Rodriguez v. Smith
ORDER denying 7 petitioner's Motion to Appoint Counsel and granting 8 Motion for extension of time. Signed by District Judge George Caram Steeh. (MBea)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
CASE NO. 15-11155
HON. GEORGE CARAM STEEH
ORDER DENYING PETITIONER’S MOTION FOR
APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL (Dkt. 7) AND GRANTING
HIS MOTION FOR AN EXTENSION OF TIME (Dkt. 8)
On March 26, 2015, petitioner Laurencio Rodriguez filed a pro se
habeas corpus petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 and a motion to hold the
petition in abeyance. The habeas petition challenged petitioner’s
conviction and sentence for second-degree murder. On April 21, 2015, the
Court granted petitioner’s motion for a stay so that he could pursue state
remedies. In the same order, the Court closed this case for administrative
purposes only and directed petitioner to file an amended petition and
motion to re-open this case within ninety days of exhausting state remedies
if he were unsuccessful in state court. Now before the Court are
petitioner’s motion for appointment of counsel and his motion to extend the
time for holding his habeas petition in abeyance.
I. The Motion for Appointment of Counsel
Petitioner seeks appointment of counsel, but there is no constitutional
right to appointment of counsel in a collateral attack on a state-court
conviction. Pennsylvania v. Finley, 481 U.S. 551, 555 (1987). “[T]he right
to appointed counsel extends to the first appeal of right, and no further.” Id.
Thus, “there is no constitutional right to counsel in habeas proceedings.”
Post v. Bradshaw, 422 F.3d 419, 425 (6th Cir. 2005) (citing Coleman v.
Thompson, 501 U.S. 722, 752-53 (1991)); see also Barker v. Ohio, 330
F.2d 594, 594 (6th Cir. 1964) (stating that “the constitutional right to
counsel in criminal prosecutions provided by the Sixth Amendment does
not apply to an application for a writ of habeas corpus, which is a civil
“[A]ppointment of counsel in a civil proceeding . . . is justified only in
exceptional circumstances. To determine whether these exceptional
circumstances exist, courts typically consider the type of case and the
ability of the plaintiff to represent himself.” Lanier v. Bryant, 332 F.3d 999,
1006 (6th Cir. 2003) (quotation marks and citations omitted).
Petitioner has ably represented himself thus far, and the interests of
justice do not require appointment of counsel. 18 U.S.C. § 3006A(a)(2)(B).
The Court therefore denies petitioner’s motion for appointment of counsel
II. The Motion for an Extension of Time
In his motion for an extension of time, petitioner states that the
Michigan Supreme Court denied leave to appeal the denial of his postconviction motion on November 30, 2016, but prison officials lost his legal
paperwork. Additionally, the legal writer who was helping petitioner lost the
files that he had stored on his computer. Petitioner contends that he is
unable to proceed in this case without his files. He seeks additional time in
which to move to re-open his case and to file an amended petition. He also
seeks an order directing the state court to provide him with the documents
that he needs.
Petitioner has shown “good cause” for his inability to file a timely
amended petition and motion to re-open this case. Accordingly, the
request for an extension of time (Dkt. 8) is granted pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 6(b)(1)(A). Petitioner shall have an additional
ninety (90) days from the date of this order to file his amended petition and
motion to re-open this case. The Court denies Petitioner’s related request
to order the state court to provide him with copies of his court file.
s/George Caram Steeh
GEORGE CARAM STEEH
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated: July 14, 2017
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
Copies of this Order were served upon attorneys of record on
July 14, 2017, by electronic and/or ordinary mail and also on
Laurencio Rodriguez #649211, Ionia Maximum Correctional
Facility, 1576 W. Bluewater Highway, Ionia, MI 48846.
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