Docket Fee for Post Conviction Relief

The docket fee for the filing of a petition for post-conviction relief is $ 140.00. See Ala. Code 1975, 12-19-71(3); Rule 32.6(a), Ala. R. Crim. P. "To impose any financial consideration between an indigent prisoner and the exercise of his right to sue for his liberty is to deny that prisoner equal protection of the laws." Hoppins v. State, 451 So. 2d 363, 364 (Ala. Crim. App. 1982) (citing Smith v. Bennett, 365 U.S. 708, 6 L. Ed. 2d 39, 81 S. Ct. 895 (1961)). "While habeas corpus may, of course, be found to be a civil action for procedural purposes, it does not follow that its availability in testing the State's right to detain an indigent prisoner may be subject to the payment of a filing fee." Smith, 365 U.S. at 712. "In order to prevent 'effectively foreclosed access' to the courts, indigent prisoners must be allowed to file appeals and habeas corpus petitions without payment of docket fees." Bounds v. Smith, 430 U.S. 817, 822, 52 L. Ed. 2d 72, 97 S. Ct. 1491 (1977). A writ of mandamus "is the proper method by which to compel the circuit court to proceed on an in forma pauperis petition." Goldsmith v. State, 709 So. 2d 1352, 1353 (Ala. Crim. App. 1997). Although the trial court can require the payment of a docket fee when it finds that a Rule 32 petitioner is not indigent, see