Butler v. Hernandez et al
ORDER. Re: 23 The Court AFFIRMS the Magistrate Judges Order, Dkt. No. 21. (Signed by Judge Hilda G Tagle) Parties notified.(mserpa, 2) Modified on 3/7/2017 (mserpa, 2).
United States District Court
Southern District of Texas
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
CORPUS CHRISTI DIVISION
JIMMY ARNEAL BUTLER,
JOSE H HERNANDEZ, et al,
March 07, 2017
David J. Bradley, Clerk
CIVIL NO. 2:16-CV-435
The Court is in receipt of Plaintiff Jimmy Arneal Butler’s (“Butler”) Appeal of
the Magistrate Judge’s Denial of Butler’s Motion for Appointment of Counsel, Dkt.
No. 23. In his appeal, Butler requests the Court to review the Magistrate Judge’s
January 26, 2017 Order denying without prejudice Butler’s Motion for Appointment
of Counsel, see Dkt. Nos. 14; 15, and the Magistrate Judge’s February 16, 2017
Order denying Butler’s renewed Motion for Appointment, see Dkt. Nos. 18; 21.
On January 26, 2017, the Magistrate Judge to whom this case was referred
denied Butler’s Motion for Appointment of Counsel, finding that appointment of
counsel was not warranted at the time in light of the Fifth Circuit’s guidance on
factors to be considered in determining whether to appoint counsel. Dkt. No. 15.
Those factors are: (1) the type and complexity of the case; (2) whether the indigent
is capable of adequately presenting his case; (3) whether the indigent is in a
position to investigate adequately the case; and (4) whether the evidence will
consist in large part of conflicting testimony so as to require skill in the
presentation of evidence. Id. (citing Jackson v. Dallas Police Dep’t, 811 F.2d 260,
261 (5th Cir. 1986) (per curiam); Ulmer v. Chancellor, 691 F.2d 209, 213 (5th Cir.
1982)). The court should also consider whether appointed counsel would aid in the
efficient and equitable disposition of the case. Id. In applying the facts of the
current case to the relevant factors, the Magistrate Judge found:
Regarding the first factor, Plaintiff’s civil rights claims do not present
any complexities that are unusual in prisoner actions. The second and
third factors are whether the plaintiff is in a position to adequately
investigate and present his case. Plaintiff has thus far demonstrated
he is able to communicate adequately and file pleadings with the
Court. The fourth factor requires an examination of whether the
evidence will consist in large part of conflicting testimony so as to
require skill in the presentation of evidence. Plaintiff’s action has not
been scheduled for trial; consequently, at this time, the appointment of
counsel for trial would be premature. Finally, there is no indication
that appointing counsel would aid in the efficient and equitable
disposition of the case.
Dkt. No. 15 at 2. The Magistrate Judge’s February 16, 2017 Order denied Butler’s
subsequent Motion for Appointment of Counsel for the reasons previously stated in
the January 26, 2017 Order. See Dkt. No. 21.
In his appeal, Butler states that the current case has overwhelmed him in
legal issues beyond his knowledge and that the appointment of counsel is necessary
to continue. Dkt. No. 23 at 2. Butler states that he is unable to investigate his
prisoner civil rights complaint because he is confined in state prison, the subject is
complex (and beyond the guidance provided in a booklet he has relied upon for
redress in the instant suit), and because Defendants have the benefit of counsel. Id.
While acknowledging Butler’s arguments, the Court agrees with the
Magistrate Judge’s findings that Butler’s civil rights claims are not particularly
complex, that he has thus far demonstrated that he is able to communicate
adequately an file proper pleadings, and that, at this time, there is no indication of
conflicting testimony given the early stage of litigation and the fact that Butler’s
suit has not been scheduled for trial.
For these reasons, the Court AFFIRMS the Magistrate Judge’s Order, Dkt.
SIGNED this 7th day of March, 2017.
Senior United States District Judge
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