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Turner v. Warden

United States District Court, C.D. California

September 15, 2014

MATTHEW THOMAS TURNER, Petitioner,
v.
WARDEN, Respondent.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER DENYING REQUEST FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL AND SUMMARILY DISMISSING ACTION

JOSEPHINE L. STATON, District Judge.

On September 9, 2014, "petitioner" Matthew Thomas Turner, a California state prisoner who has not yet filed a petition in this Court, filed a request seeking "appoint[ment] of counsel for the duration of his federal habeas case." However, because there is no petition currently before this Court, the Court cannot grant petitioner's request.

Under Article III of the Constitution, federal courts may only adjudicate cases or controversies, and may not issue advisory opinions. U.S. Nat'l Bank v. Independent Ins. Agents of Am., Inc. , 508 U.S. 439, 446, 113 S.Ct. 2173, 124 L.Ed.2d 402 (1993). Because petitioner has not actually filed a federal habeas petition challenging his conviction or sentence, there is no case or controversy properly before the Court. See Thomas v. California, No. CV 10-00348 AHM (RZ), 2010 WL 373664, at *2 (C.D. Cal. Jan. 28, 2010) (holding that no case or controversy exists where a prisoner not facing execution files a pre-petition motion for appointment of counsel). The Court therefore lacks jurisdiction to grant a motion for appointment of counsel.

Petitioner contends he needs assistance in filing and prosecuting his federal habeas petition. If and when petitioner files a habeas petition in this Court, this Court can consider a subsequent request by Petitioner for appointment of counsel. However, that issue cannot be decided at this juncture.

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that petitioner's motion for appointment of counsel is DENIED, and that Judgment be entered summarily dismissing this action without prejudice.


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