Case No. 19-cv-21844-BLOOM
Copies to: Counsel of Record Eddie Bonet #198738 Calhoun Correctional Institution Inmate Mail/Parcels 19562 SE Institution Drive Blountstown, FL 32424 PRO SE
ORDER GRANTING LEAVE TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS
THIS CAUSE is before the upon Petitioner Eddie Bonet's ("Petitioner") Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis on Appeal, ECF Nos.  &  ("Motion"). The Court has carefully considered the Motion, the record in this case, the applicable law, and is otherwise fully advised. For the reasons set forth below, Petitioner's Motion is granted.
Fundamental to our system of justice is that the courthouse doors will not be closed to persons based on their inability to pay a filing fee. Congress has provided that a court "may authorize the commencement, prosecution, or defense of any suit, action or proceeding, civil or criminal, or appeal therein, without prepayment of fees . . . therefor, by a person who submits an affidavit that includes a statement of all assets such [person] possesses that the person is unable to pay such fees." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1); see Martinez v. Kristi Kleaners, Inc., 364 F.3d 1305, 1306 n.1 (11th Cir. 2004) (interpreting § 1915 to apply to all persons seeking to proceed in forma pauperis).
Section 1915(a) requires a determination as to whether "the statements in the [applicant's] affidavit satisfy the requirement of poverty." Watson v. Ault, 525 F.2d 886, 891 (5th Cir. 1976). An applicant's "affidavit will be held sufficient if it represents that the litigant, because of his poverty, is unable to pay for the court fees and costs, and to support and provide necessities for himself and his dependents." Martinez, 364 F.3d at 1307; see also Adkins v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., 335 U.S. 331, 339 (1948) (in forma pauperis status is demonstrated when, because of poverty, one cannot "pay or give security for the costs and still be able to provide himself and dependents with the necessities of life."). The Department of Health and Human Services ("HHS") poverty guidelines are central to an assessment of an applicant's poverty. See Taylor v. Supreme Court of N.J., 261 F. App'x 399, 401 (3d Cir. 2008) (using HHS Guidelines as basis for § 1915 determination); Lewis v. Ctr. Mkt., 378 F. App'x 780, 784 (10th Cir. 2010) (affirming use of HHS guidelines); see also Annual Update of the HHS Poverty Guidelines, 85 Fed. Reg. 3060 (Jan. 17, 2020). Further, the § 1915 analysis requires "comparing the applicant's assets and liabilities in order to determine whether he has satisfied the poverty requirement." Thomas v. Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit, 574 F. App'x 916, 917 (11th Cir. 2014). Ultimately, permission to proceed in forma pauperis is committed to the sound discretion of the Court. See Camp v. Oliver, 798 F.2d 434, 437 (11th Cir. 1986).
Pursuant to Boomer v. City of Prichard, 661 F.2d 1206, 1209 (11th Cir. 1981), opinions of the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued prior to October 1, 1981, are binding precedent in the Eleventh Circuit. --------
To the extent that Petitioner is appealing the Court's Order dismissing his petition for writ of habeas corpus, ECF No. , he may proceed in forma pauperis on appeal. Petitioner is currently incarcerated, and he swears in his Motion that he does not earn any wages and is currently unemployed. See ECF No. . Petitioner has also attached a copy of his inmate account reflecting a current account balance of $0.00. ECF No.  at 2-4. Upon review of the HHS poverty guidelines and after examining Petitioner's financial situation, the Court determines that he is unable to pay the required filing fee and thus qualifies for indigent status under § 1915.
Accordingly, it is ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that Petitioner's Motions to Proceed in Forma Pauperis on Appeal, ECF Nos.  & , are GRANTED.
DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers at Miami, Florida, on February 24, 2021.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE Copies to: Counsel of Record Eddie Bonet
Calhoun Correctional Institution
19562 SE Institution Drive
Blountstown, FL 32424