Finerson v. Bresnahan et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER re: 14 35 30 31 32 33 ORDERED that Petitioner Anthony Finerson's Motions for Appointment of Counsel, (ECF Nos. 14, 35), are DENIED. FURTHER ORDERED that Petitioner Anthony Finerson has 30 DAYS from the entry of this Order to file a response to Respondents' Motions to Dismiss, which Respondents filed on December 9, 2013. (ECF Nos. 30-33). ( Response to Court due by 2/17/2014.) cc: petitioner. Signed by District Judge Jean C. Hamilton on 1/17/14. (CEL)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
RICHARD BRESNAHAN, et al.,
Case No. 4:13CV1989JCH
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on Petitioner Anthony Finerson’s Motions for
Appointment of Counsel (the “Motions to Appoint”), which Finerson filed on October 31, 2013
and January 8, 2014. (ECF Nos. 14, 35). Respondents Richard Bresnahan and Robert McCulloch
have each filed responses, (ECF Nos. 36, 37), and the Motions are ready for disposition.
On October 4, 2013, Finerson filed a Petition for Declaratory Judgment against the
Respondents. (ECF No. 1). Pursuant to an order from the Court, Finerson filed an Amended
Petition on October 23, 2013. (ECF Nos. 9, 10).1 In his Amended Petition, Finerson claims
several of his federal and state constitutional rights are being violated as a result of pending
criminal proceedings against him in the 21st Judicial Circuit Court of the State of Missouri.
(Amended Petition, (“Am. Pet.”), at 7).2 Finerson seeks a declaration that his rights are being
violated by those proceedings, along with “any other relief this Court deems proper.” Id.
Finerson has filed these Motions to Appoint because he believes assistance of counsel is
The Court has construed the Amended Petition to be an official-capacity suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
(ECF No. 12).
Respondent Bresnahan is the judge presiding over the state proceedings, and Respondent McCulloch is
the prosecuting attorney. (Memorandum in Support of McCulloch’s Motion to Dismiss at 1).
necessary for him adequately to argue the claims set forth in his Amended Petition. (See First
and Second Motions to Appoint).
It is within a district court’s discretion in a civil action to determine the propriety of
appointing counsel for an unrepresented indigent party. See, e.g., Williams v. Groose, 979 F.2d
1337, 1337 (8th Cir. 1992). In making its determination, “the district court considers relevant
factors such as the complexity of the case, the ability of the indigent litigant to investigate the
facts, the existence of conflicting testimony, and the ability of the indigent [litigant] to present
his claim.” Stevens v. Redwing, 146 F.3d 538, 546 (8th Cir. 1998). This list is not exhaustive, and
other factors may be relevant based on the circumstances of a particular case. See id.
The Court thinks it is unnecessary to appoint counsel for Finerson in this matter. The
legal issues surrounding Finerson’s claims are straightforward; he has presented his claims
thoroughly and competently; there is unlikely to be any need to develop a factual record; and it is
probable that the Court can make a correct decision on Finerson’s claims without much more
than the information and arguments already filed. The Court therefore sees very little possibility
that Finerson will benefit from the appointment of counsel.3
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Petitioner Anthony Finerson’s Motions for
Appointment of Counsel, (ECF Nos. 14, 35), are DENIED.
The Court notes than Finerson has identified one factor that weighs in favor of appointing counsel: he
has had limited access to legal research materials during his incarceration. But based on its review of the
record, the Court does not think that more detailed legal research would have an impact on its ultimate
decision regarding Finerson’s Amended Petition.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Petitioner Anthony Finerson has 30 DAYS from the
entry of this Order to file a response to Respondents’ Motions to Dismiss, which Respondents
filed on December 9, 2013. (ECF Nos. 30-33).
Dated this 17th Day of January, 2014.
/s/ Jean C. Hamilton
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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