Reyes v. Ashcraft, No. 19-1084 (7th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), the suit of a prisoner filing a petition to proceed in a suit in forma pauperis (IFP) must be dismissed if the prisoner deliberately misrepresented his financial status. Reyes, an Illinois prisoner, filed a 42 U.S.C. 1983 action in 2017 and another in 2018 and petitioned to proceed IFP in both cases. The district court initially granted those IFP petitions but later dismissed both cases under 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(A), after the defendants presented evidence that Reyes deliberately misled the court about his finances on his 2017 IFP application. He did not disclose information about his income for three months in 2017, during which time he had received $1,692 in gifts deposited to his trust account. He had spent $785 at the commissary for non-essential items, such as a television. He claimed to have received no income in 2018 but had received $26.
The Seventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the 2017 case because the district court did not clearly err in finding that Reyes was dishonest about his financial status. The court did not give Reyes a chance to explain any potential issues with his 2018 IFP application and the defendants conceded that he should have been given that opportunity. The court vacated that dismissal.