July 31, 2013
MAURICE A. JACKSON, Plaintiff,
RASHONDA POLLION, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. PHIL GILBERT, District Judge.
This matter comes before the Court on plaintiff Maurice A. Jackson's motion (Doc. 109) for free copies of his motions for appointment of counsel (Docs. 3, 6, 21, 101) and the Court's order granting the motion (Doc. 33). Jackson says he needs these documents for a criminal case before the United States Supreme Court from the Illinois court system, but it is unclear why he needs them.
Litigants 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.
Here, Jackson has not shown he has requested copies of the documents he seeks from the counsel currently representing him on appeal, who can access Jackson's district court file. Furthermore, although Jackson was granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis at the outset of this case (Doc. 15), he has not provided current evidence he is unable to pay for copies of documents from his file. Finally, Jackson has not adequately explained why he needs these documents. A nebulous reference to a pending criminal case is not enough.
For these reasons, the Court DENIES the motion (Doc. 109) without prejudice to another request that provides the needed support.
IT IS SO ORDERED.