United States District Court, D. South Carolina
August 13, 2014
Jamil Aba Mecha Jamison, Plaintiff,
Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center, Captain Michael F. Higgins, Unknown Jane Doe Officers, Unknown John Doe Officers, and Unknown Director, Defendants.
SHIVA V. HODGES, Magistrate Judge.
This is a civil action filed by a state prisoner. Therefore, in the event that a limitations issue arises, Plaintiff shall have the benefit of the holding in Houston v. Lack, 487 U.S. 266 (1988) (prisoner's pleading was filed at the moment of delivery to prison authorities for forwarding to District Court). Under Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(d) (D.S.C.), pretrial proceedings in this action have been referred to the assigned United States Magistrate Judge.
Plaintiff files a motion to appoint counsel in this action. [Entry #33]. There is no right to appointed counsel in a case filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Cf. Hardwick v. Ault, 517 F.2d 295, 298 (5th Cir. 1975). While the court is granted the power to exercise its discretion to appoint counsel for an indigent in a civil action, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1); Smith v. Blackledge, 451 F.2d 1201 (4th Cir. 1971), such appointment "should be allowed only in exceptional cases." Cook v. Bounds, 518 F.2d 779, 780 (4th Cir. 1975). Plaintiff's motion fails to demonstrate that exceptional circumstances exist in this case. Rather, Plaintiff states that he is unable to afford counsel, that imprisonment limits his ability to properly investigate, research and litigate this case, and that "counsel would better enable Plaintiff to present evidence and cross examine witnesses." [Entry #33 at 1].
These are typical complaints from prisoners proceeding pro se, and after a review of the motion, the court has determined that there are no exceptional or unusual circumstances presented which would justify the appointment of counsel, nor would Plaintiff be denied due process if an attorney were not appointed. Whisenant v. Yuam, 739 F.2d 160 (4th Cir. 1984), abrogated on other grounds by Mallard v. U.S. Dist. Court, 490 U.S. 296 (1989). The issues in most civil rights cases are not complex, and whenever such a case brought by an uncounseled litigant goes to trial, the court outlines the proper procedure so the uncounseled litigant will not be deprived of a fair opportunity to present his or her case. Accordingly, Plaintiff's motion for a discretionary appointment of counsel under 28 U.S.C. § 1915 (e)(1) is denied.
TO THE CLERK OF COURT:
This case is subject to summary dismissal based on an initial screening conducted pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915 and/or 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. The Clerk of Court shall not issue the summons or forward this matter to the United States Marshal for service of process at this time.
IT IS SO ORDERED.