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Kooy v. Cathel

May 19, 2006

JEFFREY KOOY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
RONALD H. CATHEL, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Cooper, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Plaintiff Jeffrey Kooy is a prisoner confined at New Jersey State Prison who seeks to bring this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his constitutional rights in the denial of parole. By Opinion and Order (dkt. entry nos. 3, 4) entered February 28, 2006, this Court dismissed Plaintiff's claim under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 and granted him leave to file an amended complaint by April 17, 2006.

This matter comes before the Court pursuant to Plaintiff's Application [6] for Pro Bono Counsel under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1). Plaintiff has not filed an amended complaint.

I. ANALYSIS

Indigent persons