322 F.2d 314 (9th Cir. 1963), 18397, Stiltner v. Rhay

Docket Nº18397.
Citation322 F.2d 314
Party NameDouglas STILTNER, Appellant, v. B. J. RHAY, Superintent, Washington State Penitentiary, Walla Walla,Washington, Appellee.
Case DateSeptember 09, 1963
CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Page 314

322 F.2d 314 (9th Cir. 1963)

Douglas STILTNER, Appellant,


B. J. RHAY, Superintent, Washington State Penitentiary, Walla Walla,Washington, Appellee.

No. 18397.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

Sept. 9, 1963

Page 315

Douglas Stiltner, in pro. per.

John J. O'Connell, Atty. Gen., and Ralph Olson, Asst. Atty. Gen., for State of Washington, Olympia, Wash., for appellee.

Before MADDEN, Judge of the Court of Claims, and HAMLEY and BROWNING, Circuit Judges.

BROWNING, Circuit Judge.

1. 'There is no federally protected right of a state prisoner not to work while imprisoned after conviction, even though that conviction is being appealed' (Draper v. Rhay, 315 F.2d 193, 197 (9th Cir. 1963)); and since appellant alleged no more the District Court properly dismissed his action under the Civil Rights Act (42 U.S.C.A. § 1983).

No reversible error is presented by the denial of appellant's various motions pendente lite seeking relief from restrictions allegedly imposed by prison authorities upon his access to legal materials and to the courts. To the extent these motions sought relief with respect to the action in which they were filed, it is clear denial did not prejudice appellant. His presentations in the court below (as in this Court) were timely and full, and in any event Draper v. Rhay presented an insurmountable legal obstacle to his success on the merits. 1

2. The District Court did not err in concluding that appellant's second civil complaint was 'frivolous' and in denying leave to file the complaint in forma pauperis on that ground. 2

The complaint sought damages from the State of Washington and the Sheriff of Yakima County, Washington, for allegedly holding appellant in solitary confinement for a period of thirty-six days in violation of statutory provisions of the State of Washington which, as appellant reads them, vest in the Superior Courts of the State exclusive power to order solitary confinement of persons in State custody (Rev.Codes of Wash. § 10.64.060), and limit the permissible length of such disciplinary confinement to twenty days (Rev.Codes of Wash. § 36.63.140). These averments, relating entirely to a violation of rights assertedly conferred by statutes of the State, were not sufficient to allege a cause of action under the Civil Rights Act (42 U.S.C.A. § 1983), which protects only rights secured by the Constitution and statutes of the United States. 3

Page 316

Although this complaint also contained general allegations that appellant's jailers had refused to mail legal documents (other than letters) to the courts during the thirty-six days of solitary confinement, 4 the only specific allegation related to a refusal to mail 'legal documents into Federal Court by a deadline * * *.' As we have noted, the file available to the District Court demonstrated that appellant's filings in that court, as in this, were comprehensive and timely, and that the allegation was therefore frivolous. Draper v. Rhay, supra, 315 F.2d at 197.

3. However, the District court erred in denying appellant leave to file a third amended complaint in forma pauperis, on the ground that it was no more than a 'restatement of the allegations contained in the original complaint herein.'

It is true that the allegations of this third complaint were largely repetitious of those in appellant's prior complaints, or were of the same general nature and defective for the same reasons. However, under the heading 'Complaint No. Four,' appellant alleged that named officials of the county jail at Yakima, Washington, during a specified period, 'refused to mail any legal papers to any Court' for appellant, and that appellant's petition for habeas corpus 'in the Supreme Court of Washington in Cause No. 36217, was denied because (appellant) could not submit any briefs.'


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