Posts Tagged ‘indigent’

In Forma Pauperis Statute Abused To Conceal Acts Of Judicial Misconduct Committed By U.S. Dist. Judge Donald L. Graham

October 19, 2008

Justice Turned On Its Head

Justice Turned On Its Head

Judge Donald L. GrahamJudge Donald L. Graham, “Teflon Don”, A Bad Mother&&#!@, Shut Your Mouth!!

Purpose Of In Forma Pauperis Statutes

The federal in forma pauperis statute, enacted in 1892 and presently codified as 28 U.S.C. § 1915, is designed to ensure that indigent litigants have meaningful access to the federal courts.  (internal citations omitted). Toward this end, § 1915(a) allows a litigant to commence a civil or criminal action in federal court in forma pauperis by filing in good faith an affidavit stating, inter alia, that he is unable to pay the costs of the lawsuit. Congress recognized, however, that a litigant whose filing fees and court costs are assumed by the public, unlike a paying litigant, lacks an economic incentive to refrain from filing frivolous, malicious, or repetitive lawsuits.”  Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U. S. 319, 324 (1989).  U.S. Dist. Judge Donald L. Graham, the subject of this post, has a long and documented history or pattern and practice of arbitrary denials of in forma pauperis motions.  See http://mmason.freeshell.org/ifp.html.  A complaint of judicial misconduct was filed against Judge Graham for abitrarily denying ifp motions on 18 different occasions without offering either of the legal reasons allowed for denying in forma pauperis status. See Neitzke, at 490 U.S. 324(“§ 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.“) However, Chief Judge J.L. Edmondson, who is charged with with “investigating” allegations of misconduct does not agree that a pattern and practice of intentionally disregarding the law is judicial misconduct.  In Judicial Misconduct Complaint No. 05-0020, Judge Edmondson stated:

In this complaint Mr. Mason, although worded differently that his previous complaints, re-makes the allegation that Judge Graham denied him access to the courts by summarily denying a string of motions for in forma pauper status and that Judge Graham did not identify either of the only two reasons allowed for such denial.

The allegations of this Complaint are “directly related to the merits of a decision or procedural ruling” and “successive”. Therefore, pursuant to Chapter 16 of Title 28 U.S.C. § 352(b)(I)(ii) and Addendum III Rules 4(b)(2) and 18(e), this Complaint is DISMISSED.

Judge Edmondson disagrees with his own Judicial Conference whose guidance he is obligated to follow who has clearly stated:

[A] judge’s pattern and practice of arbitrarily and deliberately disregarding prevailing legal standards and thereby causing expense and delay to litigants may be misconduct. However, the characterization of such behavior as misconduct is fraught with dangers to judicial independence. Therefore, a cognizable misconduct complaint based on allegations of a judge not following prevailing law or the directions of a court of appeals in particular cases must identify clear and convincing evidence of willfulness, that is, clear and convincing evidence of a judge’s arbitrary and intentional departure from prevailing law based on his or her disagreement with, or willful indifference to, that law.

The Administrative Office of the United States Courts, Judicial Conference, Committee on Judicial Conduct and Disability, See http://www.uscourts.gov/library/judicialmisconduct/jcdopinions108.pdf
.

Introduction

Judge Donald L. Graham, “Teflon Don”, and the Eleventh Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeal, abused the in forma pauperis to stop an appeal, Eleventh Circuit Case No. 01-13664, from going forward.  Eleventh Circuit Case No. 01-13664, an unpublished opinion, has been dubbed the “appeal from hell” for its lawlessness, dishonesty, and ingenuity in attempting to defeat an appeal.  This remarkable story, “Eleventh Circuit Case No. 01-13664: The Appeal From Hell“,  is fully documented at:
https://mcneilmason.wordpress.com/eleventh-circuit-case-no-01-13664-the-appeal-from-hell/
.  This particular post documents how U.S. Dist. Judge Donald L. Graham and the Eleventh Circuit abused the in forma pauperis statutes, 28 U.S.C. §1915, in order to deny appellate review of allegations of misconduct against Judge Graham.  These allegations included, but definitely are not limited to, the following:

  • Lying and intentionally misrepresenting law.
  • Refusing to rule on a motion for a preliminary injunction that had been pending for more than 17 months.
  • Allowing scores of motions and filings to languish without being decided.
  • Usurping legal authority. Allowing a Magistrate to issue an injunction prohibiting direct communication with the Highlands County Government.  Additionally, prohibiting  Marcellus Mason from making public records request under Florida Law directly to Highlands County.
  • Violating clearly established law and the authority of the U.S. Supreme Court by issuing pre-filing injunctions without notice and opportunity to be heard.
  • Abuse of the criminal contempt procedure.  Judge Graham took a clearly invalid sua sponte issued pre-filing injunction and made it the basis of a criminal contempt complaint and conviction.
  • Lying and intentionally misrepresenting material facts.
  • Ignoring the U.S. Supreme Court denying access to the courts by refusing to state any reason for denying IFP applications.
  • Awarding attorneys’ fees against an indigent plaintiff in total
    disregard of the law and the United States Supreme Court.

This post is part of an overall pattern and practice of using extreme measures and lawlessness to conceal the misconduct of Judge Graham.  See Documented Allegations of Misconduct.  Incidentally, while not relevant to the discussion of this post, the Eleventh Circuit’s Chief Judge, J.L. Edmondson, has fought tooth and nail to keep from addressing a documented pattern and practice of disregarding well established law by Judge Graham.  See mmason.freeshell.org/372c or mmason.freeshell.org/edmondson/edmondson.  Judge Graham’s misconduct and Judge’s Edmondson’s defense of Judge Graham’s misconduct are fully documented in the following judicial misconduct complaints:

No. 01-0054No. 01-0054-Judicial Council; No. 01-0068; No. 01-68-Judicial Council; INTERVENING MANDAMUS; No. 02-0006; No. 02-0006 -Judicial Council; No. 02-0029; No. 02-0034; No. 02-0052; No. 02-0059; COMPLAINTS FILED IN 2005; No. 05-0008; No. 05-0011; No. 05-0012; No. 05-0013; No. 05-0020; No. 05-0021.

