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United States v. Ochoa

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


September 9, 2009

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JOSE ISMAEL OCHOA, DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dean D. Pregerson United States District Judge

ORDER DENYING MOTION TO APPOINT COUNSEL

[Motion filed on July 27, 2009]

The Sixth Amendment's right to counsel does not apply in habeas corpus actions. See Knaubert v. Goldsmith, 791 F.2d 722, 728 (9th Cir. 1986). The appointment of counsel is discretionary when, as here, no evidentiary hearing is required. Terrovona v. Kincheloe, 912 F.2d 1176, 1177 (9th Cir. 1990). Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3006A(a)(2)(B), however, the Court may appoint counsel if it determines "that the interests of justice so require" and the petitioner is financially eligible. Factors to be considered by the court include the likelihood of success on the merits and 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). Petitioner argues that he speaks little English and has no knowledge of the law. However, Petitioner's motion and his petition both belie this argument. The habeas petition coherently states a number of grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel; and his motion raises colorable arguments for appointment of counsel. Petitioner next argues that he is segregated from prison without access to the prison law library. While this may be grounds for equitable tolling, lack of access to the law library does not entitle Petitioner to appointment of counsel. Where a petitioner in a habeas corpus proceeding has a good understanding of the issues and the ability to present his contentions forcefully and coherently, then no attorney is required. LaMere v. Risley, 827 F.2d 622, 626 (9th Cir. 1987). As further protection, the Court is also required to consider his pro se petition liberally.

Therefore, the Court DENIES Petitioner's motion for appointment of counsel.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20090909

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