Helton v. Spearman et al
ORDER signed by Magistrate Judge Carolyn K. Delaney on 9/28/2017 GRANTING 11 Motion for Extension of Time and DENYING without prejudice 12 Motion for the Appointment of Counsel. Plaintiff granted 30 days from the date of this order in which to file an amended complaint. (Henshaw, R)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
RICHARD J. HELTON,
No. 2:17-cv-1694 CKD P
MARION E. SPEARMAN, et al.,
Plaintiff has filed a motion for extension of time to file an amended complaint. Good
cause appearing, plaintiff’s request will be granted.
Plaintiff has also filed a motion requesting the appointment of counsel. ECF No. 12.
District courts lack authority to require counsel to represent indigent prisoners in section 1983
cases. Mallard v. United States Dist. Court, 490 U.S. 296, 298 (1989). In exceptional
circumstances, the court may request an attorney to voluntarily represent such a plaintiff. See 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1). Terrell v. Brewer, 935 F.2d 1015, 1017 (9th Cir. 1991); Wood v.
Housewright, 900 F.2d 1332, 1335-36 (9th Cir. 1990). When determining whether “exceptional
circumstances” exist, the court must consider plaintiff’s likelihood of success on the merits as
well as the ability of the plaintiff to articulate his claims pro se in light of the complexity of the
legal issues involved. Palmer v. Valdez, 560 F.3d 965, 970 (9th Cir. 2009) (district court did not
abuse discretion in declining to appoint counsel). The burden of demonstrating exceptional
circumstances is on the plaintiff. Id. Circumstances common to most prisoners, such as lack of
legal education and limited law library access, do not establish exceptional circumstances that
warrant a request for voluntary assistance of counsel.
Having considered the factors under Palmer, the court finds that plaintiff has failed to
meet his burden of demonstrating exceptional circumstances warranting the appointment of
counsel at this time.
Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that
1. Plaintiff’s motion for an extension of time (ECF No. 11) is granted;
2. Plaintiff is granted thirty days from the date of this order in which to file an amended
3. Plaintiff’s motion for the appointment of counsel (ECF No. 12) is denied without
Dated: September 28, 2017
CAROLYN K. DELANEY
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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