United States District Court, S.D. Georgia
RANDAL HALL, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
matter is before the Court because Franklin Williams
(/'Williams") has filed numerous frivolous motions
in cases which this Court closed months and even years ago.
This is by no means the first time Williams has forced this
Court to expend its valuable resources addressing his
meritless filings. For years, Williams has sought to clog
this Court's docket with voluminous pleadings that serve
no purpose other than to threaten the just and speedy
determination of legitimate actions filed by deserving
litigants. To prevent further abuse of the judicial process,
the Court enters the following Order of Sanctions, by which
the Court ORDERS Williams to abide. In
addition, the Court DIRECTS the Clerk of
Court to follow the instructions contained herein.
Williams ("Williams") was convicted in the Ware
County, Georgia, Superior Court in 1997, and he was released
from the custody of the State of Georgia on October 23, 2009.
search for "Franklin Williams'', last accessed
July 14, 2017. Williams was then convicted in this Court,
after a jury trial, of two counts of distribution of cocaine
on February 26, 2007. Jury Verdict, United States v.
Williams, 5:06-cr-14, (S.D. Ga. Feb. 26, 2007), ECF No.
49. The Honorable William T. Moore, Jr., sentenced Williams
to 292 months' imprisonment as to each count, to be
served concurrently with each other and concurrently with a
revoked state parole term Williams was serving at the time.
J., United States v. Williams, 5:06-cr-14, (S.D. Ga.
June 20, 2007), ECF No. 62. Judge Moore later reduced
Williams' sentence to 235 months' imprisonment based
on a reduction to the applicable Sentencing Guidelines'
range. Order, United States v. Williams, (S.D. Ga.
Oct. 21, 2008), ECF No. 76. Williams' current release
date is November 19, 2024.
https://www.bop.gov/inmateloc/, search for
"Franklin Lamar Williams", last accessed July 14,
began his campaign of harassment and vexatious litigation in
federal courts in 2001, and his efforts to barrage this
Court, as well as several other courts throughout the United
States, began in earnest in 2007. Williams has filed cases in
the District of Columbia, the Middle District of Florida, the
Western District of Texas, and this Court, not to mention his
filings before the Fifth Circuit and Eleventh Circuit Courts
of Appeals. Williams frequently filed 42 U.S.C. § 1983
and Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau
of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), causes of action in
this Court. However, he somewhat relented in filing original
civil rights cases after the Court barred him from doing so
under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g) and due to his harassment of
several defendants. See R & R, Williams v.
Eaves, 5:12-cv-24 (S.D. Ga. May 29, 2012), ECF No. 8; R
& R, Williams v. Eaves, 5:09-cv-102 (S.D. Ga.
Mar. 1, 2010), ECF No. 30. Even though Williams curtailed
filing new civil rights causes of action, he incessantly
files post-judgment motions in civil rights cases that have
long been closed. See, e.g.. Mots., Williams v.
Eaves. 5:09-cv-102 (S.D. Ga. Sept. 8 and 23, 2016), ECF
Nos. 119, 122.
Williams continues to inundate this Court's docket with
habeas corpus actions filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§§ 2241, 2254, and 2255. Since 2007, Williams has
filed, in this Court alone, at least twenty-four (24) Section
2255 motions, fourteen (14) Section 2241 petitions, and
twelve (12) Section 2254 motions. Despite this Court denying
Williams' filings on the merits, R. & R.,
Williams v. United States of America, 5:08-cv-34
(S.D. Ga. Oct. 14, 2008), ECF No. 4, or dismissing his
filings as unauthorized second or successive pleadings, R.
& R., Williams v. United States. 5:15-cv-26
(S.D. Ga. May 16, 2016), ECF No. 2, Williams has continued
his filing rampage. In fact, Williams filed yet another
Section 2255 motion, and United States Magistrate Judge R.
Stan Baker recommended that motion be dismissed as an
unauthorized second or successive motion. R. & R.,
Williams v. United States, 5:16-cv-86 (S.D. Ga. Feb.