The following complaints of judicial misconduct are currently pending against Judge Graham:

Complaint Status

Judicial Conference
pending

Reconsideration
pending

June 25, 2008
pending

July 9, 2008
pending

July 15, 2008
pending

Material Facts

On February 22, 1999, Judge Edward B. Davis allowed Marcellus Mason to file a lawsuit without paying the filing fees, or in forma pauperis, “IFP”, due to indigency.  See Order, (D.E. #3)(“Having examined the Plaintiff’s Motion and Financial Affidavit, the Court finds that the Plaintiff has demonstrated his inability to pay fees or give security in this matter, as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). The Court also finds that Plaintiff appears to have brought this action in good faith.;”).  Judge Davis retired and the case was assigned to Judge Donald L. Graham.  The case was ultimately dismissed on June 20, 2001.

The case was dismissed on June 20, 2001. (D.E. 791).

A Notice of Appeal was filed on June 25, 2001. (D.E. 795)

The case was assigned Case No. 01-13664 by the Eleventh Circuit.

A motion to proceed on appeal in forma pauperis was filed on July 13, 2001. (D.E. #799).  A second motion to proceed in forma pauperis was filed on August 10, 2001.  (D.E. #811).

On September 20, 2001, Judge Graham’s Magistrate, Frank Lynch, Jr. denied both pending motions [(D.E. #799), (D.E. #811)] to proceed in forma pauperis(D.E. #877).   This order states:

THIS CAUSE having come on to be heard upon an Order of Reference from the Honorable Donald L. Graham, dated September 10, 2001, and this Court having reviewed the aforementioned Motions and the pertinent portions of the record, and noting that in other actions filed by Plaintiff, Judge Graham has denied Plaintiff’ s motions to proceed in forma pauperis (Case Nos. 00-14116, 00-14201 , 00-14202, 00-14240), and further noting that this Court has compared Plaintiff’s previously filed IFP motions and accompanying affidavits with the instant motion and affidavit and has found no relevant difference, and being otherwise advised in the premises , it is hereby ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that Plaintiff’s Motions to Proceed in Forma Pauperis are DENIED .

See (D.E. #877).

On December 12, 2001, the Eleventh Circuit denied an in forma pauperis motion by simply asserting:

Appellant’s motion for leave to proceed on appeal in forma pauperis is DENIED because appellant has not truthfully provided this Court with information concerning his ability to pay the filing and docketing fees.  See Moreland v. Wharton, 899 F.2d 1168, 1170 (11th Cir. 1990) (holding that right to proceed IFP is not absolute, but rather is left to the sound discretion of the court.

See Case No. 01-13664 IFP Order, pg. 1.

Imagine how you would feel if someone accused you of something and refused to provide facts to support their allegation! This is anti-American.  Upon receiving the order denying IFP, the appellant, Mason filed a motion for clarification begging the Eleventh Circuit for the factual basis for its assertion that “appellant has not truthfully provided this Court with information concerning his ability to pay the filing and docketing fees.”  However, the Eleventh Circuit refused to provide facts to support its conclusion and simply stated:

Appellant has filed a “motion for reconsideration and clarification,” which is construed as a motion for reconsideration of this Court’s order dated December 12, 2001, denying leave to proceed on appeal in forma pauperis. Upon reconsideration, appellant’s motion for leave to proceed on appeal in forma pauperis is DENIED.

See Case No. 01-13664 IFP Order, pg. 2.

Prior Approval

As stated above, Mason was allowed initially allowed to proceed in forma pauperis by Judge Edward Davis.  See Order, (D.E. #3).  It is well established that once a party has been allowed to proceeded in forma pauperis in the district court, the party is allowed to proceed on appeal in forma pauperis automatically unless the district judge finds that the party is proceeding in bad faith.   In Starks v. State Of Florida, 2007 U.S. App. LEXIS 26270 (11th Cir. 2007), the Eleventh Circuit, Judges J.L. Edmondson, R. Lanier Anderson, and Rosemary Barkett, presiding, granted in forma pauperis on appeal where the district court found that the underlying complaint or lawsuit was frivolous.   Fed.R.App.P. Rule 24(a) states:

Rule 24. Proceeding in Forma Pauperis

(a) Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis.

(3) Prior Approval. A party who was permitted to proceed in forma pauperis in the district-court action, or who was determined to be financially unable to obtain an adequate defense in a criminal case, may proceed on appeal in forma pauperis without further authorization, unless the district court–before or after the notice of appeal is filed–certifies that the appeal is not taken in good faith or finds that the party is not otherwise entitled to proceed in forma pauperis. In that event, the district court must state in writing its reasons for the certification or finding.

The Notes to Fed.R.App.P. Rule 24(a) state:

NOTES OF ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON RULES–1967:

“The second paragraph permits one whose indigency has been previously determined by the district court to proceed on appeal in forma pauperis without the necessity of a redetermination of indigency, while reserving to the district court its statutory authority to certify that the appeal is not taken in good faith, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a), and permitting an inquiry into whether the circumstances of the party who was originally entitled to proceed in forma pauperis have changed during the course of the litigation. Cf. Sixth Circuit
Rule 26.”   

A string of appellate courts have parroted the provisions of Rule 24 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure.

