MADISON, Wis. — All Jevon Jackson wanted was to hang a picture of Jennifer Aniston in his room.
But because his room was a cell at a Green Bay prison, the warden wouldn’t allow it. Jackson took his case to federal court, where a judge ruled Wednesday in favor of the prison — but offered the inmate advice on how to get a picture of the TV and movie star.
Jackson, a murderer, ran afoul of the state prison system when he ordered a commercial picture of Aniston, who starred on the television series “Friends.”
The prison has a policy against inmates receiving, and thus displaying, commercially published photographs. It adopted the policy in 2006 because of the increasing volume of mail — some 1,500 pieces of mail a day, according to prison officials.
The commercially published photos often contained nudity or other forbidden content such as gang symbols, officials told the court.
Jackson, 30, argued that his First Amendment rights had been violated. He also said it didn’t make sense to disallow commercial photographs but at the same time allow magazines that could contain hundreds of images.
Inmates are allowed to display pictures of non-celebrity friends and relatives, as well as photos published in magazines. Neither Jackson nor the prison said there was anything inappropriate about the photo he wanted to display.
“That’s good,” the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in its unanimous, and somewhat snarky, opinion.
In it, the judges wrote: “In 2000, Aniston sued ’Celebrity Skin’ magazine for publishing photos taken of her while sunbathing topless in her own backyard!” The three judges also identified Aniston as an actress who appeared in “several forgettable recent films.” They named a couple: “Rumor Has It” and “Along Came Polly.”
The appeals court said the prison’s policy was reasonable — and Jackson could always get around it by ordering magazines.
Even though Aniston may not be in every issue he subscribed to, the court said, “the likelihood of an eventual photograph of her is sufficiently high to suffice as an alternative.”
Jackson had argued a commercial photo would be less trouble for the prison than if he had to order several magazines to find the one picture of Aniston he wanted.
A spokesman for the state prison system did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
A spokesman for the state prison system referred questions to the state attorney general’s office, which handled the case. A spokesman for that department did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
Jackson was sentenced to life in prison for murder in the 1993 killing of a woman who had just left a Milwaukee fast-food restaurant. He was 17 at the time of the murder.