Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Getz v. Board of Parole

Supreme Court of Delaware

March 28, 2018

CHARLES R. GETZ, JR., Plaintiff Below-Appellant,
v.
BOARD OF PAROLE, Defendant Below-Appellee.

          Submitted: January 30, 2018

          Court Below: Superior Court of the State of Delaware C.A. No. N17C-11-054

          Before STRINE, Chief Justice; VALIHURA and TRAYNOR, Justices.

          ORDER

          Gary F. Traynor Justice

         This 28th day of March 2018, upon consideration of the rule to show cause, the appellant's response, and the record on appeal, it appears to the Court that:

         (1) The appellant, Charles R. Getz, Jr., filed this appeal from an order of the Superior Court dated November 20, 2017, dismissing his complaint seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against the Board of Parole. The Superior Court dismissed the complaint as legally frivolous because the Board of Parole had denied Getz's application for parole in August 2016, and thus there was no longer an "actual controversy"[1] to support a claim for declaratory or injunctive relief.

         (2) Along with his notice of appeal, Getz also filed a motion to proceed in forma pauperis in this Court. The motion did not comply with Supreme Court Rule 20(h) and was stricken. The Court Clerk wrote to Getz on January 2, 2018 and directed him to file a motion in compliance with the Court's rule by January 16, 2018. The letter informed Getz that no further action would be taken in his appeal until he did so. Getz did not refile his motion as instructed in the Clerk's letter. Accordingly, on January 18, 2018, the Court issued a notice to Getz to show cause why his appeal should not be dismissed for his failure to prosecute.

         (3) Getz filed a response to the notice to show cause on January 30, 2018. The response reflects Getz's objection to Section 14 of the Court's Official Form Q, which requires an appellant who is moving to proceed in forma pauperis to swear or affirm that, "I understand that, if I am permitted to proceed in forma pauperis in this matter and the Court later dismisses this action or otherwise enters a judgment against me, then the Court may require me to pay all costs and fees associated with this action and, if so ordered, shall retain jurisdiction over me until the costs and fees are paid."[2] Getz asserts that Article I, § 9 of the Delaware Constitution requires the Courts to be open and that he is entitled to a remedy "without sale, denial, or unreasonable delay or expense."[3] He argues that the Court's Rule 20, Official Form Q, and 10 Del. C. ch. 88 are unconstitutional to the extent that they authorize the Court to charge him a filing fee or to inquire into his financial status.

         (4) We reject Getz's argument. Permission to proceed as a pauper without prepayment of the filing in a civil matter is a matter of privilege, not a right.[4] Neither Rule 20, Official Form Q nor 10 Del. C. ch. 88 bars an indigent person access to courts in Delaware or otherwise violates an indigent prisoner's constitutional rights.[5] Despite Getz's argument to the contrary, the United States Supreme Court has never held that courts cannot collect a fee from prisoners filing civil lawsuits.[6] We find no merit to Getz's argument that it is unconstitutional for the Court to charge him a fee or to inquire into his financial status in order to determine his ability to pay a fee.

         (5) Under the circumstances, we dismiss this appeal for Getz's failure to prosecute it diligently by refusing to comply with the Court's January 2, 2018 directive to file an in forma pauperis motion in compliance with the Court's rules.

         NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the appeal is DISMISSED.

---------

Notes:

[1] XL Specialty Ins. Co. v. WMI Liquidating Trust, 93 A.3d 1208, 1216 (Del. 2014) (declaratory judgment action in Delaware must present an actual controversy ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.