Last updated: 7/14/2021
Civil Rights Complaint By PrisonersStart Your Free Trial $ 29.99
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Instructions for a Prisoner Filing a Civil Rights Complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona 1. Who May Use This Form. The civil rights complaint form is designed to help incarcerated persons prepare a complaint seeking relief for a violation of their federal civil rights. These complaints typically concern, but are not limited to, conditions of confinement. This form should not be used to challenge your conviction or sentence. If you want to challenge a state conviction or sentence, you should file a petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 for a writ of habeas corpus by a person in state custody. If you want to challenge a federal conviction or sentence, you should file a motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to vacate sentence in the federal court that entered the judgment. 2. The Form. Local Rule of Civil Procedure (LRCiv) 3.4(a) provides that complaints by incarcerated persons must be filed on the court-approved form. The form must be typed or neatly handwritten. The form must be completely filled in to the extent applicable. All questions must be answered clearly and concisely in the appropriate space on the form. If needed, you may attach additional pages, but no more than fifteen additional pages, of standard letter-sized paper. You must identify which part of the complaint is being continued and number all pages. If you do not fill out the form properly, you will be asked to submit additional or corrected information, which may delay the processing of your action. You do not need to cite law. 3. Your Signature. You must tell the truth and sign the form. If you make a false statement of a material fact, you may be prosecuted for perjury. 4. The Filing and Administrative Fees. The total fees for this action are $400.00 ($350.00 filing fee plus $50.00 administrative fee). If you are unable to immediately pay the fees, you may request leave to proceed in forma pauperis. Please review the "Information for Prisoners Seeking Leave to Proceed with a (Non-Habeas) Civil Action in Federal Court In Forma Pauperis Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915" for additional instructions. 5. Original and Judge's Copy. You must send an original plus one copy of your complaint and of any other documents submitted to the Court. You must send one additional copy to the Court if you wish to have a file-stamped copy of the document returned to you. All copies must be identical to the original. Copies may be legibly handwritten. 6. Where to File. You should file your complaint in the division where you were confined when your rights were allegedly violated. See LRCiv 5.1(a) and 77.1(a). If you were confined in Maricopa, Pinal, Yuma, La Paz, or Gila County, file in the Phoenix Division. If you were confined in Apache, Navajo, Coconino, Mohave, or Yavapai County, file in the Prescott Division. If you were confined in Pima, Cochise, Santa Cruz, Graham, or Greenlee County, file in the Tucson Division. Mail the original and one copy of the complaint with the $400 filing and administrative fees or the application to proceed in forma pauperis to: Revised 5/1/2013 1 American LegalNet, Inc. www.FormsWorkFlow.com Phoenix & Prescott Divisions: OR U.S. District Court Clerk U.S. Courthouse, Suite 130 401 West Washington Street, SPC 10 Phoenix, Arizona 85003-2119 Tucson Division: U.S. District Court Clerk U.S. Courthouse, Suite 1500 405 West Congress Street Tucson, Arizona 85701-5010 7. Change of Address. You must immediately notify the Court and the defendants in writing of any change in your mailing address. Failure to notify the Court of any change in your mailing address may result in the dismissal of your case. 8. Certificate of Service. You must furnish the defendants with a copy of any document you submit to the Court (except the initial complaint and application to proceed in forma pauperis). Each original document (except the initial complaint and application to proceed in forma pauperis) must include a certificate of service on the last page of the document stating the date a copy of the document was mailed to the defendants and the address to which it was mailed. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 5(a), (d). Any document received by the Court that does not include a certificate of service may be stricken. A certificate of service should be in the following form: I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was mailed this (month, day, year) to: Name: Address: Attorney for Defendant(s) (Signature) 9. Amended Complaint. If you need to change any of the information in the initial complaint, you must file an amended complaint. The amended complaint must be written on the court-approved civil rights complaint form. You may file one amended complaint without leave (permission) of Court before any defendant has answered your original complaint. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a). After any defendant has filed an answer, you must file a motion for leave to amend and lodge (submit) a proposed amended complaint. LRCiv 15.1. In addition, an amended complaint may not incorporate by reference any part of your prior complaint. LRCiv 15.1(a)(2). Any allegations or defendants not included in the amended complaint are considered dismissed. All amended complaints are subject to screening under the Prison Litigation Reform Act; screening your amendment will take additional processing time. 10. Exhibits. You should not submit exhibits with the complaint or amended complaint. Instead, the relevant information should be paraphrased. You should keep the exhibits to use to support or oppose a motion to dismiss, a motion for summary judgment, or at trial. 11. Letters and Motions. It is generally inappropriate to write a letter to any judge or the staff of any judge. The only appropriate way to communicate with the Court is by filing a written pleading or motion. 2 American LegalNet, Inc. www.FormsWorkFlow.com 12. Completing the Civil Rights Complaint Form. HEADING: 1. Your Name. Print your name, prison or inmate number, and institutional mailing address on the lines provided. 2. Defendants. If there are four or fewer defendants, print the name of each. If you name more than four defendants, print the name of the first defendant on the first line, write the words "and others" on the second line, and attach an additional page listing the names of all of the defendants. Insert the additional page after page 1 and number it "1-A" at the bottom. 3. Jury Demand. If you want a jury trial, you must write "JURY TRIAL DEMANDED" in the space