21, 2017), ECF No. 15. Judge Moore adopted this
recommendation as the opinion of the Court and directed the
Clerk of Court to close that case. Order, Williams v.
United States, 5:16-cv-86 (S.D. Ga. June 23, 2017), ECF
No. 28. Moreover, as with his closed civil rights cases,
Williams continues to file post-judgment pleadings in many of
his closed habeas cases. See, e.g.. Mot.,
Williams v. Tamez. 5:11-cv-83 (S.D. Ga. Sept. 14,
2016), ECF No. 65; Mot., Williams v. Flournoy.
2:16-cv-48 (S.D. Ga. Oct. 11, 2016), ECF No. 14. In fact,
Williams recently filed a Motion for Certificate of
Appealability and a Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma
Pauperis in Case Number 5:16-cv-86, despite Judge Moore
having already denied these forms of relief in his Order
adopting the Magistrate Judge's Report and
Recommendation. Mots., Williams v. United States.
5:16-cv-86 (S.D. Ga. July 7, 2017), ECF Nos. 31, 32.
"Injunctive restrictions on filings by abusive litigants
are 'necessary and prudent' in order to curb conduct
that would impair the rights of other litigants and the
courts' ability to carry out their Article III
functions." Shivers v. United States, 427
F.App'x 697, 699 (11th Cir. 2011) (quoting Procup v.
Strickland, 792 F.2d 1069, 1071, 1073 (11th
Cir. 1986)). The United States Supreme Court has held:
"The goal of fairly dispensing justice ... is
compromised when the Court is forced to devote its limited
resources to the processing of repetitious and frivolous
requests. Pro se petitioners have a greater capacity
than most to disrupt the fair allocation of judicial
resources because they are not subject to the financial
considerations-filing fees and attorney's fees-that deter
other litigants from filing frivolous petitions." In
re Anderson, 511 U.S. 364, 365 (1994) (quoting In re
Sindram, 498 U.S. 177, 179 (1991)).
are particularly appropriate after a litigant has been warned
about the possibility of sanctions and has ignored that
warning. See, e.g.. Nelson v. Reese, 214
F.App'x 465 (5th Cir. 2007); Perkins v. United
States. No. 99-41421, 2000 WL 959916, at *1 (5th Cir.
June 13, 2000); Alexander v. United States, 121 F.3d
312, 315 (7th Cir. 1997); McDonald v. Summers. No.
3:05-0243, 2011 WL 2437766 (M.D. Tenn. June 13, 2011);
Shivers. 427 F.App'x at 697 (imposing
restrictions on subsequent in forma pauperis filings
and warning that future frivolous filings could lead to
additional sanctions). Moreover, a court may resort to
monetary sanctions when litigants persist in filing frivolous
submissions. United States v. Green. No.
3:96CR74/RV, 2012 WL 6761572, at *2 (N.D. Fla. Dec. 19,
2012), report and recommendation adopted, No.
3:96CR74/RV, 2013 WL 45293 (N.D. Fla. Jan. 3, 2013) (citing
Alexander, 121 F.3d at 316 (imposing $500 sanction
after warning); Nelson, 214 F.App'x at 467 ($250
sanction after warning); Smith v. Gilmore, 111 F.3d
55, 56 (7th Cir. 1997) ($50 sanction after warning);
McDonald, 2011 WL 2437766, at *4 ($1000 sanction
after multiple warnings); Miller v. Williams, No.
CV411-065, 2011 WL 1898921 (S.D. Ga. May 17, 2011) ($500
sanction recommended in light of litigant's eight-year
"unceasing paper-war against this court"),
report and recommendation adopted, 2011 WL 2181628
(S.D. Ga. June 2, 2011).
Court has explicitly warned Williams on numerous occasions
that "should he continue to file patently frivolous
motions, his ability to seek redress with this Court will be
sharply limited" and that "he will be deemed a
serial abusive filer." See Orders, Williams v,
Darden, 4:11-cv-213 (S.D. Ga. Oct. 28, 2013; June 30,
2015; Feb. 22, 2016), ECF Nos. 34, 45, 47; see also
Order, Williams v. Currie, 5:07-cv-22 (S.D. Ga. Feb.
