Bounds V. Smith - Case Summary and Case Brief

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 376 |

Page: 1|

2 min read

Published: Feb 12, 2019

Words: 376|Page: 1|2 min read

Published: Feb 12, 2019

Judicial History: North Carolina inmates sued in federal district court. The inmates alleged that the state’s failure to accommodate them with legal research facilities revoked them access to the courts in infringement of the fourteenth amendment. The district courts admitted the inmates’ motion for summary judgment. This then ordered the state to set up a legal research assistance program. In addition, a library plan was suggested by North Carolina and accepted by the court. The court holding granted the states to not have to provide legal advisors. The court of appeals affirmed, the state asked for review, and the Supreme Court was allowed certiorari.

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Facts: As the prisoners filed the claims in the District Court, there was only one poorly built state prison library. Meanwhile, no other legal assistance was accessible to the inmates who hoped to plan and file habeas corpus and civil rights actions.

Issue: Are states obligated to protect the rights of prisoners to have access to the courts by giving law libraries or any type of legal assistance?

Holding: States need to administer prisoners with a sufficient legal service. For example, legally qualified persons.

Reasoning: All prisoners have a constitutional right of entry to the courts. This entry needs to be fair, sufficient, and relevant to stop claim infringements of key constitutional rights.

It is imperative that prisoners file correct claims in order, considering the court can pass on the complainant’s sooner. This grants in forma pauperis and can decline the case if it seems to be pointless. In addition, without a library, a prisoner could not negate the state’s arguments.

The right to legal assistance is critical here, due to civil rights and habeas corpus actions placed on constitutional negligence. They have not disputed past arguments.

Concurring Opinion-Powell: The Court’s holding forms no indication to the outlook of the prisoner’s claims in the state and federal court.

Dissenting Opinion-Burger: Seeing that there is no federal constitution right to intrude state convictions secondary in federal court. The federal court may not wish for states to fund prison law libraries.

Dissenting Opinion-Stewart: Important admittance to courts is rare by constructing law libraries for prisoners.

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Dissenting Opinion-Rehnquist: There is no structure written to access the federal court to challenge state court convictions. The prisoners had forthright appeal over the state court system.

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Bounds v. Smith – case summary and case brief. (2019, February 11). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 14, 2024, from
“Bounds v. Smith – case summary and case brief.” GradesFixer, 11 Feb. 2019,
Bounds v. Smith – case summary and case brief. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 14 Apr. 2024].
Bounds v. Smith – case summary and case brief [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2019 Feb 11 [cited 2024 Apr 14]. Available from:
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