Stutson v. Bureau of Prisons

Filing 80

ORDER by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers denying without prejudice 79 Motion to Appoint Counsel. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate/Proof of Service) (fs, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 1/16/2013)

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1 2 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 3 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 4 5 6 TANYA STUTSON, 7 8 9 10 Plaintiff, Case No.: 11-CV-03979 YGR ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL vs. WARDEN REED et al., Defendant(s). Northern District of California United States District Court 11 12 The Court has reviewed Plaintiff’s Motion for Appointment of Counsel. 13 In contrast to criminal proceedings, there generally is no constitutional right to counsel in civil 14 actions. United States v. 30.64 Acres of Land, 795 F.2d 796, 801 (9th Cir. 1986) (“There is normally 15 … no constitutional right to counsel in a civil case.”). In proceedings in forma pauperis, the Court 16 has the statutory power only to “request an attorney to represent any person unable to afford counsel.” 17 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1). This decision of whether to request counsel is within the discretion of the 18 district court and is “granted only in exceptional circumstances.” See Agyeman v. Corr. Corp. of Am., 19 390 F.3d 1101, 1103 (9th Cir. 2004) (quoting Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1236 (9th Cir. 20 1984)). Deciding whether “exceptional circumstances” exist requires an evaluation of the likelihood 21 of plaintiff’s success on the merits as well as the ability of the plaintiff to articulate her claims pro se 22 in light of the complexity of the legal issues. Wilborn v. Escalderon, 789 F.2d 1328, 1331 (9th Cir. 23 1986) (citing Weygandt v. Look, 718 F.2d 952, 954 (9th Cir. 1983)). 24 At this stage of the proceedings, where Plaintiff’s complaint has been dismissed and there is 25 no operative complaint on file, the Court is unable to determine whether the exceptional 26 circumstances required for requesting counsel are present here. Accordingly, Plaintiff’s Motion for 27 Appointment of Counsel is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. The Court may reconsider on its own 28 motion and request appointment of counsel later in the proceedings. 1 The Court advises Plaintiff that a Handbook for Pro Se Litigants, which contains helpful 2 information about proceeding without an attorney, is available in the Clerk’s office or through the 3 Court’s website, The Court also advises Plaintiff that additional assistance 4 may be available by making an appointment with the Legal Help Center. There is no fee for this 5 service. To make an appointment with the Legal Help Center in San Francisco, Plaintiff may visit the 6 San Francisco Courthouse, located at 450 Golden Gate Avenue, 15th Floor, Room 2796, San 7 Francisco, California, 94102, or call 415/782-9000 (ext. 8657). To make an appointment with the 8 Federal Legal Assistance Self-Help Center in San Jose, Plaintiff may visit the San Jose Federal 9 Courthouse, located at 280 South 1st Street, 4th Floor, Rooms 4093 & 4095, San Jose, California, Northern District of California 95113, or call 408/297-1480. Please visit the Court’s website or call the phone numbers listed above 11 United States District Court 10 for current office hours, forms and policies. 12 13 14 15 This Order Terminates Docket Number 79. IT IS SO ORDERED. Date: January 16, 2013 _______________________________________ YVONNE GONZALEZ ROGERS UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 2

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