United States District Court, Eastern District of California
November 4, 2014
GUILLERMO CRUZ TRUJILLO, Plaintiff,
HITHE, et al., Defendants
Guillermo Cruz Trujillo, Plaintiff, Pro se, Delano, CA.
ALLISON CLAIRE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Plaintiff, a state prisoner proceeding pro se with a civil rights action, and who has filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis, has renewed his request for the appointment of counsel. District courts may not require counsel to represent indigent prisoners in § 1983 cases. Mallard v. United States Dist. Court, 490 U.S. 296, 298, 109 S.Ct. 1814, 104 L.Ed.2d 318 (1989). However, where willing counsel is available, the district court " may request an attorney to represent any person unable to afford counsel." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1); Agyeman v. Corrections Corp. of America, 390 F.3d 1101, 1103 (9th Cir. 2004), cert. denied, 545 U.S. 1128, 125 S.Ct. 2941, 162 L.Ed.2d 867 (2005).
The district court may appoint such counsel where " exceptional circumstances" exist. Palmer v. Valdez, 560 F.3d 965, 970 (9th Cir. 2009), cert. denied, 559 U.S. 906, 130 S.Ct. 1282, 175 L.Ed.2d 1078 (2010) ( citing Agyeman,
390 F.3d at 1103). In determining whether or not exceptional circumstances exist, " a court must consider 'the likelihood of success on the merits as well as the ability of the petitioner to articulate his claims pro se in light of the complexity of the legal issues involved.'"
Palmer, 560 F.3d at 970 (quoting 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. See, e.g., Guess v. Lopez, 2014 WL 1883875 at *5 (E.D. Cal. 2014) (Claire, M.J.).
Having considered the factors under Palmer, the court finds that plaintiff has failed to meet his burden of demonstrating exceptional circumstances warranting the appointment of counsel at this time. His motion will therefore be denied without prejudice.
Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff's October 27, 2014 Motion for Appointment of Counsel (ECF No. 37) is DENIED without prejudice.