  • “Rule 24 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, which governs our own in forma pauperis practice, permits any litigant who has been allowed to proceed in an action in the District Court in forma pauperis to proceed on appeal in forma pauperis without further authorization, unless the District Court certifies that the ‘appeal is not taken in good faith or shall find that the party is otherwise not entitled so to proceed” McKelton v. Bruno , 428 F.2d 718; 138 U.S.App.D.C. 366 ¶4(D.C. Cir. 1970).
  • “”If a litigant is granted i.f.p. status in a district court, and if that status is not revoked in the district court, the litigant, upon filing a notice of appeal, continues on appeal in i.f.p. status. Fed.R.App.P. 24(a)”  Leonard v. Lacy, 88 F.3d 181n.2(2nd Cir. 1996).
  • “Normally, when a litigant is granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis by the district court, this status carries over in the Court of Appeals.  Fed.R.App.P. 24(a). However, if the district court dismisses the case as frivolous under 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1915(d), the litigant must reapply to this Court to proceed in forma pauperis on appeal, since a finding of frivolousness is viewed as a certification that the appeal is not taken in good faith. 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1915(a); Fed.R.App.P. 24(a). Dismissal of a complaint by the district court under Rule 12(b)(6) or any other rule does not negate the in forma pauperis status. Because the district court dismissed the complaint using the language of Rule 12(b)(6), and not as frivolous under 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1915(d), there was no need to again grant Oatess leave to proceed in forma pauperis.” Oatess v. Sobolevitch, 914 F.2d 428 n.4(3rd Cir. 1990).
  • “[W]e are mindful of the provisions of Fed.R.App.P. 24(a) concerning appeals in forma pauperis. This rule provides that a party who has been permitted to proceed in the district court in forma pauperis ‘may proceed on appeal in forma pauperis without further authorization unless, * * * the district court shall certify that the appeal is not taken in good faith or shall find that the party is otherwise not entitled so to proceed, in which event the district court shall state in writing the reasons for such certification or finding.'”  Liles v. The South Carolina Department Of Corrections, 414 F.2d 61214(4th Cir. 1969).  “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 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).  Additionally, an appeal is properly denied as lacking the requisite good faith where there is a clear indication that the conduct of an indigent appellant amounts to a deliberate harassment of the courts or an intentional abuse of the judicial process” id. n.1.
  • “(1) a district court may certify that an IFP appeal is not taken in good faith under section 1915(a)(3) and Rule 24(a); (2) if the trial court does so, it is required under Rule 24(a) to set forth in writing the reasons for its certification;”  Baugh v. Taylor, 117 F.3d 197 ¶23(5th Cir. 1997).
  • “Under Fed.R.App.P. 24, a party granted ifp status in the district court retains that status on appeal unless the district court certifies that the appeal is not taken in good faith, in which case the district court must state in writing the reasons for the certification.”  Williams v. Shettle,  914 F.2d 260, ¶4(7th Cir. 1990).
  • “Thus, it is clear that a party may appeal in forma pauperis without making application for a certificate when he has already been permitted by the district court to proceed in forma pauperis. The only time a party is prevented from taking an appeal is when the trial court, before or after the notice of appeal is filed, certifies in writing that the appeal is not taken in good faith. When this occurs the petitioner may still seek a certificate from this court or the Supreme Court.” 
    Peterson v. UNITED STATES of America, 467 F.2d 892 (8th Cir. 1972)
    .
  • “”Petitioner renews his motion to proceed in forma pauperis in this court. This motion is moot, however, because Petitioner is already entitled to proceed in forma pauperis: Petitioner proceeded in forma pauperis in the district court, and the district court never certified that the appeal was not taken in good faith or found that the Petitioner was otherwise not entitled to proceed in forma pauperis. See Fed. R. App. P. 24(a)(3); Singleton v. Hargett 1999 WL 606712 at *1 n.2 (10th Cir. 1999) (unpublished opinion) (dismissing as moot petitioner’s motion to proceed in forma pauperis in the court of appeals).  “Because he was permitted to proceed in forma pauperis in the district court, and because there has been no change to that designation, Petitioner retains his in forma pauperis status on appeal pursuant to Fed. R. App. P. 24(a)(3).” Id. See also Celske v. Edwards, 165 F.3d 396, 398 (7th Cir. 1998) (holding that the petitioner retained his leave to proceed in forma pauperis in the court of appeals because the district court had made no certification of bad faith).  Rhodes v. True, No. 99-3026 (10th Cir. 1999).

There is no finding by Judge Graham that the appeal was taken in bad faith, consequently the law was disregarded.  Judge Graham’s order denying in forma pauperis states the following:

THIS CAUSE having come on to be heard upon an Order of Reference from the Honorable Donald L. Graham, dated September 10, 2001, and this Court having reviewed the aforementioned Motions and the pertinent portions of the record, and noting that in other actions filed by Plaintiff, Judge Graham has denied Plaintiff’ s motions to proceed in forma pauperis (Case Nos . 00-14116, 00-14201 , 00-14202, 00-14240), and further noting that this Court has compared Plaintiff’s previously filed IFP motions and accompanying affidavits with the instant motion and affidavit and has found no relevant difference, and being otherwise advised in the premises , it is hereby ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that Plaintiff’s Motions to Proceed in Forma Pauperis are DENIED.

See (D.E. #877).

The Eleventh Circuit, without offering a scintilla of proof, simply asserts:

Appellant’s motion for leave to proceed on appeal in forma pauperis is DENIED because appellant has not truthfully provided this Court with information concerning his ability to pay the filing and docketing fees.  See Moreland v. Wharton, 899 F.2d 1168, 1170 (11th Cir. 1990) (holding that right to proceed IFP is not absolute, but rather is left to the sound discretion of the court.

See Case No. 01-13664 IFP Order, pg. 1. Notions of fundamental fairness without recitation to the law would require the Eleventh Circuit to support its conclusion that the “appellant has not truthfully provided this Court with information concerning his ability to pay the filing and docketing fees“.  Consequently, Mason filed a motion for rehearing demanding to know the factual basis for the Eleventh Circuit’s conclusion that Mason had been untruthful.  The Eleventh Circuit absolutely refused to provide a factual basis to support its conclusion.

Appellant has filed a “motion for reconsideration and clarification,” which is construed as a motion for reconsideration of this Court’s order dated December 12, 2001, denying leave to proceed on appeal in forma pauperis. Upon reconsideration, appellant’s motion for leave to proceed on appeal in forma pauperis is DENIED.

See  Case No. 01-13664 IFP Order, pg. 2.

Disregarding Good Faith Requirement

Judge Donald L. Graham and the Eleventh Circuit both ignored the good faith requirement as their denials do not assert that the appeal was not taken in good faith much less provide any proof that the appeal was not taken in good faith.

