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Opinion of the Court
is “entitled to weight”). In reviewing a § 1915(d) dismissal for abuse of discretion, it would be appropriate for the Court of Appeals to consider, among other things, whether the plaintiff was proceeding pro se, see Haines v. Kerner, 404 U. S. 519, 520–521 (1972); whether the court inappropriately resolved genuine issues of disputed fact, see supra, at 32–33; whether the court applied erroneous legal conclusions, see Boag, 454 U. S., at 365, n.; whether the court has provided a statement explaining the dismissal that facilitates "intelligent appellate review,” ibid.; and whether the dismissal was with or without prejudice.
With respect to this last factor: Because a § 1915(d) dismissal is not a dismissal on the merits, but rather an exercise of the court's discretion under the in forma pauperis statute, the dismissal does not prejudice the filing of a paid complaint making the same allegations. It could, however, have a res judicata effect on frivolousness determinations for future in forma pauperis petitions. See, e. g., Bryant v. Civiletti, 214 U. S. App. D. C. 109, 110–111, 663 F. 2d 286, 287–288, n. 1 (1981) ($ 1915(d) dismissal for frivolousness is res judicata); Warren v. McCall, 709 F. 2d 1183, 1186, and n. 7 (CA7 1983) (same); cf. Rogers v. Bruntrager, 841 F. 2d 853, 855 (CA8 1988) (noting that application of res judicata principles after $ 1915(d) dismissal can be "somewhat problematical”). Therefore, if it appears that frivolous factual allegations could be remedied through more specific pleading, a court of appeals reviewing a § 1915(d) disposition should consider whether the district court abused its discretion by dismissing the complaint with prejudice or without leave to amend. Because it is not properly before us, we express no opinion on the Ninth Circuit rule, applied below, that a pro se litigant bringing suit in forma pauperis is entitled to notice and an opportunity to amend the complaint to overcome any deficiency unless it is clear that no amendment can cure the defect. E. g., Potter v. McCall, 433 F. 2d 1087, 1088 (1970); Noll v. Carlson, 809 F. 2d 1446 (1987).
STEVENS, J., dissenting
Accordingly, we vacate the judgment below and remand the case for proceedings consistent with this opinion.
It is so ordered.
JUSTICE STEVENS, with whom JUSTICE BLACKMUN joins, dissenting.
My disagreement with the Court is narrow. I agree with its articulation of the standard to be applied in determining whether an in forma pauperis complaint is frivolous under 28 U. S. C. $ 1915(d). Moreover, precedent supports the Court's decision to remand the case without expressing any view on the proper application of that standard to the facts of the case. See, e. g., Rufo v. Inmates of Suffolk County Jail, 502 U. S. 367 (1992). Nevertheless, because I am satisfied that the decision of the Court of Appeals is entirely consistent with the standard announced today, I would affirm its judgment.
UNITED STATES v. WILLIAMS
CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR
THE TENTH CIRCUIT
No. 90–1972. Argued January 22, 1992—Decided May 4, 1992 Respondent Williams was indicted by a federal grand jury for alleged
violations of 18 U. S. C. $ 1014. On his motion, the District Court ordered the indictment dismissed without prejudice because the Government had failed to fulfill its obligation under Circuit precedent to present “substantial exculpatory evidence” to the grand jury. Following
that precedent, the Court of Appeals affirmed. Held:
1. The argument that the petition should be dismissed as improvidently granted because the question presented was not raised below was considered and rejected when this Court granted certiorari and is rejected again here. The Court will not review a question that was neither pressed nor passed on below, see, e. g., Stevens v. Department of Treasury, 500 U. S. 1, 8, but there is no doubt that the Court of Appeals passed on the crucial issue of the prosecutor's duty to present exculpatory evidence to the grand jury. It is appropriate to review an important issue expressly decided by a federal court where, as here, although the petitioner did not contest the issue in the case immediately at hand, it did so as a party to the recent proceeding upon which the lower courts relied for their resolution of the issue, and did not concede in the current case the correctness of that precedent. Pp. 40–45.
