United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
RICHARD CAPUTO, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court is Mr. Segura's Motion for Appointment
of Counsel (ECF No. 3) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(1). Plaintiff seeks court appointed counsel in this
matter due to his inability to afford counsel, his limited
knowledge of law, his limited access to the law library due
to his incarceration, need for a possible expert and his
belief that the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC)
will not provide him with discovery.
reasons set forth below, the motion will be denied.
Julio Segura, a state prisoner currently incarcerated at
SCI-Huntingdon brings the instant pro se civil
rights action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, challenging
his placement on the Restricted Release List (RRL) based on
his significant history of mental illness.
Standard of Review
prisoners have no constitutional or statutory right to the
appointment of counsel in a civil case, the Court has broad
discretionary power to appoint counsel under 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(1); see also Tabron v. Grace, 6 F.3d 147 (3d
decision, the Tabron Court announced the factors to
be considered by a district court when deciding whether to
exercise its discretion and appoint counsel for an indigent
litigant in a civil case. Initially, "the district court
must consider as a threshold the merits of the plaintiffs
claim." Tabron, 6 F.3d at 155. Next, if a claim
has arguable merit, "[t]he plaintiffs ability to present
his or her claim is, or course, a significant factor that
must be considered in determining whether to appoint
counsel." Id. at 156. "If it appears that
an indigent plaintiff with a claim of arguable merit is
incapable of presenting his or her own case ... and if such a
plaintiffs claim is truly substantial, counsel should
ordinarily be appointed." Id.
addition to the indigent plaintiffs ability to present his or
her case, Tabron requires the district court to
consider the following additional factors: (1) the difficulty
of the particular legal issues; (2) the degree to which
factual investigation will be necessary and the ability of
the plaintiff to pursue investigation; (3) the plaintiffs
capacity to retain counsel on his own behalf; (4) the extent
to which a case is likely to turn on credibility
determinations; and (5) whether the case will require
testimony from expert witnesses. Id. at 55 - 57.
However, while these factors are meant to guide the Court in
making its determination, they are not exhaustive and the
Court may consider any other factor it deems relevant.
Id. at 157. Moreover, it is noted that appointment
of counsel under § 1915(d) may be made by the court
sua sponte at any point in the litigation.
Id. at 156.
district "courts have no authority to compel counsel to
represent an indigent civil litigant, " id. at
157 n. 7, and courts are cautioned against the indiscriminate
appointment of counsel in view of the limited supply of
competent attorneys willing to accept such assignments.
Id. at 157.
the relevant Tabron factors in this case, the
appointment of counsel is not warranted at this time.
case is in its procedural infancy. Defendants were recently
served with the Complaint. Defendants will either challenge
the legal basis of the Complaint or file an answer. Until
then, the Court will not be able to fully assess the
threshold question of the arguable factual and legal merit of
Plaintiffs claims for the purpose of appointing him counsel.
Additionally, the Court notes that to date Mr. Segura's
filings have been legible, clearly written and demonstrate
clarity of thought and ability to present cogent arguments.
He does not suggest, or provide other documentation, that he
presently suffers from any impediment unusual to other
pro se prisoner litigants that appear before this
Court. Although ...