U. S. District Court Judge Ortrie Smith dismissed accused double murderer Micah Joel Holman's lawsuit against the Jasper County Sheriff's Department Tuesday.
Holman, who is charged with the brutally murder Marvin and Peggy Steverson of Carthage, and then allegedly burned their home to erase the evidence, claimed that Sheriff Archie Dunn and his deputies violated his civil rights by going through his mail.
In documents filed last month in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Holman claimed that on Sept,. 3 "I was given my mail by Detention Officer Graham, which consisted of legal mail, clearly marked as such, from my attorney of record, Mr. Joe Zuzul, public defender, 121 West Cherry Street, Nevada, MO.
"I believe my attorney/client privilege was violated by the opening of this mail, mainly the third and fourth amendments."
Upset that his constitutional rights had been so grossly abused, the accused killer set out to put things right. He asked an officer, "Do you remember handing me a letter from my attorney that had been opened." The officer said he did, but that he wasn't the one who had done it.
Holman said he was told the person who did had already been spoken to and that it never should have happened. "I asked him what he was going to do about this," Holman wrote, "and all he could say was, 'Really, what can I do?"
Holman says he requested a grievance form and filled it out, but never heard from anyone, so he elected to sue.
He won't be able to refile the action, since Judge Smith dismissed the case with prejudice. "Plaintiff has failed to indicate how someone tampering with his outgoing mail has denied him access to the courts or injured him," Judge Smith said. "Furthermore, he offers no specific incident that would form the basis for such belief."