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Knutson v. Jacquez

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


August 2, 2010

RONALD KNUTSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
FRANCISCO JACQUEZ, DEFENDANT.

ORDER

Plaintiff, a state prisoner proceeding pro se, has filed a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff, however, has not paid the required filing fee of $350.00 or filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1914(a) & 1915(a). Plaintiff will therefore be granted thirty days to pay the $350.00 filing fee or to submit a properly completed application to proceed in forma pauperis.

Plaintiff has also requested the appointment of counsel. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in this regard that district courts lack authority to require counsel to represent indigent prisoners in § 1983 cases. Mallard v. United States Dist. Court, 490 U.S. 296, 298 (1989). In certain exceptional circumstances, however, the court may request the voluntary assistance of counsel pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1). Terrell v. Brewer, 935 F.2d 1015, 1017 (9th Cir. 1991); Wood v. Housewright, 900 F.2d 1332, 1335-36 (9th Cir. 1990).

The test for exceptional circumstances requires the court to evaluate the plaintiff's 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); Weygandt v. Look, 718 F.2d 952, 954 (9th Cir. 1983). Circumstances that are common to most prisoners, such as lack of legal education and limited law library access, do not establish exceptional circumstances that would warrant a request for voluntary assistance of counsel. In the present case, the court does not find the required exceptional circumstances, and therefore plaintiff's request for the appointment of counsel will be denied.

Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:

1. Plaintiff shall submit, within thirty days from the date of this order, either the $350.00 filing fee or a properly completed application to proceed in forma pauperis on the form provided with this order; plaintiff is cautioned that failure to comply with this order or seek an extension of time to do so will result in a recommendation that this action be dismissed without prejudice;

2. The Clerk of the Court is directed to send plaintiff an Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis By a Prisoner for use in a civil rights action; and

3. Plaintiff's July 29, 2010 motion for the appointment of counsel (Doc. No. 3) is denied.

20100802

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