(a)(1) Subject to subsection (b), any court of the United States
may authorize the commencement, prosecution or defense of any suit,
action or proceeding, civil or criminal, or appeal therein, without
prepayment of fees or security therefor, by a person who submits an
affidavit that includes a statement of all assets such prisoner
possesses that the person is unable to pay such fees or give
security therefor. Such affidavit shall state the nature of the
action, defense or appeal and affiant's belief that the person is
entitled to redress.
(2) A prisoner seeking to bring a civil action or appeal a
judgment in a civil action or proceeding without prepayment of fees
or security therefor, in addition to filing the affidavit filed
under paragraph (1), shall submit a certified copy of the trust
fund account statement (or institutional equivalent) for the
prisoner for the 6-month period immediately preceding the filing of
the complaint or notice of appeal, obtained from the appropriate
official of each prison at which the prisoner is or was confined.
(3) An appeal may not be taken in forma pauperis if the trial
court certifies in writing that it is not taken in good faith.
(b)(1) Notwithstanding subsection (a), if a prisoner brings a
civil action or files an appeal in forma pauperis, the prisoner
shall be required to pay the full amount of a filing fee. The court
shall assess and, when funds exist, collect, as a partial payment
of any court fees required by law, an initial partial filing fee of
20 percent of the greater of -
(A) the average monthly deposits to the prisoner's account; or
(B) the average monthly balance in the prisoner's account for
the 6-month period immediately preceding the filing of the
complaint or notice of appeal.
(2) After payment of the initial partial filing fee, the prisoner
shall be required to make monthly payments of 20 percent of the
preceding month's income credited to the prisoner's account. The
agency having custody of the prisoner shall forward payments from
the prisoner's account to the clerk of the court each time the
amount in the account exceeds $10 until the filing fees are paid.
(3) In no event shall the filing fee collected exceed the amount
of fees permitted by statute for the commencement of a civil action
or an appeal of a civil action or criminal judgment.
(4) In no event shall a prisoner be prohibited from bringing a
civil action or appealing a civil or criminal judgment for the
reason that the prisoner has no assets and no means by which to pay
the initial partial filing fee.
(c) Upon the filing of an affidavit in accordance with
subsections (a) and (b) and the prepayment of any partial filing
fee as may be required under subsection (b), the court may direct
payment by the United States of the expenses of (1) printing the
record on appeal in any civil or criminal case, if such printing is
required by the appellate court; (2) preparing a transcript of
proceedings before a United States magistrate judge in any civil or
criminal case, if such transcript is required by the district
court, in the case of proceedings conducted under section 636(b) of
this title or under section 3401(b) of title 18, United States
Code; and (3) printing the record on appeal if such printing is
required by the appellate court, in the case of proceedings
conducted pursuant to section 636(c) of this title. Such expenses
shall be paid when authorized by the Director of the Administrative
Office of the United States Courts.
(d) The officers of the court shall issue and serve all process,
and perform all duties in such cases. Witnesses shall attend as in
other cases, and the same remedies shall be available as are
provided for by law in other cases.
(e)(1) The court may request an attorney to represent any person
unable to afford counsel.
(2) Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that
may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if
the court determines that -
(A) the allegation of poverty is untrue; or
(B) the action or appeal -
(i) is frivolous or malicious;
(ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted;
(iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune
from such relief.
(f)(1) Judgment may be rendered for costs at the conclusion of
the suit or action as in other proceedings, but the United States
shall not be liable for any of the costs thus incurred. If the
United States has paid the cost of a stenographic transcript or
printed record for the prevailing party, the same shall be taxed in
favor of the United States.
(2)(A) If the judgment against a prisoner includes the payment of
costs under this subsection, the prisoner shall be required to pay
the full amount of the costs ordered.
(B) The prisoner shall be required to make payments for costs
under this subsection in the same manner as is provided for filing
fees under subsection (a)(2).
(C) In no event shall the costs collected exceed the amount of
the costs ordered by the court.
(g) In no event shall a prisoner bring a civil action or appeal a
judgment in a civil action or proceeding under this section if the
prisoner has, on 3 or more prior occasions, while incarcerated or
detained in any facility, brought an action or appeal in a court of
the United States that was dismissed on the grounds that it is
frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief
may be granted, unless the prisoner is under imminent danger of
serious physical injury.
(h) As used in this section, the term "prisoner" means any person
incarcerated or detained in any facility who is accused of,
convicted of, sentenced for, or adjudicated delinquent for,
violations of criminal law or the terms and conditions of parole,
probation, pretrial release, or diversionary program.