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Dewayne Thompson v. Chris Mauck

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


October 15, 2012

DEWAYNE THOMPSON,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
CHRIS MAUCK, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Craig M. Kellison United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER

Plaintiff, a state prisoner proceeding pro se, brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

Plaintiff seeks the appointment of counsel. The United States Supreme Court has ruled that district courts lack authority to require counsel to represent indigent prisoners in § 1983 cases. See Mallard v. United States Dist. Court, 490 U.S. 296, 298 (1989). In certain exceptional circumstances, the court may request the voluntary assistance of counsel pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1). See Terrell v. Brewer, 935 F.2d 1015, 1017 (9th Cir. 1991); Wood v. Housewright, 900 F.2d 1332, 1335-36 (9th Cir. 1990). A finding of "exceptional circumstances" requires an evaluation of both the likelihood of success on the merits and the ability of the plaintiff to articulate his claims on his own in light of the complexity of the legal issues involved. See Terrell, 935 F.2d at 1017. Neither factor is dispositive and both must be viewed together before reaching a decision. See id.

In the present case, the court does not at this time find the required exceptional circumstances. Plaintiff argues he is in need of counsel due to his imprisonment and the difficulties that presents in proceeding in this type of action, and his lack of legal expertise. Neither of these circumstances is unusual or exceptional in a prisoner civil rights action. The court finds that plaintiff has been able to articulate his position adequately throughout this case. Moreover, the legal and factual issues are not overly complex. Finally, given the standard plaintiff faces in establishing a Equal Protection violation, the court cannot say that there is a likelihood of success on the merits.

Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff's request for the appointment of counsel (Doc. 48) is denied.

20121015

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