Johnson v. Avery
393 U.S. 483 (1969)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Johnson v. Avery, 393 U.S. 483 (1969)

Johnson v. Avery

No. 40

Argued November 14, 1968

Decided February 24, 1969

393 U.S. 483

Syllabus

Petitioner, a Tennessee prisoner, was disciplined for violating a prison regulation which prohibited inmates from assisting other prisoners in preparing writs. The District Court held the regulation void because it had the effect of barring illiterate prisoners from access to federal habeas corpus and conflicted with 28 U.S.C. § 2242. The Court of Appeals reversed, finding that the State's interest in preserving prison discipline and limiting the practice of law to attorneys justified any burden the regulation might place on access to federal habeas corpus.

Held: In the absence of some provision by the State of Tennessee for a reasonable alternative to assist illiterate or poorly educated inmates in preparing petitions for post-conviction relief, the State may not validly enforce a regulation which absolutely bars inmates from furnishing such assistance to other prisoners. Pp. 393 U. S. 485-490.

382 F.2d 353, reversed and remanded.

Page 393 U. S. 484

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