Watson v. Mississippi County Sheriff's Department
ORDER granting Plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis, 1 . Plaintiff must pay the $350 statutory filing fee. His present custodian is directed to collect an initial partial filing fee of $3.25 and forward the amount alon g with future monthly installments to the Clerk of the Court until the filing fee is paid in full. The Clerk is directed to send a copy of this Order to the Mississippi County Sheriff. Plaintiff's request for appointment of counsel, 3 , is denied. Service is not appropriate at this time. Signed by Magistrate Judge J. Thomas Ray on 3/10/2015. (jak)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
MISSISSIPPI COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT
Plaintiff, James Waston, is a prisoner in the Mississippi County Detention
Facility. He has filed a pro se § 1983 Complaint, an Application to Proceed In Forma
Pauperis, and a request for appointment of counsel.
I. Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis.
The Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) provides that a prisoner who is
permitted to file a civil action in forma pauperis still must pay the full statutory filing
fee of $350. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). The only question is whether a prisoner will pay
the entire filing fee at the initiation of the proceeding or in installments over a period
of time. Ashley v. Dilworth, 147 F.3d 715, 716 (8th Cir. 1998). Even if a prisoner is
without assets and unable to pay an initial filing fee, he will be allowed to proceed
with his § 1983 claims and the filing fee will be collected by the Court in installments
from the prisoner’s inmate trust account. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(4). If the prisoner’s
case is subsequently dismissed for any reason, including a determination that it
is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim, or seeks monetary relief against a
defendant who is immune from such relief, the full amount of the $350 filing fee
will be collected and no portion of this filing fee will be refunded to the prisoner.
Plaintiff has filed a certificate from an authorized official certifying the sums
in his institutional account for the previous six months. Doc. 1. Based on that
information, the Court will assess an initial partial filing fee of $3.25. Upon payment
of the initial partial filing fee, Plaintiff will be obligated to make monthly payments
in the amount of twenty percent (20%) of the preceding month's income credited to
his prison trust account each time the amount in the account exceeds $10.00. See 28
U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2).
II. Request for the Appointment of Counsel
Plaintiff has filed a “Notice to Court,” which is actually a request for the
appointment of counsel. Doc. 3. A pro se litigant does not have a statutory or
constitutional right to have counsel appointed in a civil case. Phillips v. Jasper
County Jail, 437 F.3d 791, 794 (8th Cir. 2006); Stevens v. Redwing, 146 F.3d 538, 546
(8th Cir. 1998). However, the Court may, in its discretion, appoint counsel for a pro
se prisoner if it is convinced that he has stated a non-frivolous claim and that “the
nature of the litigation is such that plaintiff as well as the court will benefit from the
assistance of counsel.” Johnson v. Williams, 788 F.2d 1319, 1322 (8th Cir. 1986).
In making this determination, the Court must weigh and consider the following
factors: (1) the factual and legal complexity of the case; (2) the plaintiff's ability to
investigate the facts; (3) the presence or absence of conflicting testimony; and (4) the
plaintiff's ability to present his claims. Phillips, 437 F.3d at 794.
Plaintiff’s claims are not legally or factually complex. Furthermore, it appears
from the record that he is capable of presenting his claims without the benefit of
appointed counsel. Under these circumstances, the Court concludes that the pertinent
factors do not weigh in favor of appointment of counsel at this time. Thus, Plaintiff’s
request for the appointment of counsel is denied.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED THAT:
Plaintiff’s Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (Doc. 1) is
Plaintiff must pay the statutory filing fee of $350. The Mississippi
County Sheriff is directed to collect from Plaintiff’s institutional account an initial
partial filing fee of $3.25. Thereafter, the Mississippi County Sheriff, or any future
custodian, is directed to collect monthly payments equal to 20% of the preceding
month's income credited to Plaintiff’s institutional account each time the amount in
the account exceeds $10.00. Those payments must be sent to the Clerk of the Court
until a total of $350 has been paid.
The Clerk is directed to send a copy of this Order to the Mississippi
County Sheriff, 685 NCR 599, Luxora, AR 72358.
Plaintiff’s request for appointment of counsel (Doc. 3) is DENIED.
Service is not appropriate at this time.
Dated this 10th day of March, 2015.
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?