State v. Matthew Graham

In October of 2013, Mr. Graham, filed a notice of appeal from a municipal court decision and indicated that he would like to be treated as an indigent person. Indigency status would have allowed Mr. Graham to have his filing and transcript fees waived. He was notified by the court that his request for a waiver had been denied and that if he did not pay the filing fee by the end of October, his appeal would be dismissed. Mr. Graham then sent a letter to the judge questioning why his request for a waiver had been denied and explained why he would not be able to pay the necessary fees to file an appeal. He was informed by the judge that because the judge believed his conduct to be of his “own volition,” the court would not grant him indigency status. In January of 2014 the ACLU-NJ filed an appeal of the order denying Mr. Graham’s indigency status on the grounds that so doing denied his right of access to courts in violation of due process. The appellate division ruled that the municipal court judge had inappropriately held Mr. Graham in contempt of the court.

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