(PC) Valenzuela v. Santiesteban et al

Filing 20

ORDER DENYING 19 Motion to Appoint Counsel signed by Magistrate Judge Barbara A. McAuliffe on 11/20/2020. (Jessen, A)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 MARIO A. VALENZUELA, 12 13 14 15 Plaintiff, Case No. 1:20-cv-01093-NONE-BAM (PC) ORDER DENYING MOTION TO APPOINT COUNSEL v. (ECF No. 19) SANTIESTEBAN, et al., Defendants. 16 17 18 19 Plaintiff Mario A. Valenzuela (“Plaintiff”) is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Currently before the Court is Plaintiff’s renewed motion to appoint counsel, filed 20 November 19, 2020. (ECF No. 19.) In his motion, Plaintiff states that he is requesting 21 appointment of counsel because it is impossible to get access to the law library and he is currently 22 part of the mental health system at the level of CCCMS. Plaintiff also received special education 23 in the past, and it is impossible for him to understand the law. (Id.) 24 As Plaintiff has been informed, he does not have a constitutional right to appointed 25 counsel in this action, Rand v. Rowland, 113 F.3d 1520, 1525 (9th Cir. 1997), rev’d in part on 26 other grounds, 154 F.3d 952, 954 n.1 (9th Cir. 1998), and the court cannot require an attorney to 27 represent plaintiff pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1). Mallard v. U.S. Dist. Court for the S. Dist. 28 of Iowa, 490 U.S. 296, 298 (1989). However, in certain exceptional circumstances the court may 1 1 request the voluntary assistance of counsel pursuant to section 1915(e)(1). Rand, 113 F.3d at 2 1525. 3 Without a reasonable method of securing and compensating counsel, the Court will seek 4 volunteer counsel only in the most serious and exceptional cases. In determining whether 5 “exceptional circumstances exist, a district court must evaluate both the likelihood of success on 6 the merits [and] the ability of the [plaintiff] to articulate his claims pro se in light of the 7 complexity of the legal issues involved.” Id. (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). 8 The Court has considered Plaintiff’s request, but does not find the required exceptional 9 circumstances. Even if it is assumed that Plaintiff is not well versed in the law and that he has 10 made serious allegations which, if proved, would entitle him to relief, his case is not exceptional. 11 This Court is faced with similar cases filed by prisoners who are proceeding pro se almost daily. 12 Many of these prisoners also have limited education and receive mental health treatment. These 13 litigants also must conduct legal research and litigate their cases without the assistance of counsel. 14 Furthermore, at this stage in the proceedings, the Court cannot make a determination that 15 Plaintiff is likely to succeed on the merits. Although Plaintiff’s complaint has been screened and 16 found to state some cognizable claims, this does not alone indicate a likelihood of success on the 17 merits. Finally, based on a review of the record in this case, the Court does not find that Plaintiff 18 cannot adequately articulate his claims. 19 20 Accordingly, Plaintiff’s renewed motion to appoint counsel, (ECF No. 19), is HEREBY DENIED, without prejudice. 21 22 23 24 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: /s/ Barbara November 20, 2020 A. McAuliffe _ UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 25 26 27 28 2

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