Judge Moore and the Motion to Kiss My Ass
Justice Sandra Day O’Connor once told students at Stanford Law School how annoying she finds it to be woken up at night with an emergency application to stay an execution.
District court judges receive lots of frivolous filings. Normally, they are dealt with in a simple order denying relief and nobody hears much about them. Sometimes, a more stringent response is needed.
I recently came across a 1996 opinion by District Court Judge William T. Moore of Georgia prohibiting Matthew Washington, a pro se inmate, from filing any future lawsuits or motions in any district court unless he first posted a contempt bond of $1,500. The bond would be returned after the adjudication of the case if Washington’s conduct throughout complied with the federal rules. In addition, before Washington could proceed in any matter, a judge would conduct a preliminary review to ensure the filing was not frivolous.
What prompted these measures? Washington had filed a civil rights suit against various judges, including Judge Moore. Pursuant to that lawsuit, Washington filed a “Motion to Kiss My Ass” in which he moved “all Americans at large and one corrupt Judge Smith to kiss my got damn ass sorry mother fucker you.” Judge Moore ordered Washington to demonstrate why he should not be sanctioned. Washington ignored the judge’s order. Judge Moore dismissed the lawsuit and imposed the above restrictions on further litigation.
This incident apparently followed a long history of Mr. Washington’s courthouse antics.
An excerpt from Judge Moore’s opinion conveys the events:
Since his commitment to the state prison system, Plaintiff has become a frequent litigant within the federal courts. The Clerk of Court for the Superior Court of Chatham County has also informed this Court that Plaintiff is frequently suing for various forms of relief through the state court system as well. What distinguishes Plaintiff from most prisoner litigants in federal courts is that he pays his filing fee rather than submit an application to proceed in forma pauperis. It has come to the attention of this Court that Plaintiff’s litigation practice is largely, if not entirely, underwritten by the Federal Treasury as he periodically receives a substantial check for veterans’ disability benefits. By paying his filing fee, Plaintiff has thus far avoided the filter of the 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d) frivolity review. As a result, patently frivolous lawsuits have languished in this district longer than would otherwise be warranted with other prisoner litigants.
Plaintiff has shown in his dealings with the courts in this District that he lacks the ability or will to govern his suits with the civility and order required by the Local Rules and by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. He has wasted the time of many an innocent party and he has flippantly used the resources of the judiciary with his abusive motions filing practice.
In Matthew Washington v. Bobby Whitworth, et al. this Court’s experience with Plaintiff began. In that case, Plaintiff filed the Complaint on November 8, 1991, and soon commenced his motion filings practice. In February 1992, he moved to change venue. Then, he initiated the trademark of his practice: the Motion to Amend Complaint. He moved to amend his complaint on March 6, 1992, on April 15, 1992, and on December 14, 1992. After a couple allowances of amendment, Judge Dudley H. Bowen, Jr., began denying Plaintiff’s motions to amend. Soon thereafter he moved to disqualify Judge Bowen and began filing “Extraordinary Motions to Amend” including one which desired to add the United States Secret Service as a party.
Plaintiff began filing frivolous motions on a weekly basis and, in that relatively simple civil rights lawsuit, he ended up filing more than seventy-five pleadings, all of which required the considered attention of this Court and Judge Bowen. These motions included “Motion to Behoove an Inquisition” and “Motion for Judex Delegatus” and “Motion for Restoration of Sanity” and “Motion for Deinstitutionalization”. In one instance, he indicated the recreational tilt of his litigation when he filed a “Motion for Publicity” regarding a trial which had been set for March 23, 1995, in Statesboro. At the time of trial, Plaintiff filed a “Motion to Vacate Jurisdiction” which was denied. Even after judgment as a matter of law was entered against him at the trial, Plaintiff did not perceive his case as complete. He renewed the filing of “Extraordinary Motions to Amend” and filed his appeals, fees paid, with the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
After one year of filing motions after the case had been closed, this Court ordered Plaintiff to quit submitting motions in a closed case and directed the Clerk to return to Plaintiff any further pleading filed by him. Plaintiff “one-upped” the Clerk when he filed a Notice of Appeal from that order; the notice, of course, had to be placed in the case file.
