Belden v. Lampert

Appellant was convicted of first-degree sexual assault and first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. Appellant, acting pro se, filed an action under 42 U.S.C. 1983 contending that he was denied his constitutional right of access to the courts because he did not have adequate access to Wyoming legal research materials in a Nevada state correctional facility. Appellant challenged the district court's dismissal of his suit based on a failure to state a claim. The court affirmed the judgment and held that the facts set forth in the complaint did not allege an actual injury and without any facts to indicate that appellant could have filed a viable petition for post-conviction relief, it could not determine that he had been injured by the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations. The court also held that, because appellant was able to file at least five petitions seeking relief from his conviction while he was an inmate at the Nevada state prison, and he was represented by court-appointed counsel in at least one of those actions, appellant's ability to conduct this volume of legal activity further indicated that he retained meaning access to the courts.