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Payne v. Nebraska Dep't of Corr. Servs.

Supreme Court of Nebraska

June 13, 2014

CHRISTOPHER M. PAYNE, APPELLANT,
v.
NEBRASKA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONAL SERVICES ET AL., APPELLEES

Page 598

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 599

Appeal from the District Court for Lancaster County: JOHN A. COLBORN, Judge.

Christopher M. Payne, Pro se.

Jon Bruning, Attorney General, and Amie Larson for appellees.

HEAVICAN, C.J., WRIGHT, CONNOLLY, STEPHAN, MCCORMACK, MILLER-LERMAN, and CASSEL, JJ.

OPINION

MCCORMACK, J.

Page 600

[288 Neb. 331] NATURE OF CASE

Christopher M. Payne, an inmate incarcerated at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution (TSCI), challenges TSCI operational memorandums that generally limit an inmate's access to the law library to 1 hour per day. The district court for Lancaster County granted summary judgment and found that Payne failed to prove an actual injury caused by the library time regulations. Payne now appeals.

BACKGROUND

On November 21, 2011, Payne filed a petition for declaratory judgment pursuant to Nebraska's Administrative [288 Neb. 332] Procedure Act,[1] alleging that TSCI operational memorandums Nos. 107.01.01(II)(A)(3) and 116.01.02(III)(A)(3) were invalid and unconstitutional because they restrict his law library time in violation of his right to access the courts. Payne also requested that any other Nebraska Department of Correctional Services or TSCI regulation which limits or restricts his access to the law library be found invalid. Payne named the Department of Correctional Services, the warden of TSCI, and the librarian of TSCI as defendants. In his petition, Payne alleges that he had four other civil actions and two criminal postconviction actions that he had filed or that he had planned on filing. One of his postconviction actions was being handled by counsel, and the rest were being undertaken pro se. He alleges additional law library time is necessary to litigate those actions.

Inmates in the general population at TSCI are allowed 1 hour of law library time per day. To receive library time, inmates are required to request a library pass. The library pass regulations are outlined in TSCI operational memorandum No. 107.01.01. TSCI issues passes to the library for every inmate who seeks access; however, there is a library capacity ...


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