Payne v. Sloan
Order denying Petitioner's 8 Motion for an Order granting Petitioner Exemption Status pursuant to Section (9) of the Electronic Public Access Fee Schedule, and 9 Motion for leave to file documents with the court via facsimile transmission or electronic mail. Magistrate Judge Thomas M. Parker on 7/10/2018. (D,JJ)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
Tyler Seth Dustin Payne,
Warden Brigham Sloan,
Case No. 1:18-cv-00302
JUDGE CHRISTOPHER A. BOYKO
THOMAS M. PARKER
On February 7, 2018, Petitioner Tyler Seth Dustin Payne (“Payne” or “Petitioner”) filed a
petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 for a writ of habeas corpus. ECF Doc. 1. Payne moved to
proceed in forma pauperis on that same day (ECF Doc. 2), and the court granted the motion on
February 9, 2018. ECF Doc. 4.
On March 2, 2018, Payne filed two additional motions: (1) a “Motion for an Order
Granting Petitioner Exemption Status pursuant to Section (9) of the ‘Electronic Public Access
Fee Schedule’” (ECF Doc. 8); and (2) a “Motion for leave to file documents with the court via
facsimile transmission or electronic mail.” ECF Doc. 9. This order resolves both of Payne’s
Motion for an Order Granting Petitioner Exemption Status pursuant
to Section (9) of the “Electronic Public Access Fee Schedule”
Payne first requests to be exempt from PACER fees. ECF Doc. 08. Payne states that he
“is unable to afford to pay the $50 fee required to create a PACER account and access the
electronic court dockets of this court,” because he is “an indigent inmate” incarcerated at the
Lake Erie Correctional institution who earns twenty dollars a month. ECF Doc. 08. Payne also
states that he “only intends to do scholarly research related to the practices and procedures of
pursuing a [p]etition for a [w]rit of [h]abeas [c]orpus in this [f]ederal [d]istrict [c]ourt.”
There is no fee to register for PACER. See PACER User Manual for CM/ECF Courts, 6,
June 2017, https://www.pacer.gov/documents/pacermanual.pdf. Users are charged $0.10 per
page printed, viewed, or downloaded and the charge for any single document is capped at $3, or
30 pages. See id. at 4-5. If a user accrues less than $15 of charges in a quarter, the fees are
waived for that period. Id. Further, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2250, the clerk of court furnishes
petitioner without cost certified copies of documents as required by court order.
Although courts may exempt certain persons from payment of PACER user fees,
“[c]ourts should not . . . exempt individuals or groups that have the ability to pay the statutorily
established access fee.” See Electronic Public Access Fee Schedule (Issued in accordance with
28 U.S.C. §§ 1913, 1914, 1926, 1932, 1932),
https://www.pacer.gov/documents/epa_feesched.pdf. “Those seeking an exemption [must]
demonstrate that an exemption is necessary in order to avoid unreasonable burdens and to
promote public access to information.” Id. “[I]ndividual researchers requesting an exemption
[must] show that the defined research project is intended for scholarly research, that it is
limited in scope, and that it is not intended for redistribution on the internet or for commercial
purposes.” Id. The Judicial Conference Policy Notes caution that “[e]xemptions should be
granted as the exception, not the rule.” See id.
Petitioner’s conclusory arguments regarding his intention to conduct “scholarly research”
about how to properly prepare and file documents with this court or the practices and procedures
for pursuing a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in this court are unpersuasive. This court
provides guidance and forms to pro se litigants on its website. See e.g. Pro Se Information,
http://www.ohnd.uscourts.gov/pro-se-information (last visited Mar. 7, 2018). The court also has
a help desk that can assist litigants with filings that is staffed from 8:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.
(Eastern Time), and is available at all other times to record voice mail messages. See Help Desk,
http://www.ohnd.uscourts.gov/content/help-desk (last visited Mar. 7, 2018).
Also unpersuasive is petitioner’s conclusory and unsupported claim that requiring him to
pay PACER fees will create an unreasonable burden and deny him access to information and his
right of access to the courts. C.f. Chasteen v. Johnson, No. 2-12-cv-229, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
29298, at *2 (S.D. Ohio Mar. 5, 2013) (denying a request for an exemption to PACER fees when
the plaintiff failed to “explain why the electronic copies of every document filed in this case, and
which have presumably been made available to him free of charge, are insufficient to permit him
to vigorously pursue his claims.”). Although petitioner may be unable to afford the filing fees
associated with his lawsuit, the court has no basis upon which to conclude that he is financially
incapable of affording the minimal costs of the PACER system. “The statutory right to proceed
in forma pauperis . . . does not include the right to obtain copies of court orders without payment
therefor.” Douglas v. Green, 327 F.2d 661, 662 (6th Cir. 1964) (per curiam); see also Malouf v.
Detroit Med. Ctr., No. 10-CV-14763, 2011 WL 1465787, at *1 (E.D. Mich. Apr. 18, 2011).
Accordingly, the court concludes that petitioner has not established that he is entitled to an
exemption from payment of PACER fees.
Motion for Leave to File Documents with the Court
via Facsimile Transmission or Electronic Mail
Payne’s second request is for leave to file all documents via facsimile transmission or
electronic mail. See ECF Doc. 9. Payne argues that the cost of first-class postage for filing
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