COUNTIES AND COUNTY LAW
31-3220. Inability to pay fees — Definitions — Affidavit. (1) For purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:
(a) "Action" means any civil suit, action, proceeding or appeal of any such action, including a habeas corpus action, but excluding proceedings brought pursuant to chapter 49, title 19, Idaho Code.
(b) "Court" means the district court (including its magistrates division), the court of appeals of Idaho or the supreme court of Idaho.
(c) "Frivolous" means a claim which has no arguable basis in law or fact, or is substantially similar to a previous claim that has been dismissed with prejudice or is barred by res judicata or collateral estoppel.
(d) "Indigent" means a person who is not a prisoner, as defined in section 31-3220A, Idaho Code, and who is found by the court to be unable to pay fees, costs or give security for the purpose of prepayment of fees, costs or security in a civil action.
(e) "Malicious" means a claim which appears to be intended solely to harass the party.
(2) The court may authorize the commencement or defense of any action without prepayment of fees, costs or security, by any indigent person not a prisoner, providing:
(a) The person files an affidavit that he is indigent as provided in subsection (3) of this section, and unable to pay fees, costs or give security; and
(b) The court finds, after informal inquiry, that the person is indigent for the purpose of prepayment of fees, costs or security.
(3) The affidavit shall contain complete information as to:
(a) The person’s identity;
(b) The nature and amount of his income;
(c) His spouse’s income;
(d) The real and personal property owned;
(e) His cash or checking accounts;
(f) His dependents;
(g) His debts;
(h) His monthly expenses;
(i) The nature of the action;
(j) The affiant’s belief that he is entitled to redress.
The affidavit shall also contain the following statements: "I am unable to pay the court costs. I verify that the statements made in this affidavit are true and correct." The affidavit shall be sworn as required by law.
(4) No fees, costs or security shall be waived at the commencement of an action if the court finds and certifies in writing that the action is frivolous, malicious or otherwise not taken in good faith.
(5) Upon the filing of an affidavit as set forth in this section and a finding that the person is indigent, the court may direct that the expense of printing the record and/or transcript for use on appeal be paid out of the district court fund of the county in which the action was filed.
(6) The officers of the court shall issue and serve all process, and perform all duties in cases in which the person is found by the court to be indigent. Witnesses shall attend as in other cases, and the same remedies shall be available in other civil cases. Payment of fees for service of process and witnesses, where required, shall be paid out of the district court fund of the county in which the action is filed.
(7) The court may retroactively require payment for any fees, costs or security which may have been waived in the action if the court finds that any allegation contained in the affidavit of inability to pay fees is untrue, or if the court is satisfied that the action is frivolous or malicious.
(8) Judgment may be entered for attorney fees and costs at the conclusion of the action as in other cases. If the cost of the transcript or printed record has been paid out of the district court fund for the prevailing party, that party may be taxed in favor of the district court fund.
[31-3220, added 1977, ch. 228, sec. 1, p. 680; am. 1979, ch. 222, sec. 1, p. 617; am. 1996, ch. 420, sec. 6, p. 1402.]