Carson v. The State of New York
DECISION AND ORDER. 18 Petitioner's Motion to Recuse is DENIED, and his requests for an evidentiary hearing and the appointment of counsel are DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. Petitioner has until June 9, 2017 to reply to Respondent's answer. SO ORDERED. A Copy of this Order and NEF have been mailed to the pro se Petitioner. Signed by Hon. Frank P. Geraci, Jr. on 5/8/2017. (AFM)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
MATTHEW M. CARSON,
Case # 16-CV-688-FPG
DECISION AND ORDER
SUPERINTENDENT OF THE ELMIRA
Pro se petitioner Matthew M. Carson (“Petitioner”) seeks a writ of habeas corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. ECF No. 1. On March 20, 2017, Petitioner moved to recuse the
Court from this case or, alternatively, (1) for an extension of time to reply to Respondent’s
answer; (2) for an evidentiary hearing; and (3) for the appointment of counsel.
For the reasons that follow, Petitioner’s motion for recusal is DENIED and he now has
until June 9, 2017 to file his reply. Petitioner’s motions for an evidentiary hearing and the
appointment of counsel are DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
Petitioner has moved to recuse the Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 144, 455(a). ECF No.
18, at 2-17. Petitioner seeks recusal based on the Court’s former service as a Monroe County
Assistant District Attorney and Monroe County Court Judge and argues that the Court was then
associated or acquainted with the judge who presided over his State Court action. Because the
Court had no involvement in Petitioner’s State Court action and because there is no reasonable
basis to question the Court’s impartiality in this matter, the recusal motion is DENIED.
Petitioner also requests an evidentiary hearing “to expand the record with material
relevant and dispositive to the issue of identification, actual innocence, and ineffective assistance
of counsel.” ECF No. 18, at 19. The Court concludes that such a hearing is premature at this
time, as the petition for a writ of habeas corpus has not been fully briefed, and therefore DENIES
this request without prejudice. After the Court reviews Petitioner’s reply brief, it will notify the
parties if it finds that a hearing is necessary.
Appointment of Counsel
Finally, Petitioner requests that the Court appoint him counsel. ECF No. 18, at 19-22.
Prisoners have no constitutional right to counsel when bringing collateral attacks upon their
convictions, Pennsylvania v. Finley, 481 U.S. 551, 555 (1987). However, the Court may appoint
counsel in the interests of justice to any person seeking relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 who
is financially unable to obtain representation. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(h). The Court considers several
factors in determining whether to assign counsel, including whether the indigent’s claims seem
likely to be of substance; whether the indigent is able to investigate the facts concerning his
claim; whether the legal issues are complex; and whether there are special reasons why the
appointment of counsel would be more likely to lead to a just determination. See Hendricks v.
Coughlin, 114 F.3 390, 392 (2d Cir. 1997); Hodge v. Police Officers, 802 F.2d 58 (2d Cir. 1986).
The Court must consider the issue of appointment carefully because “every assignment of a
volunteer lawyer to an undeserving client deprives society of a volunteer lawyer available for a
deserving cause.” Cooper v. A. Sargenti Co. Inc., 877 F.2d 170, 172 (2d Cir. 1989).
Petitioner has not provided the Court with any information suggesting that the interests of
justice require the appointment of counsel at this time. Petitioner adequately articulated his
claims to the Court throughout the various letters and motions he has filed. Accordingly,
Petitioner’s motion for appointment of counsel is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
For the reasons stated, Petitioner’s recusal motion is DENIED, and his requests for an
evidentiary hearing and the appointment of counsel are DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
Petitioner has until June 9, 2017 to file a reply to Respondent’s answer.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: May 8, 2017
Rochester, New York
HON. FRANK P. GERACI, JR.
United States District Court
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