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Missouri Prison Litigation Reform Act's Fee Requirement Affirmed

by Edward B. Lyon

Twenty-one Jefferson City, Missouri Correctional Center prisoners filed a class action challenge to the state's Prison Litigation Reform Act's (MPLRA) fee requirement for habeas corpus petitions in Cole County's circuit court. The court denied service of process, dismissed the class action for failure to state a claim, then dismissed the accompanying habeas petitions without prejudice so they could be filed separately. Missouri's supreme court accepted and ruled on the claims of the MPLRA violating the federal and state's constitutions.

That court found no error in the habeas petitions' dismissal. It noted no prisoner was precluded from seeking habeas relief in a higher court. The claims of the MLPRA violating the constitutions were not explained and were deemed abandoned.

The claim of insufficient resources to de legal work were denied because no prisoner demonstrated how these conditions "hindered [their] efforts to pursue a legal claim." No prisoner
showed a denial of meaningful court access. 

Likewise, no prisoner demonstrated a procedural bar to court access because of a required filing fee, a substantive right to seek habeas relief or conditional confinement actions under MPLRA. 

See: Bromwell, et al. v. Nixon, et al., Case No. SC91668, (Mo. Sup. Ct. 2012)

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Related legal case

Bromwell v. Nixon