Harris v. Williams et al
ORDER. IT IS ORDERED that 17 petitioner's Motion to Withdraw Counsel is DENIED. Signed by Judge Jennifer A. Dorsey on 5/31/17. (Copies have been distributed pursuant to the NEF - MR)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEVADA
BRANDON KALE HARRIS,
Order Denying Motion
to Discharge Counsel
BRIAN E. WILLIAMS, et al.,
ECF No. 17
In this habeas corpus action, the petitioner, Brandon Kale Harris, filed a counseled
amended habeas petition on February 24, 2017.1 The respondents are due to respond to the
amended petition by July 25, 2017.2
On April 19, 2017, Harris filed a pro se “Motion to Withdraw Counsel” (ECF No. 17),
requesting that his appointed counsel—an Assistant Federal Public Defender from the office of
the Federal Public Defender for the District of Nevada (FPD)—be discharged, and that he either
be appointed new counsel or be allowed to proceed pro se. Harris complains, primarily, that his
attorney included only one claim (of the several Harris believes he has) in his amended petition.
Neither respondents nor Harris’s counsel responded to the motion.
Harris does not have a right to self-representation in this federal habeas corpus action,3
and Harris has articulated no reason why he would be better served representing himself. On the
contrary, reviewing the record in this case, I find that Harris would likely be prejudiced if his
ECF No. 12.
See Order entered April 27, 2017, ECF No. 19.
See Martinez v. Court of Appeals of California, 528 U.S. 152 (2000) (holding that the right to
represent oneself at trial pursuant to Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806 (1975), does not extend
to appellate proceedings); Tamalini v. Stewart, 249 F.3d 895, 901-02 (9th Cir. 2001).
counsel were discharged and he were left to represent himself.
With respect to his alternative request to be appointed counsel other than the AFPD who
is now representing him, Harris has made no showing that appointment of a different court-
appointed attorney is warranted. His lawyer’s decision to narrow his petition down to one claim
is a matter of professional judgment, and is not necessarily a valid ground for substitution of
counsel. Harris is not entitled to the appointed counsel of his own choosing. Harris does not
describe any conflict between himself and his counsel of the sort that would warrant discharge or
substitution of his counsel. I therefore deny Harris’s motion.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that petitioner’s Motion to Withdraw Counsel (ECF
No. 17) is DENIED.
DATED: May 31, 2017
_ _____ __ __ _
Jennifer A. Dorsey
fer A Dorsey
United States District Judge
ed States District Judge
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