elements of our culture, from partisan politics to social issues, the workings of government, and entertainment and off-duty interests. Liberty Unyielding is committed to bringing together voices that will fuel the flame of liberty, with a dialogue that is lively and informative.


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