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Johnson v. Holt

United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Macon Division

May 18, 2017

TROY DELMAR JOHNSON, Plaintiff,
v.
WARDEN AHMED HOLT, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          MARC T. TREADWELL, JUDGE.

         Plaintiff has filed a notice of appeal as to the Court's Order granting summary judgment against him and now, pursuant to the Eleventh Circuit's direction, moves in this Court to proceed on appeal in forma pauperis. Docs. 83; 85 at 2; 86. Applications to appeal in forma pauperis are governed by 28 U.S.C. § 1915 and Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 24. 28 U.S.C. § 1915 provides:

(a)(1) [A]ny court of the United States may authorize the commencement, prosecution or defense of any suit, action or proceeding, civil or criminal, or appeal therein, without prepayment of fees or security therefore, by a person who submits an affidavit that includes a statement of all assets such prisoner possesses that the person is unable to pay such fees or give security therefor. Such affidavit shall state the nature of the action, defense or appeal and affiant's belief that the person is entitled to redress.
(2) A prisoner seeking to bring a civil action or appeal a judgment in a civil action or proceeding without prepayment of fees or security therefor, in addition to filing the affidavit filed under paragraph (1), shall submit a certified copy of the trust fund account statement (or institutional equivalent) for the prisoner for the 6-month period immediately preceding the filing of the complaint or notice of appeal, obtained from the appropriate official of each prison at which the prisoner is or was confined.
(3) An appeal may not be taken in forma pauperis if the trial court certifies in writing that it is not taken in good faith.

         Similarly Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 24(a) provides:

(1) [A] party to a district-court action who desires to appeal in forma pauperis must file a motion in the district court. The party must attach an affidavit that:
(A) shows . . . the party's inability to pay or to give security for fees and costs;
(B) claims an entitlement to redress; and
(C) states the issues that the party intends to present on appeal.
(2) If the district court denies the motion, it must state its reasons in writing.

         Thus, the Court must make two determinations when faced with an application to proceed in forma pauperis. First, it must determine whether the plaintiff is financially able to pay the filing fee required for an appeal. Plaintiff has submitted neither an up-to-date affidavit under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1) nor a certified trust fund account statement covering the six-month period preceding his appeal under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2), rather, he refers the Court back to his original IFP application. Doc. 86 at 1; see also Doc. 2-1. Plaintiff's motion to proceed IFP on appeal must be denied on these grounds.

         But even if Plaintiff had filed the financial affidavit and trust fund account statement and further assuming that they show that Plaintiff is unable to pay the filing fee, the Court would still deny the application because the appeal would not be taken in good faith.

         “‘[G]ood faith' . . . must be judged by an objective standard.” Coppedge v. United States, 369 U.S. 438, 445 (1962). The plaintiff demonstrates good faith when he seeks review of a non-frivolous issue. Id.; Morris v. Ross, 664 F.2d 1032, 1033 (11th Cir. 1981). An issue “is frivolous if it is ‘without arguable merit either in law or fact.'” Napier v. Preslicka, 314 F.3d 528, 531 (11th Cir. 2002). “Arguable means being capable of being convincingly argued.” Sun v. Forrester, 939 F.2d 924, 925 (11th Cir. 1991) (quotation marks and citations omitted); Carroll v. Gross, 984 F.2d 392, 393 (11th Cir. 1993) (“[A] case is frivolous . . . when it appears the plaintiff ‘has little or no chance of success.'”) (citations omitted). “In deciding whether an [in forma pauperis] appeal ...


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