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Andre Jackson v. Kane County

United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois


February 16, 2011

ANDRE JACKSON
v.
KANE COUNTY, ET AL.

Name of Assigned Judge Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge JAMES F. HOLDERMAN than Assigned Judge

CASE TITLE DOCKET ENTRY TEXT:

The plaintiff's renewed motion for appointment of counsel [#69] is denied. The plaintiff is once again reminded that he must provide the court with the original plus a judge's copy of every document filed.

O [For further details see text below.] Docketing to mail notices.

STATEMENT

The plaintiff, Andre Jackson, a former prisoner, has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiff claims that the defendants, Kane County and its Sheriff, violated the plaintiff's constitutional rights by subjecting him to inhumane conditions of confinement at the Kane County Jail. More specifically, the plaintiff alleges that he went without a mattress for sixty-five days, that his cell was infested with rodents and insects, that the cellblock and showers were unclean and odorous, that there was poor ventilation, that the plumbing was in disrepair, that there was no hot water for extended periods of time, and that he was denied articles of hygiene, among other aspects of confinement he found deplorable.

The plaintiff's renewed motion for appointment of counsel is denied. There is no constitutional or statutory right to counsel in federal civil cases. Romanelli v. Suliene, 615 F.3d 847, 851 (2010); see also Johnson v. Doughty, 433 F.3d 1001, 1006 (7th Cir. 2006). Nevertheless, the district court has discretion under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1) to request counsel for an indigent litigant. Pruitt v. Mote, 503 F.3d 647, 654 (7th Cir. 2007), citing Johnson, 433 F.3d at 1006. When a pro se litigant submits a request for appointment of counsel, the court must first consider whether the indigent plaintiff has made reasonable attempts to secure counsel on his own, or conversely, if he has been precluded from doing so. Pruitt, 503 F.3d at 654. Next, the court must evaluate the complexity of the case and whether the plaintiff appears competent to litigate it on his own. Id. at 654-55. Another consideration is whether the assistance of counsel would provide a substantial benefit to the court orthe parties, potentially affecting the outcome of the case. Id. at 654; Gil v. Reed, 381 F.3d 649, 656 (7th Cir. 2004); see also Local Rule 83.36(c) (N.D. Ill.) (listing the factors to be taken into account in determining whether to appoint counsel).

After considering the above factors, the court concludes that appointment of counsel is not warranted in this case. Although the complaint sets forth cognizable claims, the plaintiff has alleged no physical or mental disability that might preclude him from adequately investigating the facts giving rise to his complaint. Neither the legal issues raised in the complaint nor the evidence that might support the plaintiff's claims are so complex or intricate that a trained attorney is necessary. The plaintiff, whose submissions to date have been coherent and articulate, appears more than capable of presenting his case, notwithstanding the fact that another judge appointed counsel to represent the plaintiff in one of his other cases. It should additionally be noted that the court grants pro se litigants wide latitude in the handling of their lawsuits. Therefore, the plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel is denied at this time. Should the case proceed to a point that assistance of counsel is appropriate, the court may revisit this request.

20110216

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