A petitioner demonstrates good faith when he seeks appellate review of any issue that is not frivolous.  See Coppedge v. United States, 369 U.S. 438, 445 (1962).  “Dismissal of an in forma pauperis complaint is appropriate when the claim is based on ‘indisputably meritless legal theory or factual allegations are clearly baseless.'”  Heghmann v. Indorf, 2005 Bankr. LEXIS 767,*;324 B.R. 415; (1st Cir. 2005). “[I]f a judge is convinced, as the judge was here, that there is no substantial question for review and an appeal is frivolous and therefore futile, it is his duty to certify that the appeal sought to be taken in forma pauperis is not taken in good faith.” Parsell v. UNITED STATES of America, 218 F.2d 232 ¶25(5th Cir. 1955).  In Johnson v.Dencek, 868 F.2d 969 (7th Cir. 1989), the court remanded the case for a determination that the appeal was not taken in good faith where the district failed to make the determination.  In Johnson, the court ultimately allowed the plaintiff to appeal in forma pauperis notwithstanding the district findings of frivolousness that was predicated upon the plaintiff’s attorney conclusion that the lawsuit lacked merit.

Lack of Respect For the Supreme Court

Both Judge Graham and the Eleventh Circuit have disregarded the Supreme Court by making denials of in forma pauperis without providing any factual support for their decisions. This type of behavior is commonly referred to as a summary denial.  The U.S. Supreme Court has condemned summary denials of in forma pauperis.  The Supreme Court has stated that a court cannot deny in forma pauperis by simply making conclusory statements without stating supporting facts.  In Cruz v. Hauck, 404 U.S. 59, 61 (1971), the Supreme Court opined:

The benefits of this generous provision [in forma pauperis], now codified at 28 U.S.C. § 1915, have been limited, however, by the important proviso added in 1910 (36 Stat. 866) which, as now amended, reads: “An appeal may not be taken in forma pauperis if the trial court certifies in writing that it is not taken in good faith.” “Good faith” has been defined as a requirement that an appeal present a nonfrivolous question for review. If the district court certifies that an appeal would not present such a question, then an indigent may ask the court of appeals for permission to proceed in forma pauperis. That court must grant the renewed motion if after a de novo determination it disagrees with the district court’s application of the good faith test. If both lower courts refuse permission, then, unless this Court vacates the court of appeals’ finding, the pauper’s appeal is ended without a hearing on the merits. See Fed.Rule App.Proc. 24(a). It is important that, in all of these proceedings, the only cognizable issue is whether a summary survey (as opposed to plenary deliberation) suggests that a substantial argument could be presented…Our holdings have steadily chipped away at the proposition that appeals of the poor can be disposed of solely on summary and abbreviated inquiries into frivolity, rather than upon the plenary consideration granted paying appellants.

U.S. Dist. Judge William P. Dimitrouleas Reversed While Colleague Judge Donald L. Graham Affirmed by Killing The Appeal

May 1, 2008

Justice Turned On Its Head

Justice Turned On Its Head

Judge Donald L. GrahamJudge Donald L. Graham, “Teflon Don”

It is hard not to conclude that Judge Donald L. Graham is more valued than his colleagues at the Southern District of Florida when Judge Graham “teflon don” is affirmed on appeal while his colleagues at the S.D. Fla. are reversed. This is the third of three posting on this site where this has happened. Judge Daniel T. K. Hurley met a similar fate. See posting this site, “Eleventh Circuit Uses Same Set of Facts To Reverse One Florida Judge While Affirming Another Florida Judge“, ““Teflon Don” Avoids Reversal While Colleague Judge Ursula Ungaro-Benages Suffers Reversal“, and “Judge Graham Disagrees With The Fifth Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals”. In each case the Eleventh Circuit chose to deploy an unpublished opinion to affirm and protect Judge Graham while his colleagues suffered reversals in published opinions. It is difficult to see how such a system advances the notion of equal justice. It would seem that justice is a function not of the “rule of law”, but of whether or not the judge is favored by the appellate courts.

U.S. Dist. Judge William P. Dimitrouleas was reversed on appeal by the Eleventh Circuit for Imposition of Sanctions beyond the litigant’s ability to pay. During the same time period, Judge Dimitrouleas’ colleague, U.S. Dist. Judge Donald L. Graham, “Teflon Don”, awarded $200,000 in attorneys’ fees against an indigent who was proceeding in forma pauperis but was nevertheless affirmed on appeal by the Eleventh Circuit. Judge Graham was affirmed by what can only be described as a very pernicious act in that the Eleventh Circuit affirmed Judge Graham by denying the indigent litigant the right to an appeal the mammoth award of $200,000 in forma pauperis. Moreover, the Eleventh Circuit had to take the following extreme measures to keep from reversing “Teflon Don” in the underlying merits appeal, Case No. 01-13664:

  • The Eleventh Circuit, though admittedly briefed, failed to review for validity the very orders that were used by Judge Graham to justify dismissal of the case under Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b). See Documents Nos. 201 and 246. The Eleventh Circuit was quite willing to discuss violations of these orders, but not their validity. See Post, “Eleventh Circuit Repeatedly Refuses To Review Orders For Validity
  • The Eleventh Circuit, though admittedly briefed, failed to review the issue as to whether or not Judge Graham should have disqualified or not. See post,”Are Allegations of Misconduct Reviewable on Appeal?
  • The Eleventh Circuit struck Mason the Appellant/Plaintiff’s brief for arguing an order that it deemed beyond the scope of appeal and then turned around used the very same order to affirm Judge Graham. “Putrid Dishonesty:Beyond the Scope of Appeal”

    The On Law Imposing Sanctions Beyond Litigant’s Ability to Pay

    Attorneys fees awards may not bankrupt a party. “A court should refrain from imposing a monetary award so great that it will bankrupt the offending parties or force them from the future practice of law.Baker v. Alderman, 158 F.3d 516 (C.A.11 (Fla.), 1998).

    Sanction orders must not involve amounts that are so large that they seem to fly in the face of common sense, given the financial circumstances of the party being sanctioned. What cannot be done must not be ordered to be done. And, sanctions must never be hollow gestures; their bite must be real. For the bite to be real, it has to be a sum that the person might actually pay. A sanction which a party clearly cannot pay does not vindicate the court’s authority because it neither punishes nor deters. MARTIN v. AUTOMOBILI LAMBORGHINI EXCLUSIVE, INC., 307 F.3d 1332 (11th Cir. 2002).

