POLEGA v. FOSTER

Case No. 17-cv-757-pp.

NOAH POLEGA, Plaintiff, v. BRIAN FOSTER, DR. GROSSMAN, and JOHN/JANE DOES 1-10, Defendants.

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin.

Editors Note
Applicable Law: 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Cause: 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Prisoner Civil Rights
Nature of Suit: 555 Prisoner: Conditions of Confinement
Source: PACER


Attorney(s) appearing for the Case

Noah Polega, Plaintiff, Pro Se.


ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO USE FUNDS FROM RELEASE ACCOUNT TO PAY FILING FEE (DKT. NO. 7)

PAMELA PEPPER, District Judge.

The plaintiff, Noah Polega, is a Wisconsin state prisoner representing himself. He has filed a complaint alleging that the defendants violated his constitutional rights. Dkt. No. 1. The plaintiff also has filed a motion to use funds from his release account to pay the filing fee. Dkt. No. 7.

A release account is a restricted account maintained by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, for use when the prisoner is released from custody upon completion of his sentence. Wis. Admin. Code §DOC 309.466. The point of a release account is to make sure that, when a prisoner is released back into the community, he has some funds to help him begin his new life. If an inmate uses up his release account on things like filing fees, he won't have that safety net.

Although the court can order disbursement from the release account for payment of the initial partial filing fee, the Prison Litigation Reform Act does not require the court to invade that account for payment of the balance of the filing fee. See 28 U.S.C. §1915(b). The law allows a prisoner to pay the remaining balance over time, by having the institution deduct "twenty percent of the preceding month's income credited to the prisoner's account." 28 U.S.C. §1915(b)(2). "Nothing in this language can be interpreted as congressional intent that prisoners deplete savings or release account balances in order to pay off their filing fee debts." Carter v. Bennett, 399 F.Supp.2d 936, 937 (W.D. Wis. 2005); see also Doty v. Doyle, 182 F.Supp.2d 750 (E.D. Wis. 2002). Given the rationale for segregating funds into a release account, and without a federal law requiring the court to allow prisoners to pay filing fees out of their release accounts, the court declines to order the plaintiff's institution to invade his release account to pay the balance on the filing fee.

The plaintiff owes the filing fee for this case. If he does not have sufficient funds to pay the fee, he may file a petition to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee. The court will mail the plaintiff a form petition along with this order.

The court DENIES the plaintiff's motion to use funds from release account to pay filing fee. Dkt. No. 7.

The court ORDERS that the plaintiff either file a petition to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee (using the enclosed form), or pay the $400 filing fee, within twenty-one days of the date of this order.


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