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Arizona Court Access

I am in receipt of your March issue of PLN, and find that the info is/will be very useful.

In regards to Access to the Courts (Casey v. Lewis), I feel I should inform you of some facts about the above. This thing, access to the courts, all started with Gluth v. Arizona DOC, et al. Gluth only covered the central unit. The rest of the prisons in Arizona were still at the mercy of the DOC. Now that Casey is in effect, all of Arizona is covered.

On paper all looks good, but in reality let me tell you what the real deal is:

In the central unit, and in all max/super max units, prisoners do not have direct access to books/policies. They have to ask a library clerk for the books they want, and in most cases, if they don't know which book they need, they're SOL.

According to Gluth and Casey, if you are placed on deadlock you are still supposed to have access to the law library unless you're dangerous, etc. Then, they (the prison) are supposed to bring you any material (books, policies, supplies) that you may need. But guess what? First, the prison treats ALL DEADLOCKS the same, and they don't go to the law library. If you have a court deadline, you're visited by a law clerk every day. If not, you have to submit a kite to the law library and you might see someone in 3 to 5 days. Whenever you do see someone they'll tell you that you are not allowed to have books and that they'll bring you copies of case law, etc., as soon as they can, which could be the next day or five days and sometimes not at all. Now, say you need to look at the fifth amendment and you ask the clerk: "hey, I need a copy of the fifth amendment." The clerk says "they won't let me copy the whole thing, what part do you need?" "I don't know, this case just refers to the fifth." The clerk says: "Well, I'll copy some of it and bring it back to you in 2 or 3 days, and if its not what you want, just submit another kite..."

Oh yes, keep in mind that you can be deadlocked for ANYTHING, or being suspected of anything. So now a prisoner feels he's being wronged, and files suit and the suit is good and threatens the DOC. Well no problem, they deadlock the prisoner (he may or may not find out what he's in deadlock for) and now has to litigate from his cell and will get the materials the DOC wants him to have.

There are several other things which deny court access but the above is, I feel, the most important.

One last thing, there is a special master and an assistant. The assistant works for them, and I'm sure the main guy does too. They are SUPPOSED to be the court's watchdogs.
R.C. Arizona State Prison, Florence, AZ

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