neglect of his sixth amendment rights.
The constitutional right to access does not mandate access to a library for post-conviction motions where other adequate outside legal assistance is available. Gometz v. Henman, 807 F.2d 113, 116 (7th Cir. 1986); Milton v. Morris, 767 F.2d 1443, 1446 n.2 (9th Cir. 1985). In Gometz, the Seventh Circuit declared that "although a library may be essential for a prisoner without a lawyer, legal representation is always sufficient. A prisoner with a lawyer on call may not also insist on assistance from fellow prisoners, for the entitlement is to adequate access, not to maximum possible access." 807 F.2d at 116. See also Johnson v. Avery, 393 U.S. 483, 21 L. Ed. 2d 718, 89 S. Ct. 747 (1969) (allowing policy prohibiting inmates from assisting one another where, as here, state provides reasonable alternative to assist inmates in preparing petitions for post-conviction relief). Moreover, the Commonwealth does not have a duty to provide library access if an inmate decides, as did Wheeler, not to avail himself of adequate alternative services. Corgain v. Miller, 708 F.2d 1241, 1250 (7th Cir. 1983); Blake v. Berman, 625 F. Supp. 1523, 1525 (D. Mass. 1986). As I read Bounds and its progeny, capital inmates do not have a constitutional right to direct access or to the assistance of other inmates or paraprofessionals, so long as the state provides "adequate assistance from persons trained in the law." Bounds, 430 U.S. at 828. Compare U.S. ex rel. Para-Professional, et al. v. Robert P. Kane, et al., 656 F. Supp. 1099 (E.D. Pa. 1987). I am convinced, like the court in Morrow v. Harwell, 640 F. Supp. 225, 227 (W.D. Tex. 1986), that the objections of the plaintiffs to the modified paging system now in effect at Graterford and Huntingdon stem from a "desire to double-check their court-appointed attorneys," not from a lack of meaningful access to the courts.
In sum, plaintiffs have not shown that they suffered an actual injury. Rather, the Commonwealth has demonstrated that all of the capital inmates have access to counsel. As noted by plaintiffs, over 40% of the capital inmates have had their death sentence reversed on appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The record simply does not contain sufficient evidence to support plaintiffs' claim that their fundamental constitutional right of access to courts has been violated.
The decision of the court, like the decisions of the prison administrators, must not be made in a vacuum, but rather must give due consideration to the depraved nature of the crimes committed and the "character of the inmates." Hewitt v. Helms, 459 U.S. 460, 474, 74 L. Ed. 2d 675, 103 S. Ct. 864 (1983). The following list illustrates the history and proclivity for violence of twenty-two death row inmates at Graterford and Huntingdon.
Inmate Citation Facts of Case
Alfred Albrecht 510 Pa. 603, 511 A.2d Set house on fire
764 (1986) killing wife, mother,
Robert Atkins a/k/a 511 Pa. 343, 513 A.2d 1371 Shot pharmacist in
Smith (1986) head at
range during armed
George E. Banks 521 A.2d 1 (Pa. 1987) Shot and killed
thirteen people with
twelve of whom were
women and children
Leslie Beasley 505 Pa. 279, 479 A.2d 460 While at large for
(1984) one murder, killed
Roger Buehl 510 Pa. 363, 508 A.2d 1167 Murdered elderly
(1986) couple and housekeeper,
shooting man in heel,
abdomen, and cheek,
shooting wife in elbow
and eye, and shooting
housekeeper in head
while tied to chair.
James H. Carpenter 511 Pa. 429, 515 A.2d 531 Stabbed man in heart
(1986) on public street
Charles E. Cross 508 Pa. 322, 496 A.2d 1144 Murdered coworker's
(1985) wife and two
Robert Perry Dehart 516 A.2d 656 After escaping from
(1986) prison, ambushed
victim, killing him
with two shotgun
blasts to head.
Henry P. Fahy 516 A.2d 689 Raped and brutally
(1986) murdered young
Roderick Frey 504 Pa. 428, 475 A.2d 700 Hired man to execute
(1984) estranged wife.
Rodney Griffin 511 Pa. 553, 515 A.2d 865 Shot college student
(1986) in head for agreeing
to testify against
Charles P. Holcomb 508 Pa. 425, 498 A.2d 833 Kidnapped, raped, and
(1985) stabbed victim in
neck multiple times.
John C. Lesko 502 Pa. 511, 467 A.2d 307 Murdered three people
(1983) and police officer.
Frederick Maxwell 505 Pa. 152, 477 A.2d 1309 Invited salesman into
(1984) home, robbed him,
and shot him twice in
Otis Peterkin 511 Pa. 299, 513 Murdered two former
A.2d 373 coemployees, shooting
(1986) one fifteen times.
Simon Pirela 510 Pa. 43, 507 Injected victim with
A.2d 23 (1986) battery acid, then
Alan Lee Pursell 508 Pa. 212, 495 Viciously beat,
A.2d 183 (1985) burned, and mutilated
13 year old boy.
Richard Stoyko 504 Pa. 455, 475 Shot wife three times
A.2d 714 (1984) with shotgun, then
murdered man because
"his car was in the
middle of the road
and he wouldn't move
Joseph Szuchon 506 Pa. 228, 484 Kidnapped girlfriend,
A.2d 1365 (1983) then shot her twice
in back with rifle.
Michael Travaglia 502 Pa. 474, 467 Murdered three people
A.2d 288 (1983) and police officer.
Raymond Whitney 511 Pa. 232, 512 Stabbed man during
A.2d 1152 (1986) robbery
Keith Zettlemoyer 500 Pa. 16, 454 Shot young man twice
A.2d 937 (1982) in neck and twice in
chest while handcuffed
and lying face down.
Victim had agreed
to testify against
Zettlemoyer in pending
AND NOW, this 4th day of MAY, 1987, in accordance with the Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law set forth in the attached Memorandum of Decision, it is
that JUDGMENT is hereby entered in favor of the defendants and against the plaintiffs.