Florida Judge Thumbs His Nose at U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on Poor People’s Right to Access The Courts

Judge Donald L. Graham


A district judge may not respectfully (or disrespectfully) disagree with his learned colleagues on his own court of appeals who have ruled on a controlling legal issue, or with Supreme Court Justices writing for a majority of the Court. Binding authority within this regime cannot be considered and cast aside; it is not merely evidence of what the law is. Rather, case law on point is the law. If a court must decide an issue governed by a prior opinion that constitutes binding authority, the later court is bound to reach the same result, even if it considers the rule unwise or incorrect. Binding authority must be followed unless and until overruled by a body competent to do so…A decision of the Supreme Court will control that corner of the law unless and until the Supreme Court itself overrules or modifies it. Judges of the inferior courts may voice their criticisms, but follow it they must.Hart v. Massanari, 266 F.3d 1155, 1170 (9th Cir. 2001).

“”Thumbing your nose at the U.S. Supreme Court is almost unheard of in the judicial system,” said Kary Moss, ACLU of Michigan Executive Director.” U.S. District Judge Donald L. Graham denied an indigent, Marcellus Mason, access to the courts no less than 18 times for no apparent reason by denying in forma pauperis motions. See IFP Mockery. The Supreme Court has said that an in forma pauperis application may only be denied if the allegation of poverty is untrue or if the lawsuit is frivolous. Judge Graham failed to cite any reason for these denials. These denials represent an apparent snub and disdain for the United States Supreme Court and the Congress. If Judge Graham won’t respect the law and the United States Supreme Court then who should?

Definition of In Forma Pauperis

In forma pauperis (IFP) is a legal term derived from the Latin
phrase in the character or manner of a pauper. In the United States, the IFP designation is given by both state and federal courts to someone who is without the funds to pursue the normal costs of a lawsuit or a criminal defense. The status is usually granted by a judge without a hearing, and entitles the person to a waiver of normal costs, and sometimes in criminal cases the appointment of counsel. URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_forma_pauperis.

The United States Supreme Court

The federal in forma pauperis 28 U.S.C. §1915, allows an indigent litigant to commence a civil or criminal action in federal court without paying the administrative costs of proceeding with the lawsuit. The statute protects against abuses of this privilege by allowing a district court to dismiss the case “if the allegation of poverty is untrue, or if satisfied that the action is frivolous or malicious.Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 27…1915(d) authorizes federal courts to dismiss a claim filed in forma pauperis “if the allegation of poverty is untrue, or if satisfied that the action is frivolous or malicious.
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324 (1989). [a] court may dismiss a claim as factually frivolous only if the facts alleged are “clearly baseless,” [internal citations omitted] , a category encompassing allegations that are “fanciful,” “fantastic, “and “delusional,. [A] finding of factual frivolousness is appropriate when the facts alleged rise to the level of the irrational or the wholly incredible, whether or not there are judicially noticeable facts available to contradict them. An in forma pauperis complaint may not be dismissed, however, simply because the court finds the plaintiff’s allegations unlikely. Some improbable allegations might properly be disposed of on summary judgment, but to dismiss them as frivolous without any factual development is to disregard the age-old insight that many allegations might be “strange, but true; for truth is always strange, Stranger than fiction. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25 (1992).

Examples Of Judge Graham’s Arbitrary Denials and Arrogance

(D.E. 9, Case No. 00-14201-CIV-GRAHAM/LYNCH)

THIS CAUSE came before the Court upon Plaintiff’s Motion to proceed in forma pauperis (D.E. #2). UPON CONSIDERATION of the motion and the pertinent portions of the record, it is ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that Plaintiff’s Motion be, and the same is hereby, DENIED.

(D.E. 877, Case No. 99-14027-CIV-GRAHAM/LYNCH) (This order denied three motions to proceed IFP, (DE #796, #799,& #811)

THIS CAUSE came before the Court upon Plaintiff’s Motion for Permission to Appeal in forma pauperis and Affidavit (D.E. #899). THE COURT having considered the motion, the pertinent portions of the record and being otherwise fully advised in the premises, it is, ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that Plaintiff’s Motion is DENIED.