    Judge Dimitrouleas

    In Martin v. AUTOMOBILI LAMBORGHINI EXCLUSIVE, INC., Judge Dimitrouleas had his decision to award sanctions against litigants vacated because it was beyond the litigants ability to pay. The court advised that “when exercising its discretion to sanction under its inherent power, a court must take into consideration the financial circumstances of the party being sanctioned.

    Judge Graham Affirmed For An Even More Egregious Violation

    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 Courts“.

    Eleventh Circuit Sticks In The Knife

    Making this massive award even more pernicious, Judge Charles R. Wilson, Eleventh Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeal ruled that it was “frivolous”, without stating why, to appeal this massive award. See this site, post entitled “Judge Wilson Rules Appeal Of Award $200,000 Fees Frivolous“. On October 17, 2002, while denying a motion for clarification, the Eleventh Circuit, for the second time, asserted that it was frivolous to file an appeal of a $200,000 award in attorney’s fees. See Order dtd Oct. 17, 2002. The bottom line is that Mason never got a chance to fight of this judgment.

Judge Graham Disdains Law, Denies Prevailing Indigent $92.60 In Costs Yet Awards $200,000 In Attorneys’ Fees Against Same Indigent!

April 30, 2008

Justice Turned On Its Head

Justice Turned On Its Head

Judge Donald L. GrahamJudge Donald L. Graham, The “Teflon Don

Point of This Post

This post will demonstrate yet another instance of where U.S. Dist. Judge Donald L. Graham, “Teflon Don” has demonstrated a reckless and blatant disregard for well established law and binding precedent with apparent impunity. Specifically, Judge Graham was required by law to either award costs of $94.62 to Mason , the prevailing defendant in a lawsuit, Case No. 00-14240, or state a legally sufficient reason for not awarding costs. Judge Graham defiantly chose neither and simply denied the costs without stating a reason. Even more egregious and mean-spirited, Judge Graham later awarded 200,000 in attorneys’ fees against the same indigent, Marcellus Mason, in complete disregard for the law. Teflon Don has an amazing pattern and practice of disregarding the edicts of appellate courts. See this site posts, “Florida Judge Thumbs His Nose at U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on Poor People’s Right to Access The Courts” and “Florida Judge Thumbs His Nose at U.S. Supreme Court Rulings on Due Process And Attorneys’ Fees“. Judge Graham, without a doubt, is in fact the “Teflon Don“. Lastly, such conduct as described here and elsewhere has been deemed not to be judicial misconduct by Chief Judge J. L. Edmondson, United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit.

Pertinent Case Background

On Aug 7, 2000, Highlands County Board of County Commissioners and Heartland Library Cooperative filed a lawsuit against Marcellus Mason seeking injunctive relief or “equitable action to permanently enjoin the Defendant from filing or maintaining any civil action against any of the named Plaintiffs without the representation of any attorney authorized to practice before this Court.” See Report and Recommendation, “R&R”, (D.E. 27). On January 16, 2001, the Magistrate, Frank Lynch Jr., issued his R&R which recommended that the Plaintiff’s lawsuit be dismissed and stated:

While there are other pending cases between these parties, there is nothing near the extent of the litigation which this Court and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals usually look to for justifying injunctive relief.

See R&R, pg. 3. Judge Graham accepted this R&R in its entirety and dismissed the case on February 13, 2001. See Docket Entry No. 33. The Plaintiffs, Highlands County Board of County Commissioners, in this matter took nothing from this lawsuit for it failed in its only claim for injunctive relief.

The Law On Awarding Costs

According to the Eleventh Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals, whom Teflon Don is legally bound to follow:

“Rule 54(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that “costs other than attorneys’ fees shall be allowed as of course to the prevailing party unless the court otherwise directs.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d). This Court has held that “where the trial court denies the prevailing party its costs, the court must give a reason for its denial of costs so that the appellate court may have some basis upon which to determine if the trial court acted within its discretionary power.” Gilchrist v. Bolger, 733 F.2d 1551, 1557 (11th Cir.1984) (citation omitted) (emphasis added). Thus, although the district court has discretion to deny a prevailing party costs, such discretion is not unfettered.” Head v. Medford, 62 F.3d 351 (11th Cir. 1995). In Head (citing Gilchrist v. Bolger, 733 F.2d 1551,1557) the court expressly stated that “the district court did not determine whether defendants were prevailing parties and gave no reason for denying defendants’ bill of costs. This was an abuse of the court’s discretion.” Similarly in GILCHRIST v. BOLGER, 733 F.2d 1551(11th Cir. 1984), the Eleventh Circuit has held:

“The rule in this circuit is that where the trial court denies the prevailing party its costs, the court must give a reason for its denial of costs so that the appellate court may have some basis upon which to determine if the trial court acted within its discretionary power(internal citations omitted)” “Baez v. United States Dept. of Justice, 684 F.2d 999, 1004 (D.C.Cir.1982) (en banc) (“Every circuit that has considered the question (ten out of twelve) has not only recognized the presumption [that prevailing parties will obtain costs], but has held that a court may neither deny nor reduce a prevailing party’s request for costs without first articulating some good reason for doing so.”).

The US Supreme Court on Costs

“Under Rule 54(d), the “prevailing party” automatically is entitled to costs “unless the court otherwise directs.” Indeed, the Rule contemplates that applications for costs will be presented in the first instance not to the court but to the clerk; a district judge need not take up the issue at all unless the losing party makes a timely motion for judicial review.”  BUCHANAN v. STANSHIPS, INC., 485 U.S. 265 (1988).

Goddamn It Because I Said So

Teflon Don shows that he doesn’t give a damn about legally binding precedent. On January 23, 2001, Mason filed a Defendant’s Motion For Taxation of Costs seeking to recover the costs of defending a lawsuit in Case No. 00-14240.

