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United States of America v. Tammy R. Thomas

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS


May 16, 2012

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
TAMMY R. THOMAS, DEFENDANT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Phil Gilbert District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

This matter comes before the Court on defendant Tammy R. Thomas's motion for a free copy of several documents from her criminal case file (Doc. 84). She does not offer any reason she needs copies of these documents.

Defendants have no constitutional right to a complimentary copy of any document in their court files. See United States v. Groce, 838 F. Supp. 411, 413, 414 (E.D. Wis. 1993). Before providing copies free of charge, a district court may require the requestor to show: (1) that he has exhausted all other means of access to his files (i.e., through his trial and appellate counsel), (2) that he is financially unable to secure access to his court files (i.e., through a showing similar to that required in 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2) which includes a certified copy of the prisoner's trust account for the previous six-month period prior to filing), and (3) that the documents requested are necessary for the preparation of some specific non-frivolous court action. See United States v. Wilkinson, 618 F.2d 1215, 1218-19 (7th Cir. 1980); Rush v. United States, 559 F.2d 455, 459 (7th Cir. 1977); Groce, 838 F. Supp. at 413-14. These minimal requirements do not impose any substantial burden to financially unable prisoners who desire their records be sent to them at government expense.

Thomas has not made a showing of any of the three things necessary to justify copies of documents from his file at the Court's expense. For this reason, the Court DENIES without prejudice Thomas's motion (Doc. 84).

IT IS SO ORDERED.

J. Phil Gilbert

20120516

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