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Richardson v. Commonwealth, Department of Corrections

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania

July 30, 2014

David D. Richardson, Appellant
v.
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Corrections, John E. Wetzel, Secretary

Submitted June 6, 2014

Page 431

Appealed from No. 2013 Civil 3434. Common Pleas Court of the County of Mercer. Yeatts, J.

David D. Richardson, Pro se.

Chase M. Defelice, Assistant Counsel, Mechanicsburg, for appellees.

BEFORE: HONORABLE DAN PELLEGRINI, President Judge, HONORABLE ROBERT SIMPSON, Judge, HONORABLE ANNE E. COVEY, Judge.

OPINION

Page 432

COVEY, JUDGE

David D. Richardson (Richardson), pro se, an inmate at State Correctional Institution -- Mercer (SCI-Mercer), appeals from the Mercer County Common Pleas Court's (trial court) December 27, 2013 order sustaining the preliminary objections filed by the Department of Corrections and Secretary John E. Wetzel (collectively, Department) and dismissing with prejudice Richardson's complaint challenging the constitutionality of Section 6602(f) of the statute commonly known as the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), 42 Pa.C.S. § 6602(f). The sole issue for this Court's review is whether Richardson failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. Upon review, we vacate the trial court's order, assume original jurisdiction, and after consideration of the Department's preliminary objections, we sustain the preliminary objections and dismiss Richardson's complaint.

Richardson filed several legal actions which were dismissed under Section 6602(f) of the PLRA,[1] known as the " three strikes rule." This Section permits a court to revoke a prisoner's in forma pauperis status:

if the [prisoner] filed three or more civil actions involving prison conditions and these civil actions have been dismissed as frivolous or malicious or for failure to state a claim. When a [prisoner's] in forma pauperis status is revoked, a court may dismiss the [prisoner's] complaint if the [prisoner] thereafter fails to pay the filing fees and costs associated with the litigation.

Brown v. Dep't of Corr., 58 A.3d 118, 121 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2012).

On October 16, 2013, Richardson filed a complaint with the trial court requesting the trial court to declare Section 6602(f) of the PLRA unconstitutional in violation of the Due Process Clauses of the 14th Amendment to the United States (U.S.) Constitution[2] and Article 1, Section 26 of the Pennsylvania Constitution,[3] and/or ...


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