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United States v. Cummings

decided.: May 7, 1956.

UNITED STATES EX REL. JESSE EMBREE, APPELLANT,
v.
GEORGE A. CUMMINGS, WARDEN, APPELLEE.



Author: Lumbard

Before MEDINA, LUMBARD and WATERMAN, Circuit Judges.

LUMBARD, Circuit Judge.

The petitioner in this habeas corpus proceeding is a prisoner presently confined in the Connecticut State Prison. He pleaded guilty in 1952 to three counts of breaking and entering and larceny and was sentenced by the Superior Court for Hartford County as follows:

"that said Jesse R. Embree be imprisoned in the Connecticut State Prison during the period of not less than two (2) years and not more than three (3) years on the first count; one (1) year on the second count; one (1) year on the fourth count * * *".

When he filed this petition Embree alleged that, with allowance for good behavior, he had served the maximum term on the first count. His sole contention now is that the sentences imposed by the Connecticut Court were concurrent rather than consecutive and that the period of his sentence has therefore expired.

There is a preliminary question whether the petition has exhausted his state remedies within the meaning of 28 U.S.C.A. § 2254. In his petition Embree alleged that because of his poverty he was unable to pay the filing fee in the Connecticut Court and that the Court would not waive the fee. In support of this allegation he presented a letter which he had directed to the Clerk of the Superior Court at Hartford, Conn. This letter contained the following reply handwritten at the bottom of the page and signed by the Clerk:

"Dear Mr. Embree:

"There is no provision in Connecticut to waive the 'filing'-entry fee.

"There is no provision for forma pauperis."

Embree also presented in support of his petition two affidavits of poverty alleging that he is without property, and that his income as a prisoner is approximately $4.00 per month.

Section 3604 of the General Statutes of Connecticut, Rev.1949, provides:

"There shall be paid to the clerks of the supreme court of errors, the superior court or the court of common pleas, for entering each civil cause, seven dollars * * *. Said fees may be demanded before the cause is entered * * * and no clerk shall be required to continue any cause on the docket * * * until all court and clerk fees due shall have been paid."

(This section was amended in 1955 to increase the filing fee to fourteen dollars. 1955 Supp. to the General Statutes of Connecticut § 1972d.)

The Supreme Court of Errors of Connecticut has held that under this statute the court has no power to waive the fee required for entering an appeal. Appeal of Dattilo, 1949, 135 Conn. 411, 65 A.2d 262. There is no reason to believe that the rule is otherwise with respect to the fees required for causes filed in the lower courts. Nor does the Connecticut statute governing habeas corpus proceedings ...


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