On February 13, 2001, Judge Graham denied the motion while stating only the following:

THIS CAUSE is before the Court upon Defendant’s Motion for Taxation of Costs (D.E. #30). THE COURT having considered the Motion, the perinent portions of the record and being otherwise fully advised, it is ORDERED AN ADJUDGED that Defendant’s Motion for Taxation of Costs is DENIED.

There is no question that Judge Graham knew the law with respect to the award of costs because in awarding $200,000 in attorney’s fees to Highlands County Judge Graham and his Magistrate cited Chapman v. Al Transport, 229 F.3d 1012 (11th Cir. 2000). See Docket No. 882, pg. 6(“This Court believes that it is a factor which the District Court may, but need not, consider in its award. Chapman v. Al Transport, 229 F.3d 1012 (11th Cir. 2000)”). In Chapman, the Eleventh Circuit, Judge Graham’s supervisors stated:

However, the district court’s discretion not to award the full amount of costs incurred by the prevailing party is not unfettered,(internal marks and citation omitted)”since denial of costs is in the nature of a penalty for some defection on [the prevailing party’s] part in the course of the litigation.” To defeat the presumption and deny full costs, a district court must have and state a sound basis for doing so.

See Docket Entry No. 35.

Appellate Review Was Not An Option

Mason did not file an appeal of this denial for two reasons:

  • Judge Graham denied a motion to proceed on appeal without paying the appeal docketing fee, or in forma pauperis, “IFP”. See Docket No. 43.
  • An appeal would have been futile. The Eleventh Circuit had already indicated its unwillingness to reverse Judge Graham on a previous appeal even where the law clearly favored Mason. Consequently, any appeal would have been futile as the Eleventh Circuit would have followed its usual pattern and deployed an “unpublished opinion” and affirmed Judge Graham. For proof of this very serious allegation, see this site, post entitled “Eleventh Circuit Uses Same Set of Facts To Reverse One Florida Judge While Affirming Another Florida Judge“.

Judge Graham Says No To An Appeal of $94.62 Costs Denial

Judge Graham denied Mason the opportunity for appellate review by denying Mason’s in forma pauperis motion for a reason not supported by the United States Supreme Court in “Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 27 (1992);” and “Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324 (1989)” which states that …1915(d) authorizes federal courts to dismiss a claim filed in forma pauperisif the allegation of poverty is untrue, or if satisfied that the action is frivolous or malicious.“ See See Docket No. 43.

Meanspirited And Vindictive

In addition to Judge Graham’s pattern and practice of disrespecting the rule of law and binding precedent, Teflon Don can be mean-spirited and vindictive as well. Judge Graham was quite adamant about not awarding Mason chicken change in court costs ($94.62) against these same heavily insured Defendants, Highlands County Board of County Commissioners, but had absolutely no problem awarding these people $200,000 in legal feels against Mason in Case No. 99-14027. The Defendants did not prevail on any issue as that lawsuit was dismissed because of alleged out of communications between Mason and Highlands County. For an incredible story, see Attorneys’ Fees Webpage for more information. 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.

Attorneys fees awards may not bankrupt a party. “A court should refrain from imposing a monetary award so great that it will bankrupt the offending parties or force them from the future practice of law.Baker v. Alderman, 158 F.3d 516 (C.A.11 (Fla.), 1998).

Sanction orders must not involve amounts that are so large that they seem to fly in the face of common sense, given the financial circumstances of the party being sanctioned. What cannot be done must not be ordered to be done. And, sanctions must never be hollow gestures; their bite must be real. For the bite to be real, it has to be a sum that the person might actually pay. A sanction which a party clearly cannot pay does not vindicate the court’s authority because it neither punishes nor deters. MARTIN v. AUTOMOBILI LAMBORGHINI EXCLUSIVE, INC., 307 F.3d 1332 (11th Cir. 2002).

Eleventh Circuit Sticks In The Knife

Making this massive award even more pernicious, Judge Charles R. Wilson, Eleventh Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeal ruled that it was “frivolous”, without stating why, to appeal this massive award. See this site, post entitled “Judge Wilson Rules Appeal Of Award $200,000 Fees Frivolous“. On October 17, 2002, while denying a motion for clarification, the Eleventh Circuit, for the second time, asserted that it was frivolous to file an appeal of a $200,000 award in attorney’s fees. See Order dtd Oct. 17, 2002.

Judicial Misconduct

A feature of this blog is describing conduct that Chief Judge J.L. Edmondson, Eleventh Circuit, and others, do not consider to be judicial misconduct under the Judicial Misconduct and Disability Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 351-364. This posting will demonstrate that federal judges can intentionally disregard well established law and binding precedent with near absolute impunity. Chief Judge J.L. Edmondson, and others, asserts that such acts, even if true, do not constitute judicial misconduct. Moreover, according Judge J.L. Edmondson interpretation of the law, even if Judge Graham were involved in a pattern and practice of total disregard for clearly establish law and binding precedent such behavior would still not rise to the level of judicial misconduct. See Complaint of Judicial Misconduct No. 05-0021. For More Support, Complaint Nos. 05-0008, 05-0012, 05-0013, 05-0020, 05-0021. Switching vernacular for the moment, according to Judge Edmondson there aint no judicial misconduct.

Judge Edmondson seems to disagree with his own Judicial Conference who has clearly stated that a pattern and practice intentionally disregarding clearly establish law could be misconduct.

[A] judge’s pattern and practice of arbitrarily and deliberately disregarding prevailing legal standards and thereby causing expense and delay to litigants may be misconduct. However, the characterization of such behavior as misconduct is fraught with dangers to judicial independence. Therefore, a cognizable misconduct complaint based on allegations of a judge not following prevailing law or the directions of a court of appeals in particular cases must identify clear and convincing evidence of willfulness, that is, clear and convincing evidence of a judge’s arbitrary and intentional departure from prevailing law based on his or her disagreement with, or willful indifference to, that law.

http://www.uscourts.gov/library/judicialmisconduct/jcdopinions108.pdf :Pg. 8.

