Court rules against indigent inmates in fee dispute

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court says indigent prison inmates can’t get a break on paying for the costs of filing lawsuits that some consider frivolous.

The justices ruled unanimously Tuesday that inmates bringing multiple civil suits must use their prison income to make partial monthly payments on filing fees for every case.

At issue is a federal law requiring prisoners to make monthly payments of “20 percent of the preceding month’s income” until court fees are paid off. The law was meant to discourage inmates from bringing too many cases.

Lower courts were split over whether that applies to each case, or is capped at 20 percent per prisoner, regardless of how many lawsuits are filed.