- 502 U.S. 16 (1991)


OCTOBER TERM, 1991

Per Curiam

ZATKO v. CALIFORNIA

ON MOTION FOR LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS

No. 91-5052. Decided November 4, 1991*

Over the past 10 years, petitioner Zatko has filed 73 petitions with this Court, 34 within the last 2 years, and petitioner Martin has filed over 45 petitions, 15 within the last 2 years.

Held: Zatko and Martin are denied in forma pauperis status in the instant cases, pursuant to this Court's Rule 39.8. Their patterns of repetitious filings have resulted in an extreme abuse of the system by burdening the office of the Clerk and other members of the Court's staff.

Motions denied.

PER CURIAM.

Last Term, we amended Rule 39 of the Rules of the Su-

preme Court of the United States to add the following:

"39.8. If satisfied that a petition for a writ of certiorari, jurisdictional statement, or petition for an extraordinary writ, as the case may be, is frivolous or malicious, the Court may deny a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis."

Because in forma pauperis petitioners lack the financial disincentives-filing fees and attorney's fees-that help to

*Together with No. 91-5111, Zatko v. United States District Court for the Northern District of California, No. 91-5166, Zatko v. United States District Courtfor the Northern District of California, No. 91-5167, Zatko v. United States, No. 91-5244, Martin v. Mrvos, No. 91-5246, Martin v. Smith, No. 91-5307, Martin v. Delaware Law School of Widener University, Inc., No. 91-5331, Martin v. Walmer, No. 91-5332, Martin v. Townsend, No. 91-5401, Martin v. Supreme Court of New Jersey, No. 91-5416, Zatko v. California, No. 91-5476, Martin v. Bar of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, No. 91-5583, Martin v. Huyett, No. 91-5594, Zatko v. United States District Court for the Northern District of California, No. 91-5692, Zatko v. United States District Court for the Northern District of California, No. 91-5730, Zatko v. California, and No. 91-5732, Zatko v. California, also on motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis.


17

deter other litigants from filing frivolous petitions, we felt such a Rule change was necessary to provide us some control over the in forma pauperis docket. In ordering the amendment, we sought to discourage frivolous and malicious in forma pauperis filings, "particularly [from] those few persons whose filings are repetitive with the obvious effect of burdening the office of the Clerk and other members of the Court staff." In re Amendment to Rule 39,500 U. S. 13 (1991).

Today, we invoke Rule 39.8 for the first time, and deny in forma pauperis status to petitioners Vladimir Zatko and James L. Martin. We do not do so casually, however. We deny leave to proceed in forma pauperis only with respect to two petitioners who have repeatedly abused the integrity of our process through frequent frivolous filings. Over the last 10 years, Zatko has filed 73 petitions in this Court; 34 of those filings have come within the last 2 years. Martin has been only slightly less prolific over the same 10-year period and has filed over 45 petitions, 15 of them within the last 2 years. In each of their filings up to this point, we have permitted Zatko and Martin to proceed in forma pauperis, and we have denied their petitions without recorded dissent. However, this Court's goal of fairly dispensing justice "is compromised when the Court is forced to devote its limited resources to the processing of repetitious and frivolous requests" such as these. In re Sindram, 498 U. S. 177, 179-180 (1991). We conclude that the pattern of repetitious filing on the part of Zatko and Martin has resulted in an extreme abuse of the system. In the hope that our action will deter future similar frivolous practices, we deny Zatko and Martin leave to proceed in forma pauperis in these cases.

The dissent complains that, by invoking this Rule against Zatko and Martin, we appear to ignore our duty to provide equal access to justice for both the rich and the poor. The message we hope to send is quite the opposite, however. In order to advance the interests of justice, the Court's general


18
Full Text of Opinion

Official Supreme Court caselaw is only found in the print version of the United States Reports. Justia caselaw is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect current legal developments, verdicts or settlements. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site or information linked to from this site. Please check official sources.