Thursday, November 05, 2015

Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments In Indigent Prisoner Fee Case

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments (full transcript of arguments)  in Bruce v. Samuels, a case raising an issue important to indigent prisoners suing to challenge their conditions of confinement, including infringements on their free exercise of religion. A provision in the Prison Litigation Reform Act caps monthly payments by prisoners proceeding in forma pauperis at 20% (28 USC 1915(b)(2)).  At issue in the case is whether a prisoner who files multiple cases or appeals has his monthly payment capped at 20% of his total income, or whether he must pay 20% of his income each month for each pending case. (See prior posting.) SCOTUSblog analyzed the oral arguments, saying that some of the justices' questions surprised the lawyers. USA Today also reports on the arguments.