Condemned killer Ronnie Lee Gardner has filed suit against Utah State Prison officials, claiming they are impeding his appeal by denying him full access to his legal documents.
The suit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court for Utah, claims he first requested trial transcripts in September 1986, but it says prison officials have failed to give him full access to the documents.Prison officials did allow him to review transcripts in his cell, but he could only have a portion at any given time, the suit said. Also, at one point some of the legal property was missing and the "plaintiff has never recovered the legal property to this day," the suit said.
Gardner is on Utah's death row in the shooting death of Joseph Burdell, a Salt Lake City attorney who was killed during a bloody escape attempt April 2, 1985. A woman had slipped Gardner a handgun and he tried to shoot his way out of the Metropolitan Hall of Justice while being being ushered in to face charges in the death of a Salt Lake bartender.
The suit, signed by Gardner, names Corrections Director Gary DeLand, Warden Gerald Cook and others. It seeks a judgment that the prison's policies violate his constitutional rights and an injunction prohibiting the prison from retaliating against the inmate for his suit.