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GARRISON v. MARIN COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPT.

United States District Court, N.D. California


January 12, 2004.

ANTHONY TYRONE GARRISON, Plaintiff,
v.
MARIN COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPT.; et al., Defendants

The opinion of the court was delivered by: THELTON HENDERSON, Senior District Judge

ORDER OF DISMISSAL

Anthony Tyrone Garrison, an inmate at the Marin County Jail, filed a pro se civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and applied to proceed in forma pauperis. The court reviewed the complaint and dismissed it with leave to amend for Garrison to attempt to cure several pleading deficiencies. Garrison was ordered to file an amended complaint no later than September 26, 2003. Garrison did not file an amended complaint and instead wrote to the court requesting that counsel be appointed to represent him or, if counsel was not appointed, that the action be dismissed.

A district court has the discretion under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1) to designate counsel to represent an indigent civil litigant in exceptional circumstances. This requires an evaluation of both the likelihood of success on the merits and the ability of the plaintiff to articulate his claims pro se in light of the complexity of the legal issues involved. See Wilborn v. Escalderon, 789 F.2d 1328, 1331 (9th Cir. 1986). Neither of these factors is dispositive and both must be viewed together before deciding on a request for counsel under section 1915(e)(1). Here, exceptional circumstances requiring the appointment of counsel are not Page 2 evident. Because plaintiff's original complaint was so lacking in detail and he did not comply with the order to amend it, the court cannot determine that there would be any likelihood of success on the merits in this action. The complaint also did not appear to address any particularly difficult legal issues. The supply of volunteer attorney is quite limited and the court will not appoint one where, as here, the plaintiff has not even put forth a pleading with enough information to suggest that his is a meritorious case in need of one of few volunteer attorneys available. The request for appointment of counsel is DENIED.

  The complaint did not state a claim for relief and no amended complaint was filed by the deadline. Also, Garrison requested that the action be dismissed if an attorney was not appointed to represent him. The complaint is therefore DISMISSED without leave to amend. The clerk shall close the file.

  IT IS SO ORDERED.

20040112

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