United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Rock Island Division
DARROW UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court are Defendant Leonard's motion for leave to
appeal in forma pauperis, ECF No. 48, and his motion to file
a financial affidavit under seal, ECF No. 50. For the
following reasons, the motion for leave to appeal in forma
pauperis is DENIED, and the motion for leave to file
affidavit under seal is DENIED.
charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, 18
U.S.C. § 922(g), see Indictment, ECF No. 1, was
represented by counsel over the course of the proceedings
before this Court. See Not. Appearance Att'y
Gambino, ECF No. 6. He pleaded guilty to that charge on
January 12, 2017. Jan. 12, 2017 Minute Entry. Having reserved
certain issues for appeal, Not. Reservation, ECF No. 28, he
was duly sentenced by the Court, see Apr. 19, 2017
Minute Entry, and timely appealed from the judgment on May 2,
2017, Not. Appeal, ECF No. 46. He now moves, through his
present counsel, for appointment of counsel on appeal, and
permission to proceed with his appeal without paying the $500
filing fee. Mot. Appeal In Forma Pauperis 1-2. He also and
separately moves for permission to file under seal a
financial affidavit in support of his request for pauper
status and appointment of counsel. Mot. Seal 1.
motion for appointment of counsel on appeal is easily
disposed of. Appointment of appellate counsel is beyond a
district court's jurisdiction. See, e.g., Pratt v.
Hurley, 79 F.3d 601, 603 (7th Cir. 1996) (appointing
counsel after determining appeal was not taken frivolously);
Shotts v. Evans, 2010 WL 1610386, at *2 (S.D. Ill.
2010) (“[T]his Court does not have the authority to
appoint counsel on appeal as only the Court of Appeals can
make such appointments.”). Leonard may move for
appointment of counsel before the Court of Appeals.
moves to proceed in forma pauperis-without prepaying fees.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915. Parties desiring to
appeal a district court's judgment without prepaying
appellate fees must file a motion with the district court,
including an affidavit that shows the party's inability
to pay fees and costs, claims entitlement to redress, and
states the issue or issues intended to be presented on
appeal. Fed. R. App. P. 24(a). If the district court grants
the motion the party may proceed without prepaying fees; if
the district court denies the motion, it must state its
reasons in writing. Id. 24(b).
seeks to file under seal the financial affidavit he offers in
support of pauper status. In support of this request, he
cites Local Rule 5.11 (“Privacy”), which permits
parties to redact or seek leave to file under seal
information that “might bring harm to anyone or should
not be made public for law enforcement or security
reasons.” C.D. Ill. L.R. 5.11(A). Leonard argues that
the financial affidavit contains “personal financial
information . . . of the type that could cause harm to Mr.
Leonard or his family were it made publically
available.” Mot. Leave File Under Seal 1. Leonard's
request to file the affidavit under seal is unpersuasive for
two reasons. First, he has not complied with Local Rule
5.10(A)(2), which provides the procedure for moving to file
documents under seal. The rule requires parties to state in
the form of a motion the legal bases for filing the document
under seal, and to contemporaneously and separately file the
document sought to be filed under seal with the docket event
“Sealed Document.” Leonard did not do so, but
instead filed the affidavit as an exhibit to the motion.
Second, he has not supported his assertion that the financial
details contained in his application to proceed in forma
pauperis are such as “might bring harm” to him or
anyone else, beyond citing a concern about identity theft and
seeking to reverse the burden at issue by arguing that there
is “no valid reason to require that his personal
financial information be a matter of public record[.]”
Mot. Leave File Under Seal 1. Litigants routinely petition
this Court, via unsealed motion, for leave to proceed in
forma pauperis, and “[t]he Court does not approve of
the filing documents under seal as a general matter.”
C.D. Ill. L.R. 5.10(A)(2). The affidavit Leonard submitted
already obscures the names of his minor dependents by use of
their initials. The Clerk will therefore be directed to file
the affidavit as a separate docket entry.
to the substance of Leonard's motion for leave to appeal
in forma pauperis, the Court finds that he has not shown his
inability to pay the $500 appellate filing fee. Leonard
reports a gross monthly pay for himself of $2, 000,
a monthly income for his partner of $1, 300. Leonard Aff. 2,
Mot. Leave File Under Seal Ex. 1, ECF No. 50-1. He also
reports ownership of vehicles valued at $3, 500 and $4, 500,
$4, 500 in other assets, and $1, 000 in a savings account.
Id. at 3-4. He reports seven dependents, and total
monthly expenses of $1, 800. Id. at 3-6. Taken as a
whole, Leonard's $3, 300 gross monthly family income, his
assets, and his monthly expenses do not show that he is
unable to pay the appellate filing fee. His motion for leave
to without prepaying the fee is denied.
Defendant's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis
and for appointment of counsel, ECF No. 48, is DENIED, as is
his motion for leave to file his affidavit under seal, ECF
No. 50. The Clerk is directed to file as a new docket entry
the affidavit attached to the motion for leave to file under
 Defendant is still earning income at
present as he is on pre-trial release pending his self-report
date to the Bureau of Prisons at the ...