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Filing Fee Lien Quashed in Florida Prisoner’s Gaintime Challenge

Florida’s First District Court of Appeals has, begrudgingly, reversed Leon County Circuit Court’s imposition of a filing fee lien in an action challenging the Florida Department of Corrections’ (FDOC) revocation of a prisoner’s gaintime.

Prisoner Howard McGee filed a Mandamus action challenging FDOC forfeiture of his gaintime after he violated his parole. The Circuit Court held FDOC had clear authority to make that revocation under § 944.28, Florida Statutes (2001), and the First District affirmed that holding.

The First District, however, reversed the Circuit Court’s imposition of a lien on McGee’s prison account to satisfy the filing fee. Under Schmidt v. Crusoe, 875 So.2d 361 (Fla. 2003), McGee’s action is considered a “collateral criminal proceeding” that is exempt from filing fee requirements and lien provisions of § 57.085, Florida Statutes (2001).

The Court found McGee’s action wholly frivolous and would warrant sanctions if it was a civil proceeding. The Court bemoaned the fact that it could not impose those sanctions. It also urged the Florida Supreme Court or legislature to take action to overturn the effect the holding in Schmidt has to allow prisoners to avoid filing fee requirements in acts that could conceivably reduce the prisoner’s time.

The Circuit Court’s order was affirmed, but the lien orders were quashed. See: McGee v. State of Florida, 935 So.2d 62 (Fla. 1st DCA 2006).

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Related legal case

McGee v. State of Florida