TBD | How-To Guide: Certificate of Indigence from Appellate Court (US)
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How-To: Get Free Access to Appellate Courts (Federal)

Background: You are appealling your case in a federal appellate court
Problem: You cannot afford the Court's costs/fees (eg. the $505 filing fee, etc.)
Solution: You move the Court to waive the legal fees in your case

I. Legal Citations

28 USC §1915 | Proceedings in Forma Pauperis
"(a)(1) Subject to subsection (b), any court of the United States may authorize the commencement, prosecution or defense of any suit, action or proceeding, civil or criminal, or appeal therein, without prepayment of fees or security therefor, by a person who submits an affidavit..." Rule 24(a)(1) Fed. R. App. P. | Proceedings in Forma Pauperis
"Motion in the District Court. Except as stated in Rule 24(a)(3), a party to a district-court action who desires to appeal in forma pauperis must file a motion in the district court." Rule 24-2 11th Cir. R. | Motion for Leave to Proceed on Appeal in Forma Pauperis
"A motion for leave to proceed on appeal in forma pauperis may be filed in the court of appeals within 30 days after service of notice of the action of the district court denying leave to proceed on appeal in forma pauperis."

II. Samples

# PDF Comments
1USNYWD. 2007 | Income = $40 | Expenses = $0 | Bank = $77 | Prisoner.

III. Forms

# PDF Comments
1Official Court Form. Interactive.

IV. Quick Commentary

  • Important Note: The federal appellate filing fee is non-refundable.
    • See Goins v. Decaro , 241 F.3d 260 (2nd Cir. 2001)"Moreover, fee-paying litigants have no opportunity to obtain a refund of their filing fees in the event that they withdraw their appeals..."
  • Critical Note: Your application for civil indigence is submitted under Penalty of Perjury!
  • Download as many sample documents as you'd like
  • Proofread your application as much as possible.
  • Save the final version as a PDF file.
  • File the document with your appellate court.

V. Additional Notes

  • Total Time needed ≈ 0-1 hours
  • Note on Indigence: If you're poor below you're poor above
    • Meaning: If the District Court allowed you to proceed in Forma Pauperis status then you do NOT have to ask the Appellate Court to treat you the same
    • Reason: The Appellate Court will automatically treat you as a poor person if the District Court already did.
    • Bottom Line: You won't have to file another Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis when you file your federal appeal
    • Source: Rule 24(a)(3) Fed. R. App. P.

VI. Additional resources

VII. Bibliography

VIII. Conclusion

If you cannot afford the standard legal fees of your federal appeal, the Court may provide you a Certificate of Civil Indigence. Thereby eliminating your need to prepay.

Congratulations! You're now booked up on how to get a federal court of appeals to waive the legal fees in your appellate case.

Please get the justice you deserve.


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