2. A district court may not dismiss an otherwise valid indictment because the Government failed to disclose to the grand jury “substantial exculpatory evidence" in its possession. Pp. 45–55.
(a) Imposition of the Court of Appeals' disclosure rule is not supported by the courts' inherent “supervisory power” to formulate procedural rules not specifically required by the Constitution or the Congress. This Court's cases relying upon that power deal strictly with the courts' control over their own procedures, whereas the grand jury is an institution separate from the courts, over whose functioning the courts do not preside. Any power federal courts may have to fashion, on their own initiative, rules of grand jury procedure is very limited and certainly would not permit the reshaping of the grand jury institution that would be the consequence of the proposed rule here. Pp. 45–50.
(b) The Court of Appeals' rule would neither preserve nor enhance the traditional functioning of the grand jury that the "common law” of
Opinion of the Court
the Fifth Amendment demands. To the contrary, requiring the prosecutor to present exculpatory as well as inculpatory evidence would alter the grand jury's historical role, transforming it from an accusatory body that sits to assess whether there is adequate basis for bringing a criminal charge into an adjudicatory body that sits to determine guilt or innocence. Because it has always been thought sufficient for the grand jury to hear only the prosecutor's side, and, consequently that the suspect has no right to present, and the grand jury no obligation to consider, exculpatory evidence, it would be incompatible with the traditional system to impose upon the prosecutor a legal obligation to present such evidence. Moreover, motions to quash indictments based upon the sufficiency of the evidence relied upon by the grand jury have never been allowed, and it would make little sense to abstain from reviewing the evidentiary support for the grand jury's judgment while scrutinizing the sufficiency of the prosecutor's presentation. Pp. 51–55.
(c) This Court need not pursue respondent's argument that the Court of Appeals' rule would save valuable judicial time. If there is
any advantage to the proposal, Congress is free to prescribe it. P. 55. 899 F. 2d 898, reversed and remanded.
SCALIA, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which REHNQUIST, C. J., and WHITE, KENNEDY, and SOUTER, JJ., joined. STEVENS, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which BLACKMUN and O'CONNOR, JJ., joined, and in Parts II and III of which THOMAS, J., joined, post, p. 55.
Solicitor General Starr argued the cause for the United States. With him on the briefs were Assistant Attorney General Mueller, Deputy Solicitor General Bryson, and Michael R. Dreeben.
James C. Lang argued the cause for respondent. With him on the brief were G. Steven Stidham, Joel L. Wohlgemuth, and John E. Dowdell.*
JUSTICE SCALIA delivered the opinion of the Court.
The question presented in this case is whether a district court may dismiss an otherwise valid indictment because the
* Dan Marmalefsky filed a brief for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers as amicus curiae urging affirmance.
Opinion of the Court
Government failed to disclose to the grand jury "substantial exculpatory evidence" in its possession.
On May 4, 1988, respondent John H. Williams, Jr., a Tulsa, Oklahoma, investor, was indicted by a federal grand jury on seven counts of “knowingly mak[ing] [a] false statement or report ... for the purpose of influencing ... the action [of a federally insured financial institution]," in violation of 18 U. S. C. $ 1014 (1988 ed., Supp. II). According to the indictment, between September 1984 and November 1985 Williams supplied four Oklahoma banks with “materially false” statements that variously overstated the value of his current assets and interest income in order to influence the banks' actions on his loan requests.
Williams' misrepresentation was allegedly effected through two financial statements provided to the banks, a “Market Value Balance Sheet” and a “Statement of Projected Income and Expense.” The former included as "current assets” approximately $6 million in notes receivable from three venture capital companies. Though it contained a disclaimer that these assets were carried at cost rather than at market value, the Government asserted that listing them as "current assets”—i. e., assets quickly reducible to cash—was misleading, since Williams knew that none of the venture capital companies could afford to satisfy the notes in the short term. The second document—the Statement of Projected Income and Expense—allegedly misrepresented Williams' interest income, since it failed to reflect that the interest payments received on the notes of the venture capital companies were funded entirely by Williams' own loans to those companies. The Statement thus falsely implied, according to the Government, that Williams was deriving interest income from "an independent outside source.” Brief for United States 3.