United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
October 25, 2005.
JOSE I. MACIA, Petitioner,
TROY WILLIAMSON, WARDEN Respondent.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: WILLIAM CALDWELL, Senior District Judge
On October 17, 2005, Jose I. Macia, a federal prisonser housed
at FCI-Allenwood, initiated this habeas corpus action pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2241. (Doc. 1). His petition concerns a June 2004
disciplinary report he received after escaping from an open
institution. Macia challenges the appropriateness of a
Disciplinary Hearing Officer's actions of questioning him and
ultimately proceeding with his disciplinary hearing knowing Macia
was also subject to criminal prosecution for the escape. (Id.)
Presently pending before the Court is Macia's one page motion for
appointment of counsel. (Doc. 3). Macia's motion is based on his
indigent status and the claim that he does not "have the
experience or a legal education to adequately represent [himself]" in this matter. (Id.) For the reasons that follow, the
motion will be denied.
There is no automatic constitutional or statutory right to the
appointment of counsel in federal habeas corpus proceedings. See
Coleman v. Thompson, 501 U.S. 722, 725 (1991); Pennsylvania v.
Finley, 481 U.S. 551, 555 (1987). Appointment of counsel in a
habeas proceeding is mandatory only if the district court
determines that an evidentiary hearing is required. See Rule 8(c)
of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases;
18 U.S.C. § 3006A(a)(2)(B). Otherwise, a court may exercise its discretion in
appointing counsel to represent a habeas petitioner if it
"determines that the interests of justice so require" and that
the petitioner is financially unable to obtain adequate
representation. 18 U.S.C. § 3006A(a)(2). Other factors a court
must consider when making a decision regarding the appointment of
counsel to represent a pro se prisoner in a habeas action are
whether a petitioner has made a colorable claim but lacks the
means to adequately investigate, prepare, or present the claim.
Reese v. Fulcomer, 946 F.2d 247, 264-265 (3d Cir. 1991).
In this case, appointment of counsel is not warranted at this
time. Macia's petition for writ of habeas corpus was just recently served on Respondent. No response to the Petition
has been filed yet. More importantly, Macia himself does not
present any basis for the appointment of counsel. See Doc. 3.
Macia's motion for counsel simply requests counsel because he is
indigent and does not have legal training. However, given the
requisite liberal construction afforded pro se pleadings, Haines
v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972), coupled with Macia's apparent
ability to present an extensive well drafted petition, the
appointment of counsel at this time is not warranted.
Petitioner's motion for appointment of counsel will therefore be
denied. In the event, however, that future proceedings
demonstrate the need for counsel, the matter may be reconsidered
either sua sponte or upon a motion properly filed by the
We will issue an appropriate order. ORDER
AND NOW, this 25th day of October, 2005, for the reasons set
forth in the foregoing memorandum, it is ordered that Macia's
Motion for Appointment of Counsel (Doc. 3) is denied without
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