Thornton v. Goodrich et al
ORDER. ORDERED that Applicant's Motion for Waiver of PACER Research Fees 34 is denied without prejudice. Signed by Judge Philip A. Brimmer on 02/09/17. (jhawk, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO
Judge Philip A. Brimmer
Civil Action No. 15-cv-00432-PAB
BARRY GOODRICH, Warden, BCCF, and
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF COLORADO,
Before the Court is Applicant Richard Thornton’s Motion for Waiver of PACER
Research Fees [Docket No. 34; June 7, 2016]. The Court must construe Applicant’s
filings liberally because he is representing himself. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519,
520-21 (1972); Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991). However, the
Court should not be the pro se litigant’s advocate. Hall, 935 F.2d at 1110. For the
reasons stated below, the Court denies the motion.
In the motion, Applicant “asks this Court to waive the fees associated with the
research site PACER.gov.” [Docket No. 34 at 1]. He claims that during his transfer
from a Colorado correctional facility to an Arizona correctional facility, his legal file and
documents were lost. [Id.]. He further asserts that he has attempted to “replace those
files through the state court clerks offices, however the time that has elapsed has
proven to to [sic] be impossible, and the plaintiff has been directed to PACER.gov.”
[Id.]. He asks the Court for a “waiver of [PACER] fees” to “allow him to research those
lost transcripts, records and other files” so that he can litigate his habeas corpus claim
in this action. [Id. at 2]. Applicant does not identify any specific document he seeks to
obtain from PACER.
A court may allow indigent litigants to access PACER (Public Access to Court
Electronic Records) without charge. Specifically, Paragraph (9) of the Electronic Public
Access Fee Schedule (https://www.pacer.gov/documents/epa-feesched.pdf) issued by
the Judicial Conference of the United States provides that
Courts may exempt certain persons or classes of persons from payment
of the user access fee [, e.g.] indigents, [... if the person seeking the
exemption has] demonstrated that an exemption is necessary in order to
avoid unreasonable burdens and to promote public access to
Applicant does not satisfy this standard. In the motion, Applicant contends that
he needs “transcripts, records, and other files” to fully and fairly litigate his § 2254 claim
regarding an alleged Fourth Amendment violation in his state court proceedings.
Applicant’s broad request for access to PACER, however, does not explain which
documents on PACER are relevant to his claim in this action. Moreover, on December
21, 2016, Applicant filed a “Motion for Relief from Judgment Under Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure, Rule 60(B),” [Docket No. 37], which the Court construes as a Reply to
Respondents’ Answer to Order to Show Cause and Answer to Application Under 28
U.S.C. § 2254 [Docket No. 36; Sept. 2, 2016]. In the Reply, Applicant references, cites,
and attaches portions of the state court record, including transcripts from the
suppression hearing and trial. Finally, any attempt to reconstruct Applicant’s lost state
court records through PACER would be futile because PACER is “an electronic public
access service that allows users to obtain case and docket information online from
federal appellate, district, and bankruptcy courts.” See http://www.pacer.gov (emphasis
added). State court files are not available on PACER. Applicant, thus, has not
demonstrated that an exemption from payment of PACER fees is necessary to litigate
his claim in this action.
For the reasons stated herein, it is
ORDERED that Applicant’s Motion for Waiver of PACER Research Fees [Docket
No. 34; June 7, 2016] is denied without prejudice.
DATED February 9, 2017.
BY THE COURT:
s/Philip A. Brimmer
PHILIP A. BRIMMER
United States District Judge
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