Skip navigation
× You have 2 more free articles available this month. Subscribe today.

Texas Prisoner Allowed To Appeal IFP Despite Misfiling Affidavit

By Matt Clarke

On September 24, 2008, a Texas court of appeals issued an order allowing a Texas prisoner to proceed in forma pauperis despite having improperly filed his affidavit of indigence with the wrong court.

Junior Ray Brown, a Texas state prisoner, filed suit in state district court alleging that a rule promulgated by Boyd Unit head law librarian Deborah D. Robinson violated the Eighth Amendment. The rule requires prisoners attending the law library to only use the toilet at specific times on pain of having their session terminated. Brown alleged he takes medication that causes diarrhea and requiring him "to hold back nature" was cruel and unusual punishment. The district court dismissed the suit without serving the defendant for failure to comply with Chapter 14 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code. Brown appealed.

The Clerk's Record was nine pages long and cost $24.00. Brown filed an affidavit of inability to pay costs in the court of appeals. He should have filed it with the district court.
Previously in such cases, the court of appeals had abated the appeal and remanded the case to the district court to allow the clerk and court reporter and opportunity to contest the affidavit. In this case, the court of appeals held it would be a waste of time and resources as Brown's affidavit stated he had no money or other resources and only received about $50 per month in gifts from relatives. The court of appeals found that Brown was indigent and ordered the Clerk to write off all expenses. A dissent noted that amendments to the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure effective September 1, 2008, codified the previous procedure.

See: Brown v. Robinson, 262 S.W.3d 928 (Tex.App.-Waco 2008)

As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.

Subscribe today

Already a subscriber? Login

Related legal case

Brown v. Robinson