Samarripa v. Ormond, No. 17-6048 (6th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
Five federal prisoners filed habeas corpus petitions under 28 U.S.C. 2241, arguing that their respective sentences are too long under federal law. Each paid the $5 habeas filing fee in the district court and each lost his petition on the merits. Each man moved to proceed as a pauper on appeal, seeking to avoid prepaying the $505 appellate filing fee. The statute, 28 U.S.C. 1915(a)(1), says that a federal court “may authorize the commencement, prosecution or defense of any suit, action or proceeding, civil or criminal, or appeal therein, without prepayment of fees” by a person who “is unable to pay such fees.” After examining each petitioner’s financial status, the district courts granted the motions in part, requiring each petitioner to make a one-time, partial prepayment of the fee, ranging from $50 to $400. The Sixth Circuit affirmed. Nothing in the statute deprives a district court of discretion to require partial prepayment of appellate filing fees, and nothing about it alters the pre-1996-amendment practice of doing so.