United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois
September 13, 2012
CHARLES PERKINS (#2011-1128056)
COOK COUNTY MUNICIPALITY, ET AL.
Name of Assigned Judge Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge RONALD A. GUZMAN than Assigned Judge
CASE TITLE DOCKET ENTRY TEXT:
The plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel [#13] 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.
The plaintiff, a pretrial detainee in the custody of the Cook County Department of Corrections, has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiff claims that the defendants, jail officials, violated the plaintiff's constitutional rights by denying him due process in jail disciplinary proceedings and by retaliating against him. More specifically, the plaintiff alleges that his entire tier was placed on lockdown as punishment for two inmates' lawsuits, and that he and his fellow detainees were summarily disciplined for no valid reason. This matter is before the court for ruling on the plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel.
The motion 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 or the 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 has had the wherewithal to bring five lawsuits already this year in this district alone; furthermore, his submissions to date have been coherent and articulate. The plaintiff appears more than capable of presenting his case, notwithstanding his failure to complete high school. 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.
The plaintiff is once again reminded that he must provide the court with the original plus a judge's copy of every document filed.
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