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In Forma Pauperis Status Does Not Waive Copying Fees When Requesting Records

Pro se Georgia State prisoner Embery McBride petitioned the Appellate Court to review a 1990 court ruling granting the Columbus, Georgia, police chief's (Chief) motion dismissing his action for the deliberate denial of documents. The court ruled that no statutory violations existed and affirmed judgment.

McBride requested documents concerning his criminal conviction. At the time the Chief denied his request because the documents were part of an ongoing action and exempt from disclosure by statute. After McBride filed suit the Chief decided that the documents, although not mandatorily discloseable, were no longer part of an ongoing action and offered them to McBride for a $2.50 copying fee. McBride requested from the court an order for compensatory damages totaling $15,000 and declaratory judgment arguing that he had been granted in forma pauperis status. The Chief motioned to dismiss claiming that McBride failed to state a claim, that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction, and that McBride was not entitled to any statutorily authorized compensatory or punitive damages.

The court granted the motion to dismiss and the Appellate Court affirmed, ruling that the Chief acted according to statutory provisions and that in forma pauperis status did not entitle the waiving of copying fees. See: McBride v. Whetherington, 199 Ga. App. 7, 403 S.E.2d 873 (1991).

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Related legal case

McBride v. Whetherington