Harris v. Williams et al

Filing 20

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)

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1 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 2 DISTRICT OF NEVADA 3 4 BRANDON KALE HARRIS, 5 2:16-cv-01305-JAD-CWH Petitioner 6 v. Order Denying Motion to Discharge Counsel 7 BRIAN E. WILLIAMS, et al., 8 ECF No. 17 Respondents 9 10 In this habeas corpus action, the petitioner, Brandon Kale Harris, filed a counseled 11 12 amended habeas petition on February 24, 2017.1 The respondents are due to respond to the 13 amended petition by July 25, 2017.2 On April 19, 2017, Harris filed a pro se “Motion to Withdraw Counsel” (ECF No. 17), 14 15 requesting that his appointed counsel—an Assistant Federal Public Defender from the office of 16 the Federal Public Defender for the District of Nevada (FPD)—be discharged, and that he either 17 be appointed new counsel or be allowed to proceed pro se. Harris complains, primarily, that his 18 attorney included only one claim (of the several Harris believes he has) in his amended petition. 19 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 20 21 and Harris has articulated no reason why he would be better served representing himself. On the 22 contrary, reviewing the record in this case, I find that Harris would likely be prejudiced if his 23 24 1 ECF No. 12. 2 See Order entered April 27, 2017, ECF No. 19. 25 26 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). 3 27 28 1 2 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 3 is now representing him, Harris has made no showing that appointment of a different court- 4 appointed attorney is warranted. His lawyer’s decision to narrow his petition down to one claim 5 is a matter of professional judgment, and is not necessarily a valid ground for substitution of 6 counsel. Harris is not entitled to the appointed counsel of his own choosing. Harris does not 7 describe any conflict between himself and his counsel of the sort that would warrant discharge or 8 substitution of his counsel. I therefore deny Harris’s motion. 9 10 11 IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that petitioner’s Motion to Withdraw Counsel (ECF No. 17) is DENIED. DATED: May 31, 2017 12 _______________________________ ________________ ____ _ _____ __ __ _ ___ Jennifer A. Dorsey fer A Dorsey r o y United States District Judge ed States District Judge tate a ud 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 2

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