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Texas Prisoner Granted Conditional Mandamus Relief

In a 2-1 split decision filed on November 26, 2008, a Texas appellate court granted in part a prisoner’s petition for writ of mandamus filed after a district Judge refused to file a lawsuit filed by the prisoner, Gordon Simmonds.

Citing Chapter 14 of the Civil Procedures and Remedies Code, the district judge justified his refusal by pointing out that Simmonds’ previous suit had been dismissed as frivolous and still had outstanding court costs and fees due. Chapter 14 guidelines state that he must pay these costs prior to being allowed to file in further suits.

Upon examination of the relevant sections of the Code in question, the Justices determined that in order for the costs and fees payment requirement to bar further filings, a “final order” must be issued in the case deemed ‘frivolous’, which had not happened in this instance since Simmonds was appealing the frivolousness of the previous suit.

Therefore, the appellate court determined that the district judge had abused his discretion in this case by refusing to file Simmonds’ subsequent lawsuit. Accordingly, Simmonds’ Petition for Writ of Mandamus was granted on the condition that he re-submit within 14 days of the filing of this decision. See: In re Simmonds, Ct. App. Tx.- 10th Dist., Waco, #l0-08-00l67-CV, 271 S.W. 3d 874; 2008 TX. App.

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Related legal case

In re Simmonds