United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
February 12, 2014
STANTON J. THOMPSON, Plaintiff,
LEE RYKER, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. PHIL GILBERT, District Judge.
This matter comes before the Court on plaintiff Stanton J. Thompson's pro se post-judgment motion for a free copy of his entire file (Doc. 62). This case was tried to a jury, which rendered a verdict on December 10, 2012, in favor of the defendants on all counts tried. Judgment was entered on December 12, 2012, and Thompson did not appeal from that judgment. There are no pending matters before this Court other than Thompson's request for a free copy of his entire file.
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.
Thompson has not even attempted to make any of the three required showings. Accordingly, the Court DENIES his motion (Doc. 62) without prejudice.
IT IS SO ORDERED.