United States District Court, N.D. California
January 12, 2004.
ANTHONY TYRONE GARRISON, Plaintiff,
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
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.
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