Acevedo et al v. Gonzales et al

Filing 25

ORDER denying Defendants' 19 Motion for Appointment of Counsel and Interpreter. Signed by Judge Steven P Logan on 7/9/14.(CLB)

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1 WO 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA 8 9 Enrique Vargas Acevedo and Jorge Luis Amaya, 10 Plaintiffs, 11 vs. 12 Frida Gonzales and Walter Salazar, 13 Defendants. 14 ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) No. CV-13-01841-PHX-SPL ORDER 15 16 Before the Court is Defendants’ Motion for Appointment of Counsel and 17 Interpreter (Doc. 19). Defendants argue that both counsel and an interpreter should be 18 appointed in this action because they “Don’t Speak English” and “don’t have a 19 Law[y]er.” This case was reassigned to this Court on July 1, 2014. (Doc. 23.) 20 A. Appointment of Counsel 21 There is no constitutional right to the appointment of counsel in a civil case. See 22 Johnson v. U.S. Dep’t of Treasury, 939 F.2d 820, 824 (9th Cir. 1991); Ivey v. Bd of 23 Regents of the Univ. of Alaska, 673 F.2d 266, 269 (9th Cir. 1982). “However, a court may 24 under ‘exceptional circumstances’ appoint counsel for indigent civil litigants pursuant to 25 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1).” Palmer v. Valdez, 560 F.3d 965, 970 (9th Cir. 2009) (quoting 26 Agyeman v. Corrs. Corp. of Am., 390 F.3d 1101, 1103 (9th Cir. 2004)). See also 28 27 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1) (“The court may request an attorney to represent any person unable 28 to afford counsel”) (emphasis added). “When determining whether ‘exceptional 1 circumstances’ exist, a court must consider ‘the likelihood of success on the merits as 2 well as the ability of the [litigant] to articulate his claims pro se in light of the complexity 3 of the legal issues involved.’” Palmer, 560 F.3d at 970 (quoting Weygandt v. Look, 718 4 F.2d 952, 954 (9th Cir. 1983)); see also Terrell v. Brewer, 935 F.2d 1015, 1017 (9th Cir. 5 1991). “Neither of these considerations is dispositive and instead must be viewed 6 together.” Palmer, 560 F.3d at 970 (citing Wilborn v. Escalderon, 789 F.2d 1328, 1331 7 (9th Cir. 1986)). 8 First, Defendants have not proffered any evidence of indigency in order to merit 9 use of the Court’s resources. Second, Defendants have not shown that exceptional 10 circumstances are present that would require the appointment of counsel in this case. 11 Defendants have not demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits at this early 12 stage, nor have they shown that they are experiencing difficulty in litigating this case 13 because of the complexity of the issues involved. Defendants’ filings in this case indicate 14 that they are capable of navigating the proceedings and can sufficiently articulate their 15 arguments to the Court. (See Docs. 14, 18.) Defendants are in no different position than 16 many pro se litigants. Having failed to show that exceptional circumstances are present, 17 Defendants’ request for appointment of counsel will be denied. 18 B. Appointment of Interpreter 19 Defendants further request a court-appointed interpreter in this action. Again, 20 Defendants have not proffered any evidence of indigency in order to merit use of the 21 Court’s resources. Furthermore, Defendants have not shown that this Court has the 22 authority to appoint them an interpreter. “[T]he expenditure of public funds [on behalf of 23 an indigent litigant] is proper only when authorized by Congress ....“ Tedder v. Odel, 890 24 F.2d 210, 211–12 (9th Cir. 1989) (quoting United States v. MacCollom, 426 U.S. 317, 25 321 (1976)). The Court is unaware of any authority that permits the expenditure of public 26 funds for a court-appointed interpreter in a civil action. The in forma pauperis statute 27 does not authorize the expenditure of public funds for court-appointed interpreters. See 28 28 U.S.C. § 1915; compare Fed. R. Civ. P. 43(d) (granting discretion to appoint an 2 1 interpreter at trial). Further, although English may not be Defendants’ preferred 2 language, there is no indication that the difficulties imposed by their language limitations 3 preclude them from preparing a defense or communicating with the Court. Defendants 4 have demonstrated sufficient proficiency in the English language through their prior 5 filings. Therefore, Defendants’ request for a court-appointed interpreter will also be 6 denied. Accordingly, 7 8 9 IT IS ORDERED that Defendants’ Motion for Appointment of Counsel and Interpreter (Doc. 19) is denied. Dated this 9th day of July, 2014. 10 11 Honorable Steven P. Logan United States District Judge 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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