These statements are the only explanations Judge Graham has offered for these denials. As a matter of fact, Judge Graham has 16 more denials like this where he arbitrarily denied Marcellus Mason in forma pauperis. If Judge Graham won’t respect the law and the United States Supreme Court then who should?

Judge Graham Admits He Knows the Law And Expressly Rejects the U.S. Supreme Court

It appears that Judge Graham has the power to create, by apparent fiat, his own rules and laws when he sees fit with respect to in forma pauperis applications. Quoting Herrick v. Collins, 914 F.2d 228 (11th Cir. 1990), a case cited by Judge Graham to Mason on least two occasions, see 00-14202,(DE #10, dtd. 11-2-2000); 00-14201, (DE #10, dtd. 11-21-2000), 28 U.S.C. § 1915 (1988) states in pertinent part:

(d) The court may . . . dismiss the case if . . . satisfied that the action is frivolous or

On September 7, 2002, Judge Graham was presented with a “MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS AND SUPPORTING AFFIDAVIT, PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO DISQUALIFY, PLAINTIFF’S DEMAND TO RESCIND INJUNCTION FORTHWITH, AND PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR PUBLICATION”. See Docket Entry No. 914, pdf (1.8 meg, very large), or Microsoft Word 97 Doc.(1.89K, small). This motion specifically informs Judge Graham of the U.S. Supreme Court’s legal requirements with respect to in forma pauperis.

According to the rules and case law authority promulgated by the Supreme Court of the United States and the Congress of the United States, the elected representatives of the people, “§ 1915(d) authorizes federal courts to dismiss a claim filed in forma pauperis “if the allegation of poverty is untrue, or if satisfied that the action is frivolous or malicious.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324 (1989). See also Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 27 (1992).” This Court has denied Mason’s in forma pauperis applications on eleven occasions for no stated reason at all, see below. “While a trial court has broad discretion in denying an application to proceed in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C.A. § 1915, it must not act arbitrarily and it may not deny the application on erroneous grounds.” Pace v. Evans, 709 F.2d 1428, 1429 (11th Cir. 1983) . See also Flowers v. Turbine Support Division, 507 F.2d 1242, 1244 (5th Cir.1975)(“[I]n denying such applications [in forma pauperis]a court must not act arbitrarily. Nor may it deny the application on erroneous grounds.). On two occasions this Court has denied Mason’s in forma pauperis applications for nebulous, unintelligible, and indeterminate reasons, see below. On four different occasions this has created a “pending litigation and previous denial reason,” see below. In order to deny an in forma pauperis application, a specific procedure must be followed, assuming this Court intends to follow the law. “If the district court grants the motion, the party may proceed on appeal without prepaying or giving security for fees and costs. If the district court denies the motion, it must state its reasons in writing.” FRAP 24(a)(2). Liles v. South Carolina Dept. Of Corrections, 414 F.2d 612 (4th Cir. 1969)(citing Coppedge v. United States, 369 U.S. 438, 82 S.Ct. 917, 8 L.Ed.2d 21 (1962); Ellis v. United States, 356 U.S. 674, 78 S.Ct. 974, 2 L.Ed.2d 1060 (1958)(“In case the district court certifies that the appeal is not taken in good faith, the required written statement must show not merely that the appeal lacks merit, but that the issues raised are so frivolous that the appeal would be dismissed in the case of a nonindigent litigant.).

See Docket No. 914.

When Judge Graham read this motion his only reply with respect to the motion to proceed on appeal in forma pauperis and the Supreme Court’s edict was:

ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that Plaintiff’s Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis, Plaintiff’s Motion to Disqualify, Plaintiff’s Demand to Rescind Inunction and Plaintiff’s Motion for Publication (D.E. #914) is DENIED.

See Docket No. 928.
Consequently, it is clear that Judge Graham’s knows the rules with respect to granting in forma pauperis.

