BROWN v. HERALD CO., INC.
464 U.S. 928

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U.S. Supreme Court

BROWN v. HERALD CO., INC. , 464 U.S. 928 (1983)

464 U.S. 928

Theodis BROWN
v.
HERALD CO., INC., etc.
No. 82-6778.

Supreme Court of the United States

October 31, 1983

On petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Kenneth ALEXANDER v. TEXAS et al. 82-6907.

On petition for writ of certiorari to the Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas.

Nancy Jewell CROSS v. SECRETARY OF STATE. 82-6956.

Richard T. ENO et al. v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT et al. 83-5040.

On petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

David L. LINFIELD v. BOARD OF HIGHER EDUCATION OF the CITY OF NEW YORK. 83-5100. [ Brown v. Herald Co., Inc. 464 U.S. 928 (1983) ][928-Continued.]

On petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Alice MILLER v. Samuel R. PIERCE, Jr., Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, et al. 83-5349.

On petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The motions of petitioners and appellant for leave to proceed in forma pauperis are denied. Petitioners and appellant are allowed until November 21, 1983, within which to pay the docketing fee required by Rule 45(a) and to submit petitions and a jurisdictional statement in compliance with Rule 33 of the Rules of this Court.

Justice BRENNAN, with whom Justice MARSHALL and Justice BLACKMUN join, dissenting.

In each of these cases, the Court has denied petitioner's or appellant's motion to proceed in forma pauperis without initially addressing the issue whether the questions presented in the petition for certiorari or jurisdictional statement merit our plenary review-and the Court is apparently announcing today that this will

Page 464 U.S. 928 , 929

be our practice in the future. [Footnote 1] At a time when at least some of us proclaim that we are sorely pressed for adequate time to do our work, this treatment is both unfair and wasteful, and I respectfully dissent.

Ordinarily, a $200 filing fee must be paid before a petition for certiorari or a jurisdictional statement, properly conforming to the requirements of Supreme Court Rule 33, may be filed. Supreme Court Rule 46. However, 28 U.S.C. 1915 provides that "[a]ny 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 payment of fees and costs or security therefor, by a person who makes affidavit that he is unable to pay such costs or give security therefor." Supreme Court Rule 46, which implements this statute, provides that "[a] party desiring to proceed in this Court in forma pauperis shall file a motion for leave to so proceed, together with his affidavit in the form prescribed in Fed.Rules App.Proc., Form 4 . . . setting forth with particularity facts showing that he comes within the statutory requirements." 2 If the motion is granted, no filing fee is charged and a single typewritten petition or jurisdictional statement may be filed.

Each year, roughly 1,000 motions supported by affidavit are made for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. [Footnote 3] These motions usually accompany a petition for a writ of certiorari or a jurisdictional statement, and our practice heretofore has almost always been not to pass on the in forma pauperis motion but to proceed directly to grant or deny the petition based on the merits of the questions presented in the petition or statement. Yet in the instant cases, each of which presents questions so lacking in merit as to have virtually no chance of receiving a plenary hearing, the Court has chosen instead to focus initially on the affidavits supporting the in forma pauperis motions and to deny the motions. [464 U.S. 928 , 930]


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