United States District Court, D. Nevada
BILLY R. JONES, Plaintiff,
RENEE BAKER, et al., Defendants.
ORDER RE: ECF NO. 18
WILLIAM G. COBB, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the court is Plaintiff's Motion for the Appointment of
Counsel. (ECF No. 18.) Plaintiff bases his motion on (1) the
fact he “only completed 9th grade education who has
little to no knowledge of legal and civil law, ” (2)
that Plaintiff is placed in segregation and has extremely
limited access to the law library, (3) that Plaintiff was
transferred out of the NDOC prison system to another prison
and does not know where potential witnesses are located and
will greatly impact his ability to litigate and engage in
effective discovery, (4) that Plaintiff “has speech
impediment and is unable to accurately verbally or orally
communicate, words, thoughts, or translate accurate legal
argument due to childhood speech impediment, ”and (5)
that Plaintiff has made an effort to obtain counsel but does
not have the funds necessary or available to obtain counsel.
(Id. at 3.)
litigant in a civil rights action does not have a Sixth
Amendment right to appointed counsel. Storseth v.
Spellman, 654 F.2d 1349, 1353 (9th Cir. 1981). In very
limited circumstances, federal courts are empowered to
request an attorney to represent an indigent civil litigant.
The circumstances in which a court will grant such a request,
however, are exceedingly rare, and the court will grant the
request under only extraordinary circumstances. United
States v. 30.64 Acres of Land, 795 F.2d 796, 799-800
(9th Cir. 1986); Wilborn v. Escalderon, 789 F.2d
1328, 1331 (9th Cir. 1986).
finding of such exceptional or extraordinary circumstances
requires that the court evaluate both the likelihood of
Plaintiff's success on the merits and the pro se
litigant's ability to articulate his claims in light of
the complexity of the legal issues involved. Neither factor
is controlling; both must be viewed together in making the
finding. Terrell v. Brewer, 935 F.2d 1015, 1017 (9th
Cir. 1991), citing Wilborn, supra, 789 F.2d at 1331.
Plaintiff has shown an ability to articulate his claims. (ECF
Nos. 4, 8, 14, 18.)
matter of a case's complexity, the Ninth Circuit in
Wilborn noted that:
If all that was required to establish successfully the
complexity of the relevant issues was a demonstration of the
need for development of further facts, practically all cases
would involve complex legal issues. Thus, although Wilborn
may have found it difficult to articulate his claims pro
se, he has neither demonstrated a likelihood of success
on the merits nor shown that the complexity of the issues
involved was sufficient to require designation of counsel.
Ninth Circuit therefore affirmed the District Court's
exercise of discretion in denying the request for appointment
of counsel because the Plaintiff failed to establish the case
was complex as to facts or law. 789 F.2d at 1331.
substantive claims involved in this action are not unduly
complex. Plaintiff's Complaint was allowed to proceed on
an excessive force claim against Defendants Godiez and
Williams, and a failure to protect claim against Defendants
Kerner and Bryant. (ECF No. 7 at 9.) These claims are not so
complex that counsel needs to be appointed to prosecute them.
with respect to the Terrell factors, Plaintiff has
failed to convince the court of the likelihood of success on
the merits of his claims.
any pro se inmate such as Mr. Jones would likely
benefit from services of counsel, that is not the standard
this court must employ in determining whether counsel should
be appointed. Wood v. Housewright, 900 F.2d 1332,
1335-1336 (9th Cir. 1990).
United States Supreme Court has generally stated that
although Congress provided relief for violation of one's
civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the right to access
to the courts is only a right to bring complaints to federal
court and not a right to discover such claims or to litigate
them effectively once filed with a court. Lewis v.
Casey, 518 U.S. 343, 354-355 (1996).
Court does not have the power “to make coercive
appointments of counsel." Mallard v. U.S. Dist.
Ct, 490 U.S. 296, 310 (1989). Thus, the Court can
appoint counsel only under exceptional circumstances.
Palmer v. Valdez, 560 F.3d 965, 970 (9th Cir. 2009)
[cert den 130 S.Ct. 1282 (2010)]. Plaintiff has not shown
that the exceptional circumstances necessary for appointment
of counsel are present in this case.
exercise of the court's discretion, it
DENIES Plaintiffs motion (ECF No. 18).