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14 Responses to “Florida Judge Thumbs His Nose at U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on Poor People’s Right to Access The Courts”

  1. Jane Stewart Says:

    see ‘pacer records’ in Orlando for case 6:07-cv-723 and 6:07-cv-1210












    filed with an Affidavit 2 / 6 / 2008

  2. Jane Stewart Says:

    Any misconduct by Bar members invalidates immunity
    via ex parte Young per the Supreme Court decision.

    This case entitles the affected individual to sue in the Federal Court for

    injunctive relief.

    This is ‘based on the fact that the immunity’ of any governmental agent is

    overcome when they engage in conduct that is clearly Unconstitutional.

    This case clearly encompass such activities as perjury, violation of

    procedural and substantive due process, proven bias or manipulation of

    the evidence, not abiding by the rules of civil procedure as stated

    in our U. S. First, and Fourteenth Amendment, and ignoring Federal ADA


    see above case numbers to see everything about the case

    Florida Court Administration ( Debbie Howells ) ignores

    the ADA laws and ignores the disabled victim of crime

    and Florida’s Constitution

    and the United States Constitution’s 14th Amendment

    IN THE Pace v Evens case

    United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit. No. 83-8150

    the appeals court dismissal of his complaint

    and the denial of his motion for leave to appeal

    in forma pauperis was appealed.

    The higher court vacated the order of the district court (in Pace v Evens )

    and remand for further proceedings.

    Pace v. Evans, 709 F.2d 1428, 1429 (11th Cir.1983)

    Flowers v. Turbine Support Div., 507 F.2d 1242, 1244 (5th Cir.1975)

    why did the 11th Cir. Court fail to do that and fail the same for

    the woman victim of a crime

    ( can someone explain this to me please) see case numbers above

    why would the court be afraid to grant in forma pauperis, “IFP”,

    to the poor disabled victim ?

    why did they deny motions or applications without stating a reason

    for the denials.

    the www shows that the 11th Cir. has a history of arbitrary denials

    having done it 18 times to some people without stating a reason.

    Trying to show the court of the fraud and perjury is clearly not vexatious, baseless, and/or harassing is not easy for a disabled and impaired citizen. The court must take the time needed to review the claim to determine whether it is legally sufficient to state a cause of action for which the court has jurisdiction and may grant relief.

    Simply ‘rubber stamping’ someone else’s actions is not sufficient for a court of law to do such a thing.

    Victims of court abuse must be allowed to address the problem to be able to clearly show that it is not a frivolous lawsuit—

    and that it needs to be filed by the indigent victim of court abuse.

    And, if the claim is legally sufficient to state a cause of action for which the court has jurisdiction and may grant relief the court has a duty to hear the case.

    The Law ‘requires the courts’ to conduct hearings to determine whether
    an individual is a vexatious litigant and, if so, whether the vexatious
    litigant’s claim has merit. That was not done in the instant case !
    In the instant case the defendant is not immune in ADA
    cases if there has been intentional or callous disregard for

    the ADA laws. You must Remember also- ‘vexatious’ does not include

    actions concerning ‘family’ law matters governed by the Florida Family
    Law Rules of Procedure or any action in which Florida Small Claims Rules apply.”
    this disabled person needs help from an attorney

  3. Jane Stewart Says:

    Plaintiff (still needs help )

    is now addressing the fact that she is challenging the

    constitutionality of Florida’s vexatious litigant statutes being used upon her

    cases. Remember, the United States Supreme Court has upheld disabled

    victims of the abuse of the court system the right to sue a State for

    denying them equal access to the court and that such restrictions violated

    the equal protection clause of the United States constitution.

    See Tenn. v Lane, USSC.

    Substantive laws either create or impose new obligations and duties.

    Procedural statutes concern the means and methods to apply and enforce

    duties and rights. Id.

    Because the ADA bill protects a litigant’s right to access the courts, the

    bill is construed to be substantive in nature and, accordingly, operates

    prospectively to apply to all cases filed after 1990.

