USA v. Kendrick Fulton
UNPUBLISHED OPINION ORDER FILED. [11-10716 Affirmed in Part, Vacated in Part and Remanded.] Judge: JLD , Judge: EBC , Judge: PRO. Mandate pull date is 04/16/2012; denying motion to file supplemental briefs filed by Appellant Mr. Kendrick Jermaine Fulton [6999207-2]; granting motion to proceed IFP filed by Appellant Mr. Kendrick Jermaine Fulton [6907556-2] [11-10716]
Date Filed: 03/26/2012
IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
United States Court of Appeals
FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT
March 26, 2012
Lyle W. Cayce
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
KENDRICK JERMAINE FULTON, also known as Ken Fulton,
Appeal from the United States District Court
for the Northern District of Texas
USDC No. 5:02-CR-94-2
Before DENNIS, CLEMENT, and OWEN, Circuit Judges.
Kendrick Jermaine Fulton, federal prisoner # 30080-177, has moved for
leave to proceed in forma pauperis (IFP) in his appeal of an order of the district
court that (1) denied Fulton’s 18 U.S.C. § 3600 motion for DNA testing, and
(2) imposed a pre-filing injunction on account of Fulton’s repeated frivolous
filings. A movant seeking leave to proceed IFP on appeal must show that he is
unable to bear the costs of an appeal and that the appeal is taken in good faith.
Carson v. Polley, 689 F.2d 562, 586 (5th Cir. 1982). When a district court
Pursuant to 5TH CIR. R. 47.5, the court has determined that this opinion should not
be published and is not precedent except under the limited circumstances set forth in 5TH CIR.
Date Filed: 03/26/2012
certifies that an appeal is not taken in good faith under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3)
and Fed. R. App. P. 24(a)(3), the litigant may either pay the filing fee or
challenge the court’s certification decision. Baugh v. Taylor, 117 F.3d 197, 202
(5th Cir. 1997). Our inquiry into Fulton’s good faith “is limited to whether the
appeal involves ‘legal points arguable on their merits (and therefore not
frivolous).’” Howard v. King, 707 F.2d 215, 220 (5th Cir. 1983) (citation omitted).
If “the merits are so intertwined with the certification decision as to constitute
the same issue,” we may determine the merits as well as the appropriateness of
the IFP status. Baugh, 117 F.3d at 202.
The motion for DNA testing concerned a bag that allegedly contained
cocaine base; Fulton also sought discovery related to his motion. Fulton argues
that he satisfied the statutory prerequisites for DNA testing. He also contends
that the district court erred by denying his motion for DNA testing without
notifying the Government and giving it an opportunity to respond.
Under § 3600(a), the district court “shall order” DNA testing of specified
evidence if it determines that 10 listed prerequisites are met. Our review shows
that the prerequisites plainly were not satisfied in this matter: The identity of
the perpetrator was not at issue at trial, and the motion for DNA testing was not
made in a timely fashion. See § 3600(a)(7), (10). As Fulton suffered no prejudice
from the district court’s denial of the motion without notifying the Government,
any error under § 3600(b) was harmless. Because there was no reversible error
in the denial of the motion for DNA testing and discovery, the district court’s
judgment is in this regard affirmed.
Fulton contends that the district court erred by imposing restrictions on
his future filings without affording him an opportunity to be heard. He argues
that the restrictions should be vacated and the matter remanded for a hearing.
The authority of a court to enjoin future filings “flows not only from
various statutes and rules relating to sanctions, but the inherent power of the
court to protect its jurisdiction and judgments and to control its docket.”
Date Filed: 03/26/2012
Farguson v. MBank Houston, N.A., 808 F.2d 358, 360 (5th Cir. 1986) (footnote
The district court is permitted to act sua sponte in imposing
restrictions on future filings. Qureshi v. United States, 600 F.3d 523, 526 (5th
Cir. 2010). “[O]ur precedent governing the imposition of pre-filing injunctions
on vexatious litigants states unequivocally that notice and a hearing are
required if the district court sua sponte imposes a pre-filing injunction.” Id.
(internal quotation marks, citations, and brackets omitted).
Although the district court had previously warned Fulton, prior to the
filing of the motion for DNA testing, that a future frivolous filing would result
in sanctions, including a bar to future filings, it failed to provide an opportunity
for a hearing in this matter. Accordingly, and regardless of the merits of the prefiling injunction, as to which we express no opinion, we must vacate the
injunction and remand “for the limited purpose of determining the sanctions
question after proper notice and a hearing consistent with the law of this
Circuit.” Id. at 527.
In view of the foregoing, Fulton’s IFP motion is granted. His motion for
supplemental briefing is denied.
IFP GRANTED; MOTION FOR SUPPLEMENTAL BRIEFING DENIED;
DENIAL OF MOTION FOR DNA TESTING AFFIRMED; PRE-FILING
INJUNCTION VACATED AND REMANDED TO DETERMINE THE
SANCTIONS QUESTION AFTER PROPER NOTICE AND A HEARING.
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