In Matthew Washington v. James T. Morris, et al., Plaintiff set out to sue a host of individuals, including the Superior Court judge who presided over his trial and the attorney who defended him in that trial. Plaintiff filed the complaint on May 20, 1993, and sought to amend it on June 7, 1993, July 21, 1993, July 23, 1993, November 2, 1993, November 5, 1993, December 14, 1993, December 22, 1993, January 23, 1995, March 2, 1995, March 29, 1995, and on October 20, 1995. At least one of these Motions to Amend sought to add Magistrate Judge James E. Graham as a party defendant. Plaintiff filed fifty-four pleadings in that case, all of which required the considered attention of Judge Anthony A. Alaimo or Magistrate Graham.
The motions ranged from the mundane, such as “Motion for Change of Venue”, to the arcane, such as “Motion for Cesset pro Cessus” and “Motion for Judex Delegatus”, to the curious, such as “Motion for Nunc pro Tunc” and “Motion for Psychoanalysis”, to the outlandish, such as “Motion to Impeach Judge Alaimo” and “Motion to Renounce Citizenship” and “Motion to Exhume Body of Alex Hodgson”. Plaintiff also filed numerous interlocutory appeals, which required the attention and utilization of the resources of the Court of Appeals. The case was disposed of on the pleadings in Defendants’ favor. Plaintiff has filed an appeal.
Plaintiff’s other cases in this district demonstrate that his litigation practice continues with the same themes as described above. In Matthew Washington v. Dr. Joseph H. Owens, Jr., Plaintiff filed some ten motions to amend, moved to disqualify the undersigned judge, and also expressed his contempt for the undersigned judge by filing a “Motion to Invoke and Execute Rule 15–Retroactive Note: The Court’s School Days are Over”. This Court dismissed Plaintiff’s complaint upon motion by the Defendant. The case currently is on appeal. In Matthew Washington v. Ronald Fountain, et al., Plaintiff has already filed thirteen motions to amend, including one which sought to add President Clinton as a party. Plaintiff also sought to disqualify the undersigned judge and again invoked the mysterious “Rule 15″. The case has been reassigned to Chief Judge B. Avant Edenfield and is still pending.
In the instant case, Plaintiff has sued all of the judges and one magistrate judge from this District as well as one judge and one magistrate judge from the Middle District of Georgia. Plaintiff also unsuccessfully tried to join Judge Michael Karpf of the Superior Court of Chatham County and United States Senator Sam Nunn. His five motions to amend are overshadowed by the “Motion to Kiss My Ass” which Plaintiff filed (apparently to express his frustration with Magistrate Judge G.R. Smith’s refusal to allow the addition of Judge Karpf and Senator Nunn). This case has been pending less than one year and already Plaintiff has filed three interlocutory appeals. Likewise, in Matthew Washington v. R.D. Collins, et al., Plaintiff has already filed three frivolous interlocutory appeals in a case which is only several months old.
In Matthew Washington v. Dr. Joseph H. Owens, Plaintiff has filed a “Motion for Skin Change Operation” in which he desired the government to fund a sex change for him. When Magistrate Judge W. Leon Barfield denied the motion, Plaintiff filed a “Motion to Impeach” the magistrate. He also unsuccessfully sought to add the undersigned judge as a party defendant.
In another case which had been originally filed in the Northern District of Georgia, Plaintiff sued the same judges as in this case and also added Ted Turner of CNN International for good measure: “Mr. Turner, a fellow Georgian, is and has violated the ‘Free Press’ of which he ‘supposedly stands’ with his cartel and CBS endeavors to do the same.” Recently, he filed a “Motion for Catered Food Services” in which he complained about the prison food and moved for a court order allowing him to “receive catered food from some credible responsible business establishment preferred and paid for by Plaintiff.”
The case is Washington v. Alaimo, 934 F. Supp. 1395 (S.D. Ga. 1996).