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Martinez v. Beard

United States District Court, S.D. California

May 19, 2015

JOAQUIN MURRIETTA MARTINEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
BEARD, Defendant.

ORDER DENYING PETITIONER'S MOTION TO APPOINT COUNSEL [DOC. NO. 49]

WILLIAM V. GALLO, Magistrate Judge.

I. BACKGROUND

On June 24, 2013, Petitioner filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus. (Doc. No. 1.) On July 8, 2013, Petitioner's case was dismissed without prejudice because he failed to satisfy the filing fee requirement, failed to name a proper respondent, and failed to allege exhaustion of state court remedies. (Doc. No. 2.) On August 19, 2013, Petitioner filed a First Amended Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus. (Doc. No. 3.) On December 27, 2013, Respondent filed an Answer. (Doc. No. 21.) On May 20, 2014, this Court issued a Report and Recommendation ("R&R") which recommended that the Petition be dismissed without prejudice to Petitioner refiling a future petition which contained only exhausted claims. (Doc. No. 33.) On August 19, 2014, Petitioner filed a Motion to Amend the First Amended Petition and a Motion for Stay and Abeyance. (Doc. Nos. 37, 39.)

On October 16, 2014, the Honorable Barry Ted Moskowitz, United States District Judge, issued an Order Declining to Adopt the R&R. (Doc. No. 40.) In his Order, the District Judge stated that this Court failed to address Respondent's contention that claims three and four of the Petition should be denied as meritless notwithstanding Petitioner's failure to present them to the state supreme court. Id. at 3. The District Judge also concluded that this Court failed to address whether the claims which were not presented to the state supreme court should be considered technically exhausted. Id.

On December 1, 2014, Petitioner filed a Notice of Assisting Petitioner; Declaration of Anthony Ivan Bobadilla. (Doc. No. 45.) In the Declaration, Mr. Bobadilla notified the Court that he was an inmate assisting Petitioner with his First Amended Petition. Id . On December 8, 2014, the District Judge issued an Order Denying Petitioner's Request for Relief related to Mr. Bobadilla. (Doc. No. 46.) In its Order, the Court noted that it received a Notice of Assisting Petitioner and Prayer for Relief filed by Mr. Bobadilla, a person currently incarcerated with Petitioner. Id. at 1. The Court noted that, to the extent Mr. Bobadilla was requesting appointment of "next friend" status to assist Petitioner in this action, his request was denied. Id. at 2. The Court also denied a request for an order directing that Mr. Bobadilla and/or Petitioner not be transferred to another institution while Petitioner's action was pending.

On December 30, 2014, the District Judge issued an Order Granting Petitioner's Unopposed Motion to Amend the Petition and Denying Petitioner's Motion for Stay and Abeyance as Moot. (Doc. No. 50.) The Court noted that Petitioner filed a Motion to Amend the First Amended Petition to present additional claims. Id. at 1-2; citing Doc. No. 37. The Court also noted that Petitioner filed a Motion for Stay and Abeyance in which he requested the Court hold the First Amended Petition in abeyance while he returned to state court to exhaust state court remedies as to the new claims, and as to the ineffective assistance of trial counsel claim raised in the First Amended Petition. Id. at 2; citing Doc. No. 39. In order to avoid the delay in requiring Petitioner to file a Second Amended Petition which presented all claims in a single pleading, the District Judge consolidated the First Amended Petition with the habeas petition which constituted Petitioner's Motion to Amend (Doc. No. 37), and ordered that, together, they formed the operative pleading in this action. (Doc. No. 50 at 2.) The Court denied Petitioner's Motion for Stay and Abeyance as moot because the new claims were technically exhausted and procedurally defaulted due to Petitioner's failure to present them to the state court in a timely, procedurally proper manner. Id.

II. MOTIONS TO APPOINT COUNSEL

A. PRIOR MOTIONS TO APPOINT COUNSEL

On October 22, 2013, the Court received a letter from Petitioner requesting that an attorney be appointed for him. (Doc. No. 8.) The Court construed the letter to be a Motion for Appointment of Counsel, and on October 24, 2013, this Court issued an Order Denying Motion for Appointment of Counsel. (Doc. No. 9.) On October 30, 2013, the Court received an undated letter from Petitioner which again requested appointment of counsel. (Doc. No. 13.) In the October 30, 2013 letter, Petitioner stated that he had a stroke and needed "more time." Id.

On October 31, 2013, the Court ordered Respondent to submit for an in camera review, Petitioner's medical records at the prison at which he was housed and any other evidence in the files at the prison that showed Petitioner's medical condition(s) and his ability to represent himself in this action. (Doc. No. 14.) On November 21, 2013, the Court received Petitioner's medical records dated from March 27, 2012 to November 5, 2013. These documents included medical records from Donovan State Prison and the San Diego Sheriff's Department. The Court did not receive any records dated prior to March 27, 2012. The Court conducted an in camera review of Petitioner's medical records.

On November 25, 2013, this Court issued a second Order Denying Petitioner's Application for Appointment of Counsel. (Doc. No. 15.) The Court stated that its review of Petitioner's medical records did not support his renewed request for appointment of counsel. Id. at 3. The Court found that Petitioner suffered from psychological problems, took medications to treat his psychological problems, and could manage his psychological problems if he took his medications. Id. at 2. The Court also noted that Petitioner could communicate in English, was generally alert and cooperative, and his thought processes were organized, linear, logical, and goal-directed. Id. at 2-3. After a review of his medical records, the Court observed that Petitioner aggressively sought the medications he believed to be best for him by repeatedly requesting those medications from prison psychiatrists, and by filing prison grievances when he did not receive those medications. Id. at 3. The Court stated that, in July of 2012, Petitioner engaged in a hunger strike because he did not receive the medications he deemed best for him, and he refused consultations with prison psychiatrists after those psychiatrists did not prescribe medications Petitioner deemed best for him. Id.

The Court found that Petitioner's medical records showed that he did not suffer a stroke, at least not after March 27, 2012. (Doc. No. 15 at 3.) The Court noted that, even if Plaintiff suffered a stroke before March 27, 2012, his medical records amply demonstrated that he was quite capable of forming opinions about his health care, and obtaining the health care he needed while in prison. Id . The Court observed that the medical records indicated that Petitioner had used many avenues to obtain what he needed or believed he needed. Id . The Court concluded that for the reasons stated in its first Order denying Petitioner's motion for appointment of counsel, and based on the Court's review of his medical records, Petitioner had not demonstrated that he required counsel to represent him in this action. Id. at 3-4. Therefore, the Court denied Petitioner's renewed Motion for Appointment of Counsel. Id. at 4.

B. INSTANT MOTION TO APPOINT COUNSEL

On December 18, 2014, Petitioner filed a third Motion to Appoint Counsel. (Doc. No. 49.) The District Judge accepted Petitioner's Motion to Appoint Counsel through a discrepancy order on December 18, 2014, directing that the motion be filed nunc pro tunc to the date received in the Clerk's Office. On April 27, 2015, the Motion was assigned to the undersigned. In his instant Motion, Petitioner asserts that he does not have the financial resources to retain counsel, and he is in no position to investigate crucial facts. (Doc. No. 49 at 1-2, 24.) He argues that his case involves substantial and complex procedural legal or mixed legal and factual questions, and that he has no comprehension of federal habeas corpus procedures. Id. at 4. He also claims that the case will require the assistance of experts in framing and proving the claims. Id. at 23. Petitioner claims that he has had ...


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