Storey v. Paramo

Filing 32

ORDER Overruling Objections to Denial of Counsel. The Court finds that the interests of justice do not warrant the appointment of counsel at this time, and overrules Storey's objections to Judge Skomal's denial of appointment of counsel. Signed by Judge Larry Alan Burns on 10/19/2017.(All non-registered users served via U.S. Mail Service)(lrf)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 8 SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 9 10 DONTAZE A. STOREY, Case No.: 17cv23-LAB (BGS) Petitioner, 11 12 v. 13 ORDER OVERRULING OBJECTIONS TO DENIAL OF COUNSEL DAINEL PARAMO, Respondent. 14 15 16 After Magistrate Judge Bernard Skomal denied Petitioner Dontaze Storey’s 17 requests for appointment of counsel, Storey objected to Skomal’s order within the 18 deadline set by Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(a). 1 Judge Skomal’s order correctly sets forth the 19 standards for appointment of counsel in federal habeas cases such as this one, and the 20 Court applies those standards without repeating them here. Storey’s objections point out that he is being assisted by another inmate, that 21 22 several of his documents were accepted by discrepancy order, and that the California 23 Supreme Court denied his petition as improperly pled. None of those are reasons for 24 appointment of counsel, however. 25 26 27 28 1 Storey’s objections are styled as his objections to Judge Skomal’s report and recommendation, but the objections address only Judge Skomal’s separate order denying appointment of counsel. 1 17cv23-LAB (BGS) 1 The fact that Storey is being assisted by a “jailhouse lawyer” means he is receiving 2 some assistance already. See Bounds v. Smith, 430 U.S. 817, 823 (1977) (citing Johnson 3 v. Avery, 393 U.S. 483 (1969) (recognizing jailhouse lawyers as providing legal 4 assistance necessary to enable pro se prisoners to prepare and file habeas petitions). The 5 assistance of “jailhouse lawyers” is extremely common, and reliance on one does not by 6 itself suggest that the petitioner needs appointed counsel. 7 The discrepancy orders Storey refers to point out violations of rules. But pro se 8 litigants’ violation of rules is not uncommon, and the Court is mindful of its “duty to 9 ensure that pro se litigants do not lose their right to a hearing on the merits of their claim 10 due to ignorance of technical procedural requirements.” See Balistreri v. Pacifica Police 11 Dept., 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). So far, none of the errors pointed out in the 12 discrepancy orders have been prejudicial to Storey, and there is no likelihood they will 13 be. 14 Finally, the California Supreme Court’s denial of pro se prisoners’ habeas petitions 15 as inadequately pled or improperly litigated is common, and does not indicate any 16 unusual circumstances that would warrant appointment of counsel in this case. To the 17 extent Storey may be suggesting that he needs counsel to assist him with his state 18 petition, the Court has no power to help him with that; the appointment of counsel in state 19 court proceedings is a matter for the state court. See In re Sanders, 21 Cal.4th 697, 717 20 n.11 (1999) (citation omitted) (briefly outlining requirements for appointment of counsel 21 in noncapital habeas cases). 22 The Court finds that the interests of justice do not warrant the appointment of 23 counsel at this time, and OVERRULES Storey’s objections to Judge Skomal’s denial of 24 appointment of counsel. 25 IT IS SO ORDERED. 26 Dated: October 19, 2017 27 28 2 17cv23-LAB (BGS)

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