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Arteaga v. Gonzales

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


November 9, 2007

JEAN PIERRE ARTEAGA, PETITIONER,
v.
ALBERTO GONZALES, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL, ET AL., RESPONDENTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Roger T. Benitez United States District Judge

ORDER DENYING PETITIONER'S MOTION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL [Doc. # 12]

Petitioner Jean Pierre Arteaga ("Petitioner" or "Arteaga") brought this Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus ("the Petition") pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Petitioner renews his motion for appointment of counsel. The motion is DENIED without prejudice.

There is no constitutional right to counsel in federal habeas corpus. See McCleskey v. Zant, 499 U.S. 467, 495 (1991). Counsel "may be appointed for an impoverished habeas petitioner whenever 'the court determines that the interests of justice so require....'" Bashor v. Risley, 730 F.2d 1228, 1234 (9th Cir. 1984) (citation omitted). Appointment of counsel becomes mandatory when an evidentiary hearing is required. Id. Petitioner is not requesting an evidentiary hearing in his motion. Appointment of counsel is therefore not mandatory but discretionary. Id.

Petitioner's renewed motion does not establish that an appointment of counsel is necessary. "In deciding whether to appoint counsel in a habeas proceeding, the district court must evaluate the likelihood of success on the merits as well as the ability of the petitioner to articulate his claims pro se in light of the complexity of the legal issues involved." Weygandt v. Look, 718 F.2d 952, 954 (9th Cir. 1983) (citation omitted).

Petitioner has not shown that he is likely to succeed on the merits. Further, he has not demonstrated that he is unable to articulate his claims. Petitioner points out that his motion for appointment of counsel was drafted by the Federal Defenders of San Diego. This fact does not establish, however, that had this organization not volunteered its services, Petitioner would have been unable to articulate his claims. Petitioner admits that he has lived in the United States for the past 27 years. His lack of legal expertise alone does not warrant appointment of counsel.

Accordingly, Petitioner's motion for appointment of counsel is DENIED.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20071109

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