US Supreme Court denies new trial for defendant with no access to jail law library

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday ruled in Kane v. Espitia that California inmate Joe Garcia Espitia isn't entitled to a new trial because he was denied virtually all access to a jail law library while representing himself in court. In an unsigned opinion [PDF text], the Court reversed the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] finding that because there is no established right of access to a prison law library for defendants representing themselves, the state court conviction could not be justifiably overturned by a federal court's own circuit precedent. Espitia's lawyer on appeal argued that his denial of legal research materials denied him any "opportunity to make a meaningful defense." Bloomberg has more.

 

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