Court: Jail's 3-book limit doesn't violate rights of inmates

CHICAGO — A federal judge in Chicago has ruled the confiscation by Cook County Jail guards of over 30 books from an inmate didn't violate his free-speech rights.

The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin reports that Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez agreed the First Amendment protected the right to read, not only the right to speak.

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But her recent written decision says the jail's limit of three books at a time wasn't unreasonable. Jail officials say it's partly a safety issue, including because too many books could be used to start fires.

Onetime inmate Gregory Koger brought the lawsuit. His lawyers, Mark Weinberg and Adele Nicholas, say they'll appeal.

Weinberg told the Law Bulletin that access to books is vital to inmates "since reading is one of the few ways people behind bars can escape their drudgery."

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