Resource: Johnson v. Avery (1969)

By: David L. Hudson Jr.

First Amendment Encyclopedia

In Johnson v. Avery, 393 U.S. 483 (1969), the Supreme Court invalidated a Tennessee prison rule that prohibited inmates from assisting others with legal matters, including preparing writs of habeas corpus, finding it denied many inmates access to the courts to file claims. Although rooted in due process, many later decisions characterize the Court’s opinion as affirming that inmates retain the First Amendment right to petition the courts for a redress of grievances.