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Jackson v. Barnes

United States District Court, C.D. California

March 17, 2015

FREDERICK LEE JACKSON, Plaintiff,
v.
MICHAEL BARNES, et al., Defendants.

ORDER RE: PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTIONS TO THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE ORDER DENYING APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL AND STAY OF PROCEEDINGS, CONSTRUED AS MOTION TO DISQUALIFY MAGISTRATE JUDGE AND MODIFY OR SET ASIDE MAGISTRATE JUDGE ORDER [139]

RONALD S.W. LEW, Senior District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Currently before the Court[1] is pro se Plaintiff Frederick Lee Jackson's ("Plaintiff") "Objections to the Magistrate Judge Order Denying Appointment of Counsel and Stay of Proceedings" [139], which the Court construes as a Motion to Disqualify Magistrate Judge Ralph Zarefsky pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 455, 144, and to Modify or Set Aside the Magistrate Judge's Order [124] pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a) ("Motion").

The Court, having reviewed all papers submitted and pertaining to this Motion, NOW FINDS AND RULES AS FOLLOWS: The Court DENIES Plaintiff's Motion [139].

BACKGROUND

A more thorough factual background of this Action is provided in the Ninth Circuit opinion, Jackson v. Barnes, 749 F.3d 755 (9th Cir. 2014), and in Magistrate Judge Zarefsky's February 9, 2015 Order [124]. The facts relevant to this Motion are as follows.

On December 5, 2014, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Appointment of Counsel [115] to assist Plaintiff in the prosecution of this civil Action, [2] which asserts civil rights claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged violations of various constitutional rights primarily related to a Miranda violation. See Pl.'s Second Amend. Compl. 5, ECF No. 132; Jackson v. Barnes, 749 F.3d 755, 758-59 (9th Cir. 2014).

On February 5, 2015, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Stay Proceedings Pending Resolution of Petition for a Writ of Mandamus and Numerous Motions Pending [123]. Plaintiff's motions were set before Magistrate Judge Zarefsky. Dckt. # 110.

On February 9, 2015, Magistrate Judge Zarefsky issued an Order [124] denying without prejudice Plaintiff's Motion for Appointment of Counsel [115] and denying as moot Plaintiff's Motion to Stay [123]. Magistrate Judge Zarefsky denied without prejudice Plaintiff's Motion for Appointment of Counsel because Plaintiff's case "present[ed] no exceptional circumstances requiring appointment of counsel." Feb. 9, 2015 Order 1, ECF No. 124. Plaintiff's Motion to Stay was denied as moot because the petition for writ of mandamus for which Plaintiff requested a stay had become moot in light of the Court's January 29, 2015 Order [122] granting Plaintiff leave to file a Second Amended Complaint. Id.

On March 11, 2015, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion [139]. Plaintiff requests in his Motion that the Court "overrule'" Magistrate Judge Zarefsky's February 9, 2014 Order [124] and that "another Magistrate Judge be assigned to conduct pre-trial proceedings" because the "current Magistrate Judge is highly bias[ed].'" Pl.'s Objections to the Magistrate Judge Order ("Mot.") 1:21-2:18, ECF No. 139.

Plaintiff asserts that Magistrate Judge Zarefsky is "highly bias[ed]'" for the following reasons: the Magistrate Judge (2) "will adopt and agree with absolutely any frivolous position that the defendants make against plaintiff, " (2) is "incompetent" for refusing to stay the proceedings even though Plaintiff gave the Court and defendants notice that a Petition for Writ of Mandamus had been filed, and (3) has a "personal relationship" with the Ventura County District Attorney's Office. Id. at 1:21-2:15.

LEGAL STANDARD

A. Rule 72(a)

Rule 72(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure states that "[w]hen a pretrial matter not dispositive of a party's claim or defense is referred to a magistrate judge to hear and decide, ... a party may serve and file objections to the order within 14 days after being served with a copy, " and "[t]he district judge in the case must consider timely objections and modify or set aside any part of the order that is clearly erroneous or is contrary to law." Fed.R.Civ.P. ...


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