    Pro se complaints are to be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. Powell vs. Lennoon, 914 F2d 1459 11th Circuit 1990) Cruz vs. Cardwell, 486 F2d 550 Pro se pleadings are liberally construed and should be given every benefit of the doubt.

    Under penalty of perjury I, Jane, do state the above and below are true facts to the best of my ability to remember.

    disabled pro se litigant ADA laws need followed
    Melbourne, Fla. 32935 Phone 321 259-4673

    28 CFR § 35.130 provides:

    (f) A public entity may not place a surcharge on a particular individual with a disability or any group of individuals with disabilities to cover the costs of measures, such as provision of auxiliary aids or program accessibility, that are required to provide that individual or group with the nondiscriminatory treatment required by the Act or this part.

  4. rule 10 of frap Says:

    […] a controlling legal issue, or with Supreme Court Justices writing for a majority of the Court. Binhttps://mcneilmason.wordpress.com/2008/04/14/florida-judge-thumbs-his-nose-at-us-supreme-court-ruling…Appeal in the Third CircuitAppendixes are governed by frap 30 and LAR 28 and 32. By Local rule … […]

  5. U.S. Dist. Judge William P. Dimitrouleas Reversed While Colleague Judge Donald L. Graham Affirmed by Killing The Appeal « Unpublished Junk Law of the Eleventh Circuit, US Court of Appeals Says:

    […] This post will only address the narrow legal point that attorney’s fees can not be awarded if they bankrupt the Plaintiff or the Plaintiff has no ability to pay. The underlying merits of the lawsuit is fully discussed at the Attorneys’ Fees Webpage. The only legal point being raised here is that the district court can not make such a grotesque award even if a Plaintiff’s lawsuit was totally frivolous, which this clearly was not the case, given the financial insolvency of Mason. Judge Graham knew that Mason was proceeding as an indigent having been awarded in forma pauperis status, “IFP” to initiate the lawsuit. See Docket Entry No. 3. Moreover, it was Judge Graham and his Magistrate, Frank Lynch Jr., who said: “it does not appear as though the Plaintiff has any financial ability to pay any attorney’s fees which may be assessed against him in this case.” Docket Entry No. 882, pgs. 6-7. Even more egregious, this award based upon a “bad faith finding” in a sua sponte issued pre-filing injunction. It is well settled that a “bad find” finding and pre-fling injunctin both require due process or notice and opportunity to respond prior to its according to both the United States Supreme Court and the Eleventh Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeal. However, Judge Graham has defied both of these courts as it refused to give Mason any notice, see this site’s post “Florida Judge Thumbs His Nose at U.S. Supreme Court Rulings on Due Process And Attorneys’ Fees” and “Florida Judge Thumbs His Nose at U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on Poor People’s Right to Access The Co…“. […]

  6. us congress michigan 11th district Says:

    […] a controlling legal issue, or with Supreme Court Justices writing for a majority of the Court. Binhttps://mcneilmason.wordpress.com/2008/04/14/florida-judge-thumbs-his-nose-at-us-supreme-court-ruling…Senator Jack Reed: A profile The Providence JournalDawn is yet to break when Senator Jack Reed […]

  7. Is U.S. Dist. Judge Donald L. Graham Willfully Defying The United States Supreme Court? « Unpublished Junk Law of the Eleventh Circuit, US Court of Appeals Says:

    […] by refusing to offer a legally sufficient reason for these denials. See this site, post “Florida Judge Thumbs His Nose at U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on Poor People’s Right to Access The C…“. In re McDonald, 489 U.S. 180, 184 n.8 (1989), this citation stands for the proposition of […]

  8. Debbie Richards Says:

    Florida is not the only state these injustices are happening. I am a pro se disabled indigent litigent in Wisconsin going through this very thing right now and having to do so in the State of Wisconsin Court of Appeals. And trying to do so on my own without counsel, one claim (all claims are meritorious in nature by the way) is a contempt charge which NEVER was heard in court whatsoever, and I am being refused counsel, which according to both the Wisconsin and United States Constitutions I have a right to, as well as my first amendment right to be heard. Not only am I indigent, but my indigency has been denied as well being forced to pay even in the court of appeals which is outrageous……….I feel for you, I pray things have gotten better for you and I pray that with the Civil Rights Act of 2008, the doors will open for us to take action for the serious civil rights violations that have and are continuing to happen against us.

