In July 1996, Jones attempted to file a petition for mandamus on his own behalf. He was a prisoner in the custody of the Department of Corrections, and sought waiver of filing fees as an indigent. When the trial court denied filing of the petition pursuant to OCGA 9-15-2
Jones filed a direct appeal. See, e.g., Graham v. Ault, 266 Ga.
367 (466 SE2d 213
) (1996). The disposition of this appeal is controlled by the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996, OCGA 42-12-1
Expressing concern about the rising cost of litigation and the burden on the judicial system created by prisoners conducting civil litigation as a "recreational exercise," the General Assembly enacted the Prison Litigation Reform Act during its 1996 session. 2
To rectify the perceived imbalances in the judicial system toward which the Act was directed, the legislature provided procedures for monitoring prisoner litigation (see OCGA 42-12-4
) and placed certain burdens on prisoners seeking to conduct civil litigation. 3
See OCGA 42-12-4
Of particular pertinence to this appeal is the restriction imposed in OCGA 42-12-8
: "Appeals of all actions filed by prisoners shall be as provided in Code Section 5-6-35
." In the cases specified in OCGA 5-6-35
, and now in appeals of civil cases filed by prisoners, there is no right of direct appeal. Instead, the party wishing to appeal must file an application directed to the appropriate appellate court. Failure to file an application when one is necessary requires that the appeal be dismissed. Prison Health Svcs. v. Dept. of Administrative Svcs., 265 Ga. 810 (1) (462 SE2d 601) (1995)
The effective date of OCGA Ch. 42-12 was April 2, 1996. Since
allowing filing and shall return the pleading to the clerk for filing as in other cases. An order denying filing shall be appealable in the same manner as an order dismissing an action.
the action involved here was filed after that date by a prisoner, the statute applies. It follows that an application pursuant to OCGA 5-6-35
was necessary, and that Jones's failure to comply with the discretionary appeal procedure requires dismissal of this action. Prison Health Svcs., supra.