Jones v. Wichita Detention Center et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ENTERED: Plaintiff's Motion to Appoint Counsel 3 is denied without prejudice. Signed by U.S. Senior District Judge Sam A. Crow on 10/20/17. Mailed to pro se party Thaddeus Jones by regular mail. (smnd)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF KANSAS
CASE NO. 17-3083-SAC-DJW
WICHITA DETENTION CENTER,
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Plaintiff brings this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff is a
pretrial detainee at the Sedgwick County Detention Facility in Wichita, Kansas (“SCDF”).
Plaintiff’s Complaint alleges two incidents of excessive force. This matter is before the Court on
Plaintiff’s Motion to Appoint Counsel (Doc. 3).
Plaintiff filed a motion for appointment of counsel, alleging that he is indigent, the issues
involved in this case are complex, the case will involve credibility issues, and Plaintiff has
limited knowledge of the law.
The Court has considered Plaintiff’s motion for appointment of counsel. There is no
constitutional right to appointment of counsel in a civil case. Durre v. Dempsey, 869 F.2d 543,
547 (10th Cir. 1989); Carper v. DeLand, 54 F.3d 613, 616 (10th Cir. 1995). The decision
whether to appoint counsel in a civil matter lies in the discretion of the district court. Williams v.
Meese, 926 F.2d 994, 996 (10th Cir. 1991). “The burden is on the applicant to convince the
court that there is sufficient merit to his claim to warrant the appointment of counsel.” Steffey v.
Orman, 461 F.3d 1218, 1223 (10th Cir. 2006) (quoting Hill v. SmithKline Beecham Corp., 393
F.3d 1111, 1115 (10th Cir. 2004)). It is not enough “that having counsel appointed would have
assisted [the prisoner] in presenting his strongest possible case, [as] the same could be said in
any case.” Steffey, 461 F.3d at 1223 (quoting Rucks v. Boergermann, 57 F.3d 978, 979 (10th Cir.
In deciding whether to appoint counsel, courts must evaluate “the merits of a prisoner’s
claims, the nature and complexity of the factual and legal issues, and the prisoner’s ability to
investigate the facts and present his claims.” Hill, 393 F.3d at 1115 (citing Rucks, 57 F.3d at
979). The Court concludes in this case that (1) it is not clear at this juncture that Plaintiff has
asserted a colorable claim against a named defendant; (2) the issues are not complex; and (3)
Plaintiff appears capable of adequately presenting facts and arguments. The Court denies the
motion without prejudice to refiling the motion if Plaintiff’s Complaint survives screening.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED BY THE COURT that Plaintiff’s Motion to Appoint
Counsel (Doc. 3) is denied without prejudice.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated on this 20th day of October, 2017, in Topeka, Kansas.
s/ Sam A. Crow
SAM A. CROW
U. S. Senior District Judge
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