United States District Court, D. New Hampshire
John R. Griffin, Jr.
New Hampshire Department of Corrections
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
K. Johnstone United States Magistrate Judge
the court for preliminary review, pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2), 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, and LR 4.3(d)(1),
is plaintiff John R. Griffin, Jr.'s complaint (Doc. No.
1). Griffin names the New Hampshire Department of Corrections
(“DOC”) as the defendant. Also before the court
is Griffin's motion for summary judgment (Doc. No. 5),
filed before this court completed its preliminary review of
is currently incarcerated at the New Hampshire State Prison
(“NHSP”). Griffin was paroled to the community in
2016, but his parole was revoked in June 2016. Griffin has
filed a number of federal cases, including several
challenging the validity of the revocation of his parole and
his recommittal to the NHSP.
asserts that the NHSP law library is deficient because there
is no “paralegal librarian” available to assist
inmates with their cases, and inmates receive only five hours
of law library time each week. He further asserts that he is
indigent and has no funds to pay for copies of documents he
asserts he needs to litigate his cases.
at the NHSP, on February 24, 2017, Griffin submitted an
Inmate Request Slip (“IRS”) to Ashlyn St.
Germain, Executive Assistant to the New Hampshire Adult
Parole Board (“APB”), requesting a copy of an
audio recording of his June 21, 2016 parole revocation
hearing, which he asked the APB to mail to this court. See
IRS, Feb. 24, 2017 (Doc. No. 1, at 3). In her response, St.
Germain noted that there is a fee for obtaining such
recordings, and that Griffin did not have enough money in his
account to pay that fee. See Response, Mar. 3, 2017 (Doc. No.
1, at 3).
submitted an IRS to Inmate Records on March 4, 2017, asking
for a copy of an inmate evaluation in his file, and for a
copy of the state habeas petition that he had filed in the
Merrimack County Superior Court. See IRS, Mar. 4, 2017 (Doc.
No. 1, at 5). He was told he needed to pay for copies. See
Response, Mar. 10, 2017 (Doc. No. 1, at 5).
March 30, 2017, Griffin submitted another IRS, asking Inmate
Records for a free copy of his state habeas petition. See
IRS, Mar. 30, 2017 (Doc. No. 1, at 7). Inmate Records denied
that request, see Response, Apr. 5, 2017 (Doc. No. 1, at 7),
specifically referring to the August 4, 2016 Order in
Griffin v. Zenk, No. 217-2016-cv-117 (N.H. Super. Aug.
4, 2016) (Doc. No. 1, at 9), in which the Superior Court
ruled that Griffin could obtain a copy of his state habeas
petition from the clerk's office at his own expense.
asserts the following claims in this action, under 42 U.S.C.
1. The absence of a paralegal librarian who could assist
inmates and restrictions on inmate access to the NHSP law
library violate Griffin's right of access to the courts,
under Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343 (1996).
2. The decision by DOC Offender Records, to deny
Griffin's request for a free copy of an inmate evaluation
and his state habeas petition, violated Griffin's First
and Fourteenth Amendment right of access to the courts and
his right to trial records as an indigent inmate, under
Bounds v. Smith, 430 U.S. 817 (1977), and
Griffin v. Illinois, 351 U.S. 12, 20 (1956).
3. St. Germain's decision not to grant Griffin's
request to send a recording of the June 21, 2016 APB hearing
to this court's clerk's office free of charge,
violated Griffin's First and Fourteenth Amendment right
of access to the courts, and his right to trial records as an
indigent inmate, under Bounds v. Smith, 430 U.S. 817
(1977), and Griffin v. Illinois, 351 U.S. 12, 20
seeks damages and injunctive relief, specifically, an order
requiring the DOC to alter parole procedures to ...