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Nathan Kevin Turner v. Kathline Dickinson

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


January 7, 2013

NATHAN KEVIN TURNER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
KATHLINE DICKINSON, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.

ORDER

Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se with a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff has been granted leave to proceed with this action in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915.

On December 28, 2012, plaintiff filed a request for appointment of both counsel and a medical expert to assist him in this action. The expenditure of public funds on behalf of an indigent litigant is proper only when authorized by Congress. Tedder v. Odel, 890 F.2d 210 (9th Cir. 1989). The in forma pauperis statute does not authorize the expenditure of public funds for medical experts. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915.

As to plaintiff's request for 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. Mallard v. United States Dist. Court, 490 U.S. 296, 298 (1989). In certain exceptional circumstances, the district 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 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.

Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff's December 28, 2012 request for the appointment of both counsel and a medical expert (Doc. No. 51) is denied.

20130107

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