LeFors v. Langston et al
ORDER ADOPTING 9 REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS of U.S. Magistrate Judge H. David Young. IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that LeFors's complaint is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. All pending mo tions are DENIED. This dismissal counts as a "strike" for purposes of 28 U.S.C. Section 1915(g). The Court certifies that an in forma pauperis appeal taken from the Order & Judgment dismissing this action is considered frivolous & not in good faith. Signed by Chief Judge J. Leon Holmes on 8/2/2011. (jct)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
HERMAN H. LeFORS, JR.
NO. 3:11CV00073 JLH
DAN LANGSTON, et al.
The Court has reviewed the Proposed Findings and Recommended Disposition submitted by
United States Magistrate Judge H. David Young and the objections filed. After carefully considering
the objections and making a de novo review of the record in this case, the Court concludes that the
Proposed Findings and Recommended Disposition should be, and hereby are, adopted as this Court’s
findings, with the following additional comments.
Herman H. LeFors, Jr., contends that his right to self-representation is compromised by the
fact that the Greene County Jail, where he is detained, does not have an adequate law library.
According to his complaint, he was represented by court-appointed counsel whom he deems to be
ineffective and therefore he has chosen to represent himself. In Bounds v. Smith, 430 U.S. 817, 97
S. Ct. 1491, 52 L. Ed. 2d 72 (1977), the United States Supreme Court held that constitutional right
of access to the courts requires prison officials to assist inmates in the preparation and filing of legal
papers by providing adequate law libraries or adequate assistance from persons trained in the law.
430 U.S. at 828, 97 S. Ct. at 1498. The Court also stated, “while adequate law libraries are one
constitutionally acceptable method to assure meaningful access to the courts, our decision . . . does
not foreclose alternative means to achieve that goal.” Id. at 830, 97 S. Ct. at 1499. The courts have
interpreted Bounds “to give the government the choice to provide either access to a law library or
access to counsel or other appropriate legal assistance.” United States v. Sykes, 614 F.3d 303, 311
(7th Cir. 2010). When a defendant declines appointed counsel and decides to represent himself, that
decision does not guarantee a right to a law library. Id. “The rule is that [the defendant] has the right
to legal help through appointed counsel, and when he declines that help, other alternative rights, like
access to a law library, do not spring up.” Id. (quoting United States v. Byrd, 208 F.3d 592, 593 (7th
Cir. 2000)). See also Degrate v. Godwin, 84 F.3d 768, 769 (5th Cir. 1996); United States v. Smith,
907 F.2d 42, 45 (6th Cir. 1990); United States v. Wilson, 690 F.2d 1267, 1271 (9th Cir. 1982);
Kelsey v. State of Minn., 622 F.2d 956, 958 (8th Cir. 1980); United States v. Chatman, 584 F.2d
1358, 1360 (4th Cir. 1978).
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that:
LeFors’s complaint is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE for failure to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted.
All pending motions are DENIED.
This dismissal counts as a “strike” for purposes of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).
The Court certifies that an in forma pauperis appeal taken from the order and
judgment dismissing this action is considered frivolous and not in good faith.
DATED this 2nd day of August, 2011.
J. LEON HOLMES
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?