Maethis v. Stapleton et al
MEMORANDUM Order issued ordering the trust fund officer at Will County Jail to send forthwith the requested information to the Clerk's Office (indicating the case name and number of this action). Signed by the Honorable Milton I. Shadur on 10/17/2016:Mailed notice(clw, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
CARLUIS D. MAETHIS,
OFFICER ADAM STAPLETON #283, et al.,
Case No. 16 C 9500
28 U.S.C. § 1915 ("Section 1915"), the federal statute dealing with proceedings in forma
pauperis ("IFP"), treats with situations in which a prospective plaintiff asks to be excused from
the obligation to pay the filing fee because of not having enough money to do so when suit is
filed. Congress has established a special rule for plaintiffs in that category who are prisoners
(whether in custody under state law or federal law), under which the prisoner plaintiff may
proceed with his or her lawsuit without paying the filing fee up front, but must do so with a
partial payment up front and payments thereafter under an installment plan (Section 1915(b)).
And to carry out that provision, the prisoner must accompany his or her complaint with a trust
fund account statement for the six-month period immediately before the filing of the complaint,
"obtained from the appropriate official of each prison at which the prisoner is or was confined"
Because the trust fund account statement has to accompany the complaint, the delay
between (1) the last date at the end of the statement and (2) the date when the plaintiff's
complaint and other documents are received in the Clerk's Office necessarily leaves a gap -sometimes a substantial one -- between dates (1) and (2). And that requires further trust fund
information to bridge that gap, so that the District Judge can carry out his or her responsibility of
calculating the installment payment arrangements under Section 1915(b). And for that purpose
this District Court's staff attorneys responsible for processing prisoner litigation, or the law
clerks for the judges assigned to prisoner cases, request and invariably get the cooperation of the
trust fund officer at the custodial institution in furnishing that added information.
"Invariably," that is, until now. When the staff attorney responsible for this action called
the Will County Jail to request a supplemental account statement for the period from August 30
to October 4, what he encountered was what he describes as a response by "an extremely
unpleasant trust fund officer" who said that a court order was needed before that information
would be released. That bureaucratic response was truly thoughtless (in addition to the manner
in which it is said to have been delivered) -- after all, the requested information is sent to this
District Court's Clerk's Office, so that no transmittal to an unauthorized person is involved, and
the need for the added information stems from the prisoner's own decision to bring a federal
lawsuit, so that the prisoner is legally obligated to provide the information by his or her very act
of filing that lawsuit.
In any event, this constitutes the court order that the officious official at the Will County
Jail has insisted on, so that official must forthwith send the requested information to the Clerk's
Office (indicating the case name and number of this action). And a copy of this memorandum
order is also being transmitted to higher authority at the Will County Jail, in an effort to avoid
any future repetition of the lack of courtesy exhibited here.
Date: October 17, 2016
Milton I. Shadur
Senior United States District Judge
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