Stafford v. Doss et al

Filing 13

ORDER signed by Magistrate Judge Craig M. Kellison on 6/20/2017 DENYING 11 Motion to Appoint Counsel. (Henshaw, R)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 JOSEPH ANTHONY STAFFORD, 12 13 14 15 Plaintiff, vs. ORDER DOSS, et al., Defendants. 16 17 18 19 No. 2:16-CV-1403-CMK-P / Plaintiff, a prisoner proceeding pro se, brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff seeks the appointment of counsel. The United States Supreme Court has 20 ruled that district courts lack authority to require counsel to represent indigent prisoners in 21 § 1983 cases. See Mallard v. United States Dist. Court, 490 U.S. 296, 298 (1989). In certain 22 exceptional circumstances, the court may request the voluntary assistance of counsel pursuant to 23 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1). See Terrell v. Brewer, 935 F.2d 1015, 1017 (9th Cir. 1991); Wood v. 24 Housewright, 900 F.2d 1332, 1335-36 (9th Cir. 1990). A finding of “exceptional 25 circumstances” requires an evaluation of both the likelihood of success on the merits and the 26 ability of the plaintiff to articulate his claims on his own in light of the complexity of the legal 1 1 issues involved. See Terrell, 935 F.2d at 1017. Neither factor is dispositive and both must be 2 viewed together before reaching a decision. See id. 3 In the present case, the court does not at this time find the required exceptional 4 circumstances. First, the legal issue involved in the case – whether plaintiff suffered retaliation 5 in violation of the First Amendment – is not complex. Second, plaintiff has demonstrated an 6 ability to articulate his claims sufficiently on his own. Third, plaintiff’s motion sets forth no 7 circumstances which could be considered exceptional. Plaintiff states that he is incarcerated and 8 indigent, circumstances which are common to almost every prisoner case. Finally, at this early 9 stage of the proceeds before service has been ordered, the court cannot say that plaintiff has 10 11 12 demonstrated any particular likelihood of success on the merits of his claims. Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff’s request for the appointment of counsel (Doc. 11) is denied. 13 14 15 16 DATED: June 20, 2017 ______________________________________ CRAIG M. KELLISON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 2

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