18, 2010), ECF No. 18. Moreover, the Court has informed
Williams on numerous occasions that the arguments he repeats
ad nauseam are frivolous and/or futile.
Id.; see also Orders, Williams v.
Eaves, 5:O9-cv-102 (S.D. Ga. Mar. 1, 2012; May 13, 2010;
Mar. 25, 2011; Oct. 3, 2012), ECF Nos. 30, 45, 83, 86;
Orders, Williams v. Darden, 4:11-cv-213 (S.D. Ga.
Apr. 5, 2012; July 12, 2012; Nov. 11, 2013; Oct. 13, 2016),
ECF Nos. 23, 25, 39, 64; Order, Williams v. Fiveash,
5:07-cv-25 (S.D. Ga. Aug. 18, 2010), ECF No. 33. Despite
these warnings, Williams has persisted in being a vexatious
litigant who continuously files frivolous motions and other
papers. See, e.g., Mots., Williams v.
Eaves, 5:09-cv-102 (S.D. Ga. Sept. 28, 2012-Sept. 23,
2016), ECF Nos. 85, 87, 90, 91, 98, 99, 102, 107, 100, 116,
118, 119, 122.
case of a serial frivolous filer such as Williams, this Court
has "considerable discretion to impose even severe
restrictions" that will curtail what Williams may file
and how he must behave before this Court. Shivers,
427 F.App'x at 699. While this Court has imposed some
restrictions on Williams' ability to file civil rights
actions, it has been hesitant to place restrictions on his
ability to file habeas corpus petitions. However, the
Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has approved the imposition
of filing restrictions and other sanctions, even in the
habeas corpus context, hi at 697; see also Williams.
Ronnie v. Byson, No. CV416-232, 2016 WL 6609217, at *2
(S.D. Ga. Oct. 19, 2016), report and recommendation
adopted, No. CV4l6-232, 2016 WL 6609193 (S.D. Ga. Nov.
7, 2016) (imposing restrictions to curb petitioner's
"vexatious habeas litigation"). Further, given that
Williams has filed at least fifty (50) habeas actions in this
Court, he has more than been afforded the opportunity to
challenge his convictions and sentences. Indeed, the District
Courts for the Middle District of Florida and Western
District of Texas have imposed restrictions on Williams'
ability to file habeas corpus pleadings in their courts.
Order, Williams v. Warden, 5:14-cv-00684-WTH-PRL
(M.D. Fla. Apr. 13, 2015), ECF No. 13; R. & R. and Order,
Williams v. Pearce, 1:12-cv-00368-SS (W.D. Tex. Jan.
23, and Feb. 13, 2013), ECF Nos. 25, 28.
ordinarily, an individual collaterally attacking the validity
of a federal sentence must bring a motion under Section 2255
in the district of conviction. 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a);
Turner v. Warden Coleman FCI (Medium), 709 F.3d
1328, 1333 (11th Cir. 2013), abrogation on other grounds
recognized by United States v. Hill, 799 F.3d. 1318,
1321 n.1 (11th Cir. 2015). However, as this Court has
previously explained to Williams, given his prior habeas
filings, to file a Section 2255 motion, he must first file an
application with the appropriate court of appeals for an
order authorizing this Court to consider the motion. 28
U.S.C. § 2244(b)(3)(A); Carter v. United
States, 405 F.App'x 409, 410 (11th Cir. 2010)
("Without authorization" from the court of appeals,
a "district court lack[s] jurisdiction to consider [a
movant's] second or successive" motion.). Thus, by
restricting Williams' ability to file yet another habeas
petition in this Court, the Court is only reinforcing a
Congressional mandate and jurisdictional limitation which
Williams has repeatedly ignored.
history of filings in this Court alone more than justifies
the imposition of sanctions,  The Court will no longer tolerate
Williams' frivolous filings, because they threaten the
Court's ability to adjudicate the legitimate claims of
other litigants. Accordingly, the Court imposes the following
restrictions on Williams. These restrictions apply to
all six (6) divisions of this Court.