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Texas Prisoners Not Entitled to Request Documents While Incarcerated

Texas state prisoner James Walker appealed a state court's dismissal of his action to compel the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) to produce documents he requested under the Public Information Act (Act). The appellate court affirmed the dismissal, as Texas law does not require that public records be produced for prisoners.

Walker filed suit when his records request was denied. The trial court held that the TDCJ had no mandatory production duty, because according to Texas Government Code Ann. § 552.028, "A government body is not required to accept or comply with a request for information from an individual who is imprisoned or confined in a correctional facility."
Walker appealed, claiming that the court had erred in relying on an unpublished opinion, in not obtaining an opinion from the Attorney General, and in violating his right of access to the courts. He further claimed it was error for the TDCJ to not perform a ministerial act.

On appeal, the First District for the Court of Appeals of Texas, Houston Division, rejected Walker’s claims and held that the lower court’s dismissal of his action as frivolous was appropriate under Texas law. See: Walker v. Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Case No. 01 98 00140 CV (Tex: App., Dist. 1, July l, 1999); 1999 WL 442151.

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Related legal case

Walker v. Texas Department of Criminal Justice