Thompson v. Steele
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER re: 15 MOTION to Appoint Counsel filed by Petitioner Devarick Thompson : IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Petitioners second Motion for Appointment of Counsel (Doc. 15) is DENIED without prejudice at this time.Signed by Magistrate Judge Shirley Padmore Mensah on 3/12/18. (ARL)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on Petitioner’s second Motion for Appointment of Counsel.
(Doc. 15). Although there is no constitutional right to appointment of counsel in habeas corpus
proceedings, Hoggard v. Purkett, 29 F.3d 469, 471 (8th Cir. 1994), the Eighth Circuit Court of
Appeals has discussed those circumstances in which the appointment of counsel is appropriate.
Specifically, in Abdullah v. Norris, 18 F.3d 571 (8th Cir. 1994), the Eighth Circuit offered the
A magistrate judge or district judge may appoint counsel for a habeas
petitioner if “the interests of justice so require.” 18 U.S.C.A. § 3006A(a)(2),
(a)(2)(B) (West Supp. 1993). If a district court conducts an evidentiary hearing on
the petition, the interests of justice require that the court appoint counsel for the
petitioner. See Rule 8(c), Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States
District Courts (hereinafter “Habeas Rules”). If no evidentiary hearing is necessary,
the appointment of counsel is discretionary.
When exercising its discretion, a district court should first determine
whether a pro se habeas petitioner has presented a nonfrivolous claim. Battle [v.
Armontrout, 902 F.2d 701, 702 (8th Cir. 1990)]. If the petitioner has presented only
claims that are frivolous or clearly without merit, the district court should dismiss
the case on the merits without appointing counsel. See Habeas Rule 4. If the
petitioner has presented a nonfrivolous claim, the district court should then
determine whether, given the particular circumstances of the case, the appointment
of counsel would benefit the petitioner and the court to such an extent that “the
interests of justice so require” it. 18 U.S.C. § 3006A(a)(2); see also Battle, 902 F.2d
at 702. To determine whether appointment of counsel is required for habeas
petitioners with nonfrivolous claims, a district court should consider the legal
complexity of the case, the factual complexity of the case, the petitioner’s ability to
investigate and present his claim, and any other relevant factors. See Battle, 902
F.2d at 702; Johnson v. Williams, 788 F.2d 1319, 1322-23 (8th Cir. 1986).
Petitioner has presented nonfrivolous claims in his petition. However, after review of the
pleadings in this case, the Court finds that the appointment of counsel would not benefit Petitioner
and the Court to such an extent that the interests of justice require the appointment of counsel at
this time. This case is not particularly legally or factually complex. In addition, Petitioner has
demonstrated, at this point, that he can adequately present his claims to the Court.
In the event that the Court determines that a hearing is necessary to resolve Petitioner’s
petition for writ of habeas corpus or that for some other reason the interests of justice require the
appointment of counsel, the Court will appoint counsel. However, at this time, the undersigned
finds that Petitioner is not entitled to the appointment of counsel pursuant to Abdullah, supra.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Petitioner’s second Motion for Appointment of
Counsel (Doc. 15) is DENIED without prejudice at this time.
SHIRLEY PADMORE MENSAH
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Dated this 12th day of March, 2018.
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