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Ballard v. United States

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


December 17, 2008

JOHN MARVIN BALLARD, PETITIONER,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, RESPONDENT.

ORDER

Petitioner, an inmate at the Sacramento County Main Jail, has filed a petition for a writ of error coram nobis challenging his 2001 conviction on federal charges of traveling in interstate commerce for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts with a minor in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2423(b).*fn1 On December 10, 2008, petitioner filed a letter requesting that the court order the Sacramento County Mail Jail to provide him with "regular access to the jail's law library and have the ability to make legal telephone calls which would not be monitored or required to be placed collect." (Letter at 1.) In addition, petitioner seeks "defense funds for expert and investigative fees" as authorized by 18 U.S.C. § 3006A(e)(1)*fn2 . (Id.) Petitioner explains that he wishes to depose Assistant United States Attorney Samuel Wong as well as two prosecution witnesses: (1) former Sacramento Police detective Thomas Chaplin who testified about a recorded telephone conversation with petitioner, and (2) Wendy Kurtz-Knight who testified that petitioner had sexually abused her when she was twelve years old. In addition, petitioner seeks the names, addresses and telephone numbers of the jurors in his criminal case so that they can be interviewed to determine if their verdict would have been different if the allegedly perjured testimony had not been presented.

Petitioner's requests will be denied. Petitioner has not demonstrated that a court order is required for him to obtain access to the law library. The court will not issue a general order allowing for preferential law library and telephone access among jail inmates. In addition, the court will not order the allocation of funds in an unspecified amount, especially where petitioner does not seek new information but instead seeks to further cross-examine the prosecution's trial witnesses about their testimony. Finally, the court notes that now pending is respondent's motion to dismiss the petition for a writ of error coram nobis which may render petitioner's requests moot.

Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that petitioner's December 10, 2008 request for library and telephone access as well as defense funds for expert and investigative fees (Doc. No. 18) is denied.


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