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Wayne v. Leal

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


December 16, 2008

TONY J. WAYNE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
O. LEAL, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Barbara L. Major United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER (1) DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR AN ORDER REQUIRING LAW LIBRARY ACCESS, AND (2) DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL [Doc. No. 64]

On December 5, 2008, Plaintiff in the above matter moved this Court for an order granting law library access. Doc. No. 64. In the alternative, Plaintiff asks that he be provided with legal counsel. at 3. Plaintiff claims that "due to the minimal access of law library or none at all, and due to the unlawful actions and failures to act by state prison officials to deny [him] access to a law library..." such an order is necessary for him to "challenge the legality of his case." Id. at 2. However, Plaintiff has not demonstrated that such an order is necessary to guarantee him access to courts. Plaintiff has not indicated any need for emergency relief, filed a motion for temporary restraining order, or a request for a preliminary injunction.

Further, Plaintiff does not have an unlimited right to access the prison's library. Prison officials are not required to provide materials beyond those that would enable a prisoner to bring his grievance before the Court. Although Bounds v. Smith, 430 U.S. 817, 825-26 (1977), suggested that the State must enable a prisoner to discover grievances, and to litigate effectively once in court, the Supreme Court in Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343 (1996), expressly disavowed such a right. Id. at 354. Only materials that would ensure meaningful access -- the ability to present a claim -- are required: "To demand the conferral of sophisticated legal capabilities upon a mostly uneducated and indeed largely illiterate prison population is effectively to demand a permanent provision of counsel, which we do not believe this Constitution requires." Id. Accordingly, Plaintiff's motion for an order granting law library access is DENIED at this time. Moreover, the Court previously heard and denied Plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel. Doc. No. 31. For the reasons stated therein, Plaintiff's renewed request for counsel is DENIED.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20081216

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