Trujillo v. Williams, 020112 FED10, 11-2177

Docket Nº:11-2177
Opinion Judge:Neil M. Gorsuch, Circuit Judge.
Party Name:JESSE TRUJILLO, Plaintiff - Appellant, v. JOE WILLIAMS, Secretary, and ELMER BUSTOS, Director, New Mexico Department of Corrections, Defendants-Appellees.
Judge Panel:Before LUCERO, ANDERSON, and GORSUCH, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:February 01, 2012
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
 
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JESSE TRUJILLO, Plaintiff - Appellant,

v.

JOE WILLIAMS, Secretary, and ELMER BUSTOS, Director, New Mexico Department of Corrections, Defendants-Appellees.

No. 11-2177

United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit

February 1, 2012

(D.C. No. 6:04-CV-00635-MV-WDS) (D. N.M.).

Before LUCERO, ANDERSON, and GORSUCH, Circuit Judges.

ORDER AND JUDGMENT[*]

Neil M. Gorsuch, Circuit Judge.

Jesse Trujillo, a New Mexico state prisoner currently housed in Virginia pursuant to an agreement between the States, brings this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action alleging that New Mexico has denied him access to the courts in pursuing post-conviction claims.

Mr. Trujillo's denial of access claim first came to this court in 2006. At that time, we remanded the claim (and others not relevant here) after finding Mr. Trujillo had sufficiently alleged that New Mexico utilized an "exact cite" legal research system - a system requiring prisoners to state exactly what legal research materials they needed before receiving access to them. See Trujillo v. Williams, 465 F.3d 1210, 1226 (10th Cir. 2006). Without holding that an "exact cite" legal research system would be constitutionally deficient, we noted that the allegation "may state a viable claim of denial of access to the courts." Id.

On remand and at the recommendation of a magistrate judge, the district court eventually found no evidence that New Mexico actually utilized an "exact cite" system and dismissed that claim. But before it did so, Mr. Trujillo amended his complaint to include a new allegation that New Mexico unlawfully required him to pay postage for access to legal materials. As to this claim and again acting in accord with the magistrate judge's suggestion, the district court ordered New Mexico to file a remedial plan. When New Mexico did so Mr. Trujillo accepted the proposed plan without objection and the district court eventually gave its approval too.

In his current appeal, Mr. Trujillo abandons his argument that New Mexico operates an "exact cite" legal research system. Instead, he argues much more generally that New Mexico provides insufficient access to case law. But even granting Mr. Trujillo the latitude reserved for pro se petitioners, we decline to consider this argument. Mr. Trujillo raised this claim for the first time only in responding to the magistrate's recommendation that his denial of access claims be...

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