United States of America v. $31,448.00 in U. S. Currency et al
ORDER denying 20 Motion to Appoint Counsel; granting in part 20 Motion for Extension of Time to Answer; dismissing as moot 20 Motion to Set Aside clerk's default. Signed by Chief Judge James C. Dever III on 12/28/2016. Sent to Andrew Hargett, Jr. 157234 at Franklin County NC Detention Center 285 T Kemp Rd. Louisburg, NC 27549 via US Mail. (Briggeman, N.)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
$31,448.00 IN U.S. CURRENCY,
$23,412.00 IN U.S. CURRENCY, and
$88,222.00 IN U.S. CURRENCY,
On November 18, 2016, pro se claimant Andrew Hargett, Jr. ("Hargett" or "claimant"}, filed
a motion to set-aside the clerk's default judgment, to appoint counsel, and to extend time due to
excusable neglect [D.E. 20]. On December 8, 2016, the government responded [D.E. 21] and
withdrew its request for entry of default and motion for default judgment, and stated that the
government did not object to Hargett responding to the complaint out of time [D.E. 21]. On
December 16,2016, Hargett replied [D.E. 22].
Because the clerk has yet to rule on the government's motion for entry of default, and the
government withdrew its motion for entry of default, the motion to set aside the clerk's default is
dismissed as moot.
As for Hargett's motion to appoint counsel, there is no right to counsel in civil cases absent
"exceptional circumstances." Whisenantv. Yuam, 739 F.2d 160, 163 (4th Cir. 1984), abrogated in
part on other grounds by Mallard v. U.S. Dist. Court for S. Dist.
490 U.S. 296, 300 n.2
(1989); Cook v. Bounds, 518 F.2d 779, 780 (4th Cir. 1975). The existence of exceptional
circumstances depends upon ''the type and complexity of the case, and the abilities of the
individuals bringing it." Whisenant, 739 F. 2d at 163 (quotation omitted). Moreover, there is no
right to counsel in a civil forfeiture case. See Austin v. United States, 509 U.S. 602, 607--08 & n.4
(1993); United States v. $292.888.04 in U.S. Currency, 54 F.3d 564, 569 (9th Cir. 1995). The
complaint is straightforward, and the action does not involve exceptional circumstances. Hargett's
motion to appoint counsel is denied.
Good cause exists for Hargett's motion for an extension of time to respond to the complaint
and the motion is granted in part. Hargett may file a response to the complaint. The response is due
not later than January 23, 2017.
In sum, Hargett's motion to set aside the clerk's default is DISMISSED as moot, Hargett's
motion to appoint counsel is DENIED, and Hargett's motion to file a response to the complaint out
of time is GRANTED IN PART. Hargett may file a response to the complaint not later than
January 23, 2017.
SO ORDERED. This 1B day of December 2016.
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