The top federal judge in Colorado has ordered imprisoned neo-Nazi Matt Hale to cough up more than $5,000 to repay money spent by the government as it successfully fought off his 2014 lawsuit.
In an order issued Oct. 2, Marcia Krieger, the chief judge of Colorado’s federal court, acknowledged Hale is broke but said that’s no reason to let him off the hook for the bills the federal government racked up by having to respond to his suit.
Hale, who refers to himself as the "Pontifex Maximus" of a neo-Nazi group that wants to fight a “racial holy war,” filed the suit in January 2014, claiming that the federal prison system was violating his religious freedom by barring him from receiving hundreds of letters and various pieces of racist literature.
Krieger had already ruled against Hale in March. She said his group, the Creativity Movement, doesn’t qualify as a church despite its “many accoutrements of religion” because its beliefs “are derived entirely from secular concerns.”
Followers of the Creativity Movement believe the white race is the highest expression of culture and civilization and consider Jews and non-whites subhuman. In 1999, during the Fourth of July weekend, a supporter and confidant of Hale went on a days-long shooting spree in Illinois and Indiana targeting minorities. The perpetrator, Benjamin Smith, killed two people and injured 10.
Last week’s follow-up order stuck Hale with the bill for $2,888 in printing fees and $2,338.35 in fees related to depositions that the U.S. Bureau of Prisons spent in the suit.
Hale originally sought $10 million in damages. After he lost, he argued that he shouldn’t have to pay the government’s costs because the Bureau of Prisons has more money than he does.
“Mr. Hale makes much of the difference in size between him, the indigent party, and the BOP, arguing that it is unfair to award costs to the BOP given its vast resources,” Krieger noted in her order. “The Court cannot find any authority to suggest that the relative resources between the parties are relevant in considering the nonprevailing party’s indigence.”
Hale was sentenced in 2005 to 40 years in prison for plotting to assassinate a federal judge. The Creativity Movement, previously known as World Church of the Creator, has largely splintered since his imprisonment. He is currently serving time at the Supermax prison complex in Florence, Colorado, and is scheduled for release in 2037.
Read the judge's order:
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