United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
February 28, 2014
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
JEREMIAH N. GARRETT, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. PHIL GILBERT, District Judge.
This matter comes before the Court on defendant Jeremiah N. Garrett's motion for free copies of certain documents in his file (Doc. 39). 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. Garrett had not satisfied any of the three requirements. For this reason, the Court DENIES his motion without prejudice (Doc. 39). Garrett may write a letter to the Clerk of Court asking to purchase the documents he seeks (if they are not under seal) at a charge of 50 cents per page.
IT IS SO ORDERED.