Supreme Judicial Court (December 13, 2007)

G.L. c. 261, § 29 is not applicable to obtain a fee waiver for an inmate appealing his commitment as a sexually dangerous person (SDP).

De'Amicis was adjudicated and committed as a SDP. De'Amicis' motion for an appeal without payment of entry fees was denied, because it did not meet the indigency requirements of G.L. c. 261, § 29. On appeal, De'Amicis argued that G. L. c. 261, § 29 does not apply to individuals appealing SDP commitments.

The SJC held that § 29 applies only to a civil "action" that an inmate commences against a government agency, official or employee. An "appeal," in contrast, seeks to have a decision reconsidered. Therefore, as a matter of statutory interpretation, the requirements of § 29 do not apply to an inmate appealing his SDP commitment.