    Debbie in Wisconsin

  9. Curt Says:

    Yea the court system is a joke, I sought to obtain a public record that was the charging evidence in a 2001 arrest for allegedly transmitting harmful material via chat room to a cop playing like a teen after the state failed to honor my plea agreement for entering a guilty plea to a crime that was not a sexual offence at the time (even if it did happened), after my time had expired to timely file to withdraw my plea the state made me register as a s/o, there was no chain of custody of said evidence in 7 volumes of appellate record, the Florida Supreme court thumbed there nose at my attempt to enforce Florida’s public record compliance laws against the local sheriff, yea maybe some things will change in the federal court system I hope, nobody can afford a civil rights attorney to litigate a case in fed. Court, in Florida your lucky to be able to file a simplified divorce without the Fl. Bar filing charges for unlicensed practice of law.

  10. Dee Says:

    Good Afternoon:

    I was googling “ACLU and Vexatious Litigant”, and that’s how I wandered into your website. I don’t know very much about your website at all. Please let me know if you have any interest in the “Vexatious Litigant” abuse of citizens’ Due Process rights. I am an Injured Worker. In my State, the local Court has already been named one of the “Five Judicial Hellholes in the USA”. I have been fighting the workers’ comp Insurer for years, and 3 of the 5 cases that I took to the state Supreme Court resulted in REVERSALS (in full or in part) of lower court decisions. I have so far litigated approximately 18 benefit penalties and administrative fines against the insurer for bad-faith insurer misconduct. To stop me from being able to continue holding the insurer accountable for ongoing bad-faith acts, the insurer petitioned a corrupt judge to DECLARE that I am a Vexatious litigant. Since then, I have to receive permission from the Chief Judge of the Court to file any Petitions for Judicial Review of the workers’ comp court administrative law judge decisions. Many of the decisions coming out of the workers’ comp administrative law judge court in my case are in my favor but are flawed in some major way and need to be Appealed. Since they are in my favor, the insurer appeals each administrative law judge decision, but when I try to also appeal the decision, the Chief Judge ignores my request for Leave to File my own appeal. This means the insurer controls the appeal and can withdraw the matter and then there is [presumably] no more ability to appeal the administrative law judge decision. In one situation, the administrative law judge erred by separating the benefit penalty from the administrative fine and ordering a benefit penalty but surgically removing the fine. All parties appealed (except me, because the Chief judge has not responded to my request for leave to file an appeal) and now two of the parties are requesting that I sign a stipulation dismissing their appeal. Whether I sign a stip or not, I presume the parties can now exit the case and then there will be no pending appeal of the administrative law judge decision, and the insurer will get away without having to pay a fine. Also the insurer is claiming that there is no such thing as a benefit penalty without an administrative fine, and that therefore the administrative law judge decision is fatally flawed (which to me is a signal that when the case is dismissed, which will mean that the administrative law judge decision is now the law of the case, the benefit penalty will not be paid, on the theory that a penalty without a fine is no penalty at all (that is, cannot exist and therefore will not be paid).
    Look, my point is, this vexatious litigant thing is a way for the court to keep me from filing meritorious cases, which means the insurer is free to break the law with impunity. The Chief Judge has never refused to grant me leave to file a case, the Chief Judge simply ignores my requests for leave to file. Any comments you with to make or comments from others which you notify me of, will be appreciated.

    • Jane Says:

      where I live the problems are great with the court system.

      to see my case and lots of the facts type in David Arthur Walters and Edna Jane with Fraud on the court!
      David is an investigative Reporter and a very good one.

      unlawful things are going on here. and most citizens do not know about all the fraud on the court.

      the people in charge are able to deny we have a Constitution…… yep
      thats what I said…..

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