Apodaca et al v. New Mexico Corrections Department et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER by Magistrate Judge Stephan M. Vidmar DENYING 11 Plaintiff's Motion to Appoint Counsel (am)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW MEXICO
VICTOR ANDREW APODACA and
No. 18-cv-0108 MV/SMV
NEW MEXICO CORRECTIONS DEPARTMENT,
DAVID JABLONSKI, GEO GROUP, INC.,
DAVID BOWEN, FNU GONZALES, FNU VIGIL,
REGINA TRUJILLO, AMBERLY WARD,
FNU NEWTON, JOHN/JANE DOE, and
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL
THIS MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff’s Motion for Appointment of Counsel,
along with his Memorandum in Support and his Affidavit in Support [Doc. 11], filed on March 9,
2018. Plaintiff is incarcerated and proceeding pro se in this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action. He reports
that he has had other § 1983 cases dismissed, he is not trained in the law, has limited access to the
law library, and “the paralegal” also has limited knowledge of the law. [Doc. 11] at 1.
However, United States District Courts lack the authority to appoint counsel to represent
indigent prisoners in § 1983 cases. Mallard v. United States Dist. Court, 490 U.S. 296, 298
(1989); Rachel v. Troutt, 820 F.3d 390, 396–97 (10th Cir. 2016).
In certain exceptional
circumstances, a court may request the voluntary assistance of counsel pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(1). In deciding whether to request voluntary assistance of counsel, courts should
consider “the merits of the litigant’s claims, the nature of the factual issues raised in the claims, the
litigant’s ability to present his claims, and the complexity of the legal issues raised by the claims.”
Rucks v. Boergermann, 57 F.3d 978, 979 (10th Cir. 1995) (internal quotation marks omitted).
Ultimately, the burden is on the plaintiff “to convince the court that there is sufficient merit to his
claim to warrant [a request for voluntary assistance] of counsel.” Hill v. Smithkline Beecham
Corp., 393 F.3d 1111, 1115 (10th Cir. 2004) (internal quotation marks omitted).
Plaintiff argues, thoroughly, that these factors weigh in favor of requesting the voluntary
assistance of an attorney. [Doc. 11]. The Court is not convinced that there is sufficient merit or
complexity in Plaintiff’s claims to warrant requesting the voluntary assistance of counsel.
Moreover, thus far, Plaintiff has been ably presenting his claims.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED that Plaintiff’s
Motion for Appointment of Counsel [Doc. 11] is DENIED at this time.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
STEPHAN M. VIDMAR
United States Magistrate Judge
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