[12 FSM Intrm. 619]
[12 FSM Intrm. 620]
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MARTIN G. YINUG, Associate Justice:
On August 16, 2004, defendant Kimis Moses filed and served his Motion for Proceeding in Forma Pauperis and Memorandum in Support. No supporting affidavit is attached. No response has been filed.
The motion asks that Moses be granted in forma pauperis status for his pending appeal and
[12 FSM Intrm. 621]
asserts that General Court Order 1985-7, § 4(a), which states that "[w]here the indigent party is represented by the Office of the Public Defender . . . in in forma pauperis proceedings, the transcript fee shall be reduced to $1.25 per page, payable by the public agency rendering legal representation, and not by the defendant personally," renders unnecessary the affidavit required by Appellate Procedure Rule 24(a) concerning the applicant’s inability to pay.
Moses misunderstands the General Court Order’s import and application. First, General Court Order 1985-7, § 4(a) has been superseded by an identical provision in General Court Order 1991-3, § 4(a). Second, neither General Court Order has any effect on Appellate Procedure Rule 24(a). The General Court Orders merely establish a reduced transcript fee to be paid by the Office of the Public Defender when it represents an indigent party. It does not automatically classify every client of that office as an indigent party. Such certification can only be done in compliance with Appellate Rule 24(a). Furthermore, the affidavit required by that rule must contain more than just a statement about the affiant’s inability to pay.
Appellate Rule 24(a) requires that an in forma pauperis applicant’s affidavit show "in the detail prescribed by Form 2 of the Appendix of Forms, the party’s inability to pay fees and costs or to give security therefor, the party’s belief that the party is entitled to redress, and a statement of the issues which the party intends to present on appeal." As previously noted by this court,
there is currently no Form 2 attached to the Appellate Rules. If there were, it presumably would resemble the Form 4 (Affidavit to Accompany Motion for Leave to Appeal in Forma Pauperis) attached to the U.S. Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure current in 1991, which was when the present FSM Rules of Appellate Procedure (largely derived from the similar U.S. federal rules) were adopted.
Lebehn v. Mobil Oil Micronesia, Inc. , 10 FSM Intrm. 515, 517 (Pon. 2002). More detail is required than a mere recitation that the affiant is poor and cannot pay. See id. at 517-18. An affidavit of a person seeking in forma pauperis status should, at minimum, outline the affiant’s income, necessary expenditures and liabilities, savings, the value of any real or personal property the affiant owns individually, and the value of the affiant’s ownership interest in any real or personal property in which the affiant shares ownership with others.
The affidavit must also contain "the party’s belief that the party is entitled to redress, and a statement of the issues which the party intends to present on appeal." FSM App. R. 24(a). This is because for a litigant to proceed on appeal in forma pauperis, not only must the litigant be economically eligible, the appeal must be made in good faith and not be frivolous. Lebehn, 10 FSM Intrm. at 517 ("To proceed on appeal in forma pauperis, a litigant must be economically eligible, and his appeal must not be frivolous."). "For an issue not to be frivolous, it does not have to be meritorious. The issue only has to be colorable." Id. (citations omitted).
The motion to proceed in forma pauperis is therefore denied without prejudice. It may be renewed with a proper supporting affidavit.
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