Pittman v. MacLaren
ORDER denying 10 Motion to Appoint Counsel. Signed by Magistrate Judge Kathleen B. Burke. (VLun)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
ALLEN E. PITTMAN,
CASE NO. 2:16CV13888
JUDGE DONALD C. NUGENT
KATHLEEN B. BURKE
Pending before the Court is Petitioner’s Motion for Appointment of Counsel. Doc. 10.
Petitioner requests the Court appoint counsel for him because he has a learning disability and is
at a fifth grade level academically. Id., p. 1. He asserts that he has “no learning of the law or
legal procedures” and that a paralegal at the prison is preparing his filings. Id., pp. 1-2. He
further submits that his ability to investigate his case is seriously impaired by his incarceration.
Id., p. 2.
There is no constitutional right to counsel in federal habeas corpus proceedings. Cobas v.
Burgess, 306 F.3d 441, 444 (6th Cir. 2002) (citing McCleskey v. Zant, 499 U.S. 467, 495
(1987)). A federal habeas court may appointment counsel for any financially eligible person if
“the interests of justice so require.” 18 U.S.C. § 3006A(a)(2)(B); Mira v. Marshall, 806 F.2d
636, 638 (6th Cir. 1986). The decision to appoint counsel for a federal habeas petitioner is
within the discretion of the court; it is only mandatory when the district court determines that an
evidentiary hearing is required. Id.; Lemeshko v. Wrona, 325 F.Supp.2d 778, 787 (E.D. Mich.
2004). When an evidentiary hearing is not required, the court considers whether exceptional
circumstances justifying the appointment of counsel, such as whether a petitioner has made a
colorable claim but lacks the means to adequately investigate, prepare, or present the claim, id.,
or whether the issues are straightforward and capable of resolution on the record, Gorrasi v.
Warden, Pickaway Corr. Inst., 2012 WL 4342624, at *1 (S.D. Ohio Sept. 21, 2012)(collecting
Here, Petitioner has not asked for an evidentiary hearing and the Court finds that none is
required. Petitioner’s claims are straightforward and capable of resolution on the record. See
Gorrasi, 2012 WL 4342624, at *1. His filings are clear and concise and relevant to the issues
raised; in short, he can adequately investigate, prepare and present his claims. See Lemeshko,
325 F.Supp.2d at 787. Petitioner insinuates, in a footnote, that the mother of the child victim in
this case instigated the charges against him because he purportedly indicated that he would no
longer financially support her. Doc. 10, p. 3. To the extent that Petitioner is asserting that these
allegations require counsel to investigate, the Court disagrees. Petitioner’s insinuations are too
insubstantial to rise to the level of exceptional circumstances that justify the appointment of
Petitioner’s motion for appointment of counsel (Doc. 10) is DENIED. Notwithstanding
Petitioner’s still-pending motion for stay and abeyance, Petitioner shall file any reply to
Respondent’s Response (Doc. 7) within forty-five (45) days of the date of this Order.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: August 14, 2017
Kathleen B. Burke
United States Magistrate Judge
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