Eleventh Circuit Uses Same Set of Facts To Reverse One Florida Judge While Affirming Another Florida Judge

April 18, 2008

Judge Donald L. GrahamJudge Donald L. Graham

Foreword

There’s an old Negro spiritual called “May the Work I’ve Done Speak for Me”. In this same spirit, this author allows the work of the Eleventh Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeal and Judge Graham’s cohorts to speak for them. Unlike, Judge Graham, the Eleventh Circuit and his enablers apparent zeal and affinity for dishonesty, mis-characterization, omission, their work will not be characterized or mis-characterized it will be produced in full and publicly available for the reading public to make their own assessments. The record fully supports the idea that the Eleventh Circuit and its Judges and staff attorneys will take extreme even lawless measures to protect Judge Graham. This post is part of an overall pattern and practice of using extreme measures and lawlessness to conceal the misconduct of Judge Graham. See Documented Allegations of Misconduct.

Point of This Post

U.S. District Judge Donald L. Graham [President George H.W. Bush 1992 nominee] was affirmed or upheld on appeal for the exact same set of facts that his colleague, Judge Daniel T. K. Hurley, at S.D. Fla.[President Bill Clinton 1993 nominee]  was reversed on appeal. In their individual cases, both Judge Graham and Judge Hurley denied in forma pauperis, “IFP”, motions or applications without stating a reason for the denials. Incidentally, Judge Graham has a history of arbitrary denials having done it 18 times to Mason without stating a reason. See Graham’s Arbitrary IFP Denials. The Eleventh Circuit used a published opinion to reverse Judge Hurley while it chose an unpublished opinion to affirm Judge Graham. Wonder How Judge Hurley feels? And yes he knows because the author made a telephone call to Judge Hurley’s chambers and sent both faxes, emails, and US mail to Judge Hurley’s chambers. Other colleagues have met a similar fate. See “Teflon Don” Avoids Reversal While Colleague Judge Ursula Ungaro-Benages Suffers Reversal, Eleventh Circuit Uses Unpublished Opinion and Omission(Deception) To Invoke Res Judicata . This author owes a Federal Public Defender an apology who advised him in a trumped up criminal contempt trial: “Those people don’t give a damn about the law-Judge Graham is their golden boy. Get your godamn toothbrush cause they are going to put your ass in jail.” See Framed Web Page. This was the best legal advice this author has ever had.

A US Circuit Judge On the Potential Dangers of Unpublished Opinions

“If, for example, a precedent is cited, and the other side then offers a distinction, and the judges on the panel cannot think of a good answer to the distinction, but nevertheless, for some extraneous reason, wish to reject it, they can easily do so through the device of an abbreviated, unpublished opinion, and no one will ever be the wiser. (I don’t say that judges are actually doing this–only that the temptation exists.) Or if, after hearing argument, a judge in conference thinks that a certain decision should be reached, but also believes that the decision is hard to justify under the law, he or she can achieve the result, assuming agreement by the other members of the panel, by deciding the case in an unpublished opinion and sweeping the difficulties under the rug. Again, I’m not saying that this has ever occurred in any particular case, but a system that encourages this sort of behavior, or is at least open to it, has to be subject to question in any world in which judges are human beings.” 1 J. App. Prac. & Process 219 (1999). UNPUBLISHED OPINIONS: A COMMENT, Richard S. Arnold, Copyright © 1999 University of Arkansas – Little Rock School of Law ; Richard S. Arnold

Definition of In Forma Pauperis

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/in+forma+pauperis

IN FORMA PAUPERIS. In the character or form of a pauper. In England, in some cases, when a poor person cannot afford to pay the costs of a suit as it proceeds, he is exempted from such payment, having obtained leave to sue in forma pauperis.

Consequences of the Eleventh Circuit’s Decision

  • Judge Graham won’t have a reversal in his record in the event of a Senate confirmation hearing while his colleagues will.
  • Judge Graham does not cite any facts or law to support his decision.
  • Judge Graham’s decision defies and overrules the United States Supreme Court and Congress with impunity.
  • Unpublished decisions are used to undermine the rule of law and to achieve the desired objective.

IFP

Marcellus Mason and Evelyn Martinez filled out the same form, or Affidavit, swearing to the following:

“in the above-entitled proceeding; that in support of my request to proceed without prepayment of fees or costs under 28 §USC. 1915 I declare that I am unable to pay the costs of these proceedings and that I am entitled to the relief sought in the complaint/petition/motion.”

See APPLICATION TO PROCEED WITHOUT PREPAYMENT OF FEES AND AFFIDAVIT, form AO 240 (Rev. 9/96) (Reverse), Docket No. 2, Mason and Docket Entry No. 1, Case No. 02-80933, Martinez .

U.S. Supreme Court On In Forma Pauperis

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).

Same Facts

Judge Daniel T. K. Hurley

On October 2, 2002, Judge Daniel T. K. Hurley, S.D. Fla., denied an in forma pauperis motion for the following reason:

THIS CAUSE is before the court upon plaintiff’s motion to proceed in forma pauperis. [DE# 1] Having considered the plaintiff’s motion and accompanying affidavit , it is hereby ORDERED AND ADJUDGED as follows:
1. The motion to proceed in forma pauperis is DENIED

See Case No. 02-80933, Docket Entry No. 3. On appeal the case was reported at: Martinez v. Kristi Kleaners, Inc., 364 F.3d 1305 (11th Cir., 2004).

Judge Donald L. Graham

On November 2, 2000, Judge Donald L. Graham, S.D. Fla., denied an in forma pauperis motion for the following reason:

THIS CAUSE came before the Court upon Plaintiff’s Motion to Proceed in forma Pauper’s (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.

See Docket Entry No. 9.

Eleventh Circuit Appeals Achieves Two Very Different Outcomes

Judge Hurley Reversed, Eleventh Cir. Case No. No. 02-16019.

Judge Stanley F. Birch, Jr. [President George H.W. Bush 1990 nominee], Judge Phyllis A. Kravitch [President Jimmy Carter 1979 nominee] , U.S. Dist. Judge Jerome Farris [President Jimmy Carter 1979 nominee]

In reversing Judge Hurley, the Eleventh Circuit held:

“The district court denied Martinez’s motion for leave to proceed IFP without explanation…Further, because the district court’s order contained no explanation as to why Martinez’s motion was denied, it is unclear whether the denial was based on her failure to satisfy the poverty requirement or because her complaint was frivolous. Therefore, we vacate the district court’s order and remand with instructions.” Martinez v. Kristi Kleaners, Inc., 364 F.3d 1305 (11th Cir. 2004). See Opinion at Findlaw, Resource.Org, .

Judge Graham Affirmed or Upheld

Judge Gerald Bard Tjoflat [Presidents Nixon and Ford 1970 and 1975 appointee US Dist Judge and US Circuit Judge], Judge Susan H. Black [President Jimmy Carter 1979 nominee Dist Judge, President George H. W. Bush 1992  appointee], Judge Ed Carnes [President George H. W. Bush 1992 nominee, avid death penalty proponent, staunch conservative]

In affirming Judge Graham [Bush 1992  appointee], the Eleventh Circuit held:

“Marcellus Mason appeals from the district court’s order denying his motion to proceed in forma pauperis. In his initial brief, Mason contends that because the trial court provided no explanation in denying his motion, the district court acted arbitrarily and its decision must be reversed. In his reply brief; Mason argues for the first time that he did not follow the district court’s order to pay the filing fee because he could not afford to pay the filing fee…Further, this Court does not address issues raised for the first time in a reply brief.Upon review of the pleadings, and upon consideration of the briefs of the parties, we find no reversible error.AFFIRMED.” See Eleventh Circuit’s Unpublished Opinion, Case No. 00-16512.

Mason begged the Eleventh Circuit to reconsider.

On October 31, Judge Ed Carnes denied a motion for hearing stating only:

“The petition(s) for rehearing filed by Appellant is DENIED.”

See Order Denying Rehearing.

The Appellant/Plaintff’s Briefs: Initial Brief, Reply Brief.
Appellee/Defendants Answer Brief, on brief Maria N. Sorolis, formerly of Allen,Norton & Blue, Tampa, Fla.

Other Disparities

The Eleventh Circuit has similarly affirmed Judge Graham on appeal while excoriating and reversing other Judges in the Southern District and at the Eleventh Circuit. See “Teflon Don” Avoids Reversal While Colleague Judge Ursula Ungaro-Benages Suffers Reversal, Eleventh Circuit Uses Unpublished Opinion and Omission(Deception) To Invoke Res Judicata , or Same Facts, Tale of Two Appeals.

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

April 14, 2008

Judge Donald L. Graham

Preface

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
malicious
.

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.

Judge Donald L. Graham and US Attorney R. Alexander Acosta Frame Innocent Man

March 26, 2008

FRAMING AN INNOCENT PERSON AND OTHER CRIMINALITY AND MISCONDUCT

One of the most serious allegations is that Judge Donald L. Graham framed a man with the help of the U.S. Attorney. This is a quick read less than five minutes. See

http://mmason.freeshell.org/framed.htm#quick
. This page documents how U.S. Judge Donald L. Graham used US Attorney R. Alexander Acosta, AUSA Theodore Cooperstein, and AUSA Robert Waters U.S. Judge Donald L. Graham to frame an innocent by concocting a criminal misdemeanor. This story is incredible in that these people took a clearly void sua sponte issued pre-filing injunction or vexatious litigant injunction and made it the basis of criminal contempt complaint. Even more incredible is that the Eleventh Circuit has absolutely refused to review this sua sponte issued pre-filing injunction on multiple occasions. See http://mmason.freeshell.org/framed.htm#appellate_review

The misconduct is really a two part story consisting of Judge Graham’s misconduct and his colleagues efforts to conceal it. One of the problems I have had is not documenting these allegations, but organizing them. I have a massive amount of information on a website. mmason.freeshell.org.

I have a page called Core Allegations of Misconduct at : http://mmason.freeshell.org/CoreAllegations.htm .
This page contains links that document the following:

  • Judge Graham lied and intentionally misrepresented the law.
  • Judge Graham and his Magistrate usurped legal authority by allowing a Magistrate to issue an injunction which is prohibited under 28 U.S.C. 636(b)(1)(a) and ordering Mason not to communicate with his government, Highlands County Board of County Communications.
  • Judge Graham refused to rule on a motion for a preliminary injunction by Marcellus Mason that had been pending for more than 17 months. As a matter of fact, the Eleventh Circuit refused to make Judge Graham ruled on the motion by denying mandamus even after the motion had been pending for about 15 months.
  • Judge Graham allowed scores of other important motions to simply linger without addressing them.
  • Judge Graham abused the criminal contempt procedure by taking a void sua sponte issued pre-filing injunction and making it the basis of a criminal contempt information.
  • Judge Graham used the criminal contempt process to force the withdrawal of a lawsuit.
  • Judge Graham awarded a massive $200,000 in attorney’s fees to Highlands County against an indigent plaintiff, Marcellus Mason, not on the quality of the underlying lawsuit, but based upon Judge Graham’s speculation about Mason’s motive.
  • Judge Graham has repeatedly improperly denied access to the courts by arbitrarily denying in forma pauperis, “IFP”, petitions. As a consequence, Judge Graham has necessarily arrogated his authority by denying appellate review of his lawless decisions.
  • Judge Graham falsely completed a Civil Justice Reform Act Report, “CJRA” in order to conceal the fact the fact that he had a motion for a preliminary injunction pending for more than 17 months.

ELEVENTH CIRCUIT, U.S. COURT OF APPEAL
The Eleventh Circuit has used every trick in the book to avoid scrutinizing the behavior of Judge Graham. It has been unwilling to test these allegations.
The Eleventh Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeal, has refused to test these allegations of misconduct for veracity, much less remedy them. This is really an incredible story of dishonesty. The methods employed by the Eleventh Circuit to circumvent legitimate appellate review are many and seem to be only limited by the Eleventh Circuit’s imagination. See mmason.freeshell.org/methods.htm.

Additionally, the Eleventh Circuit, primarily Chief Judge J.L. Edmondson, has mocked and contorted the Judicial Misconduct Act by refusing to investigate these allegations of misconduct against Judge Graham even though he knows full well that the appellate process has refused to address these allegations of misconduct. See Judicial Misconduct Home Page.