Inmate Access to Legal Info in Santa Clara County
May 12, 2006 at 10:50 AM
Metroactive, one of the Silicon Valley’s weeklies, recently featured a story about the closure of Santa Clara County’s jail law libraries. Instead of using print resources, individuals who are incarcerated in the County jails must now request resources from a remote legal research outfit called Legal Research Associates. The Public Interest Law Firm sued on behalf of the inmates, claiming that the closure of the libraries violated the constitutional rights of pro per inmates. Judge Whyte didn’t agree with PILF’s constitutional arguments, but he did conclude that the county prematurely closed the law libraries in violation of a previously-issued consent decree. It remains to be seen whether PILF and the County can iron out a mutually acceptable settlement.