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Lancaster v. Carey

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


December 15, 2009

DAVID GENE LANCASTER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
TOM L. CAREY, WARDEN, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Samuel P. King Senior United States District Judge

ORDER DENYING REQUEST FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL

Plaintiff David Lancaster is a state prisoner proceeding pro se. Plaintiff has filed a Request for Appointment of Counsel [doc. 20]. In his request, he indicates that the issues are complex, that he is untrained in legal matters, and that he is unable to adequately represent himself. He indicates that another inmate who has been helping him cannot continue to help him because that inmate has his own legal matter to attend to.

Plaintiff does not have a constitutional right to appointed counsel in this action. See Rand v. Rowland, 113 F.3d 1520, 1525 (9th Cir. 1997). The Court cannot require an attorney to represent plaintiff pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1).

Mallard v. United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, 490 U.S. 296, 298 (1989). However, in certain exceptional circumstances the court may request the voluntary assistance of counsel pursuant to section 1915(e)(1). Rand, 113 F.3d at 1525. Without a reasonable method of securing and compensating counsel, the court will seek volunteer counsel only in the most serious and exceptional cases. In determining whether "exceptional circumstances exist, the district court must evaluate both the likelihood of success of the merits [and] the ability of the [plaintiff] to articulate his claims pro se in light of the complexity of the legal issues involved." Id. (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).

In the present case, the court does not find the required exceptional circumstances. Even if it is assumed that plaintiff is not well versed in the law and that he has made serious allegations which, if proved, would entitle him to relief, his case is not exceptional. This court is faced with similar cases almost daily. Further, at this stage in the proceedings, the court cannot make a determination that plaintiff is likely to succeed on the merits, and based on a review of the record in this case, the court does not find that plaintiff cannot adequately articulate his claims. Id.

Accordingly, Plaintiff's Request for Appointment of counsel [doc. 20] is DENIED.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20091215

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