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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Ivo Nabelek pleaded guilty in 1993 to aggravated sexual assault of a child, sexual performance by a child and possession of child pornography. Nabelek later sought portions of the files used in his case from the city of Houston and several individuals. He sought the files so he could prepare a petition for habeas corpus relief and to apply for clemency. The defendants refused the request under the Public Information Act (PIA) section that says requests from inmates need not be, but can be, accepted or complied with. Nabelek sued to establish his right to the file. The trial court granted the city’s motion for summary judgment. The court of appeals reversed and remanded. The city removed the case to federal district court, but that court remanded to state court because the removal petition was late. On remand, the trial court again granted the city’s motion for summary judgment. On appeal, Nabelek says application of the PIA section to him denies him rights to due process, equal protection, free speech and self-representation. HOLDING:Affirmed. The court first rejects Nabelek’s due process claim because he does not have a due process right to clemency, or even clemency proceedings. The court also notes that the statute does not limit his ability to seek clemency, it only limits his ability to collect information. Nor does Nabelek have a due process right to information for his writ of habeas corpus. The records are not his property, they are city property. The court also notes that Nabelek pleaded guilty to the offenses for which he is incarcerated. He could have obtained the records he now seeks through discovery, but he forfeited that opportunity. “Because Nabelek still has the right and ability to seek clemency and a writ of habeas corpus, there is no due process violation. Also, as the [U.S.] Supreme Court has noted, when someone has forgone an avenue that would have afforded the very material and opportunity he seeks now � as with Nabelek had he not pleaded guilty and foregone a trial � he cannot later attempt to assert a constitutional right to that opportunity on his own terms.” Nabelek’s equal protection argument fails, too. As a prisoner, Nabelek is not in a protected class. The statute, therefore, is constitutional so long as the legislature had a legitimate interest in enacting the law. “Avoidance of unnecessary use of state and other governmental agencies’ employee resources is a legitimate goal,” the court holds. The court finds that the statute, as applied, does not offend Nabelek’s First Amendment rights, either, not as it relates to free speech or his right to petition for a redress of grievances. He still has the full ability to petition for a writ of habeas corpus or seek clemency without the information from the city. Finally, Nabelek’s right to self-representation has not been violated either; a licensed attorney would have no greater constitutional right to discovery, either, the court rules. OPINION:Fowler, J.; Fowler, Edelman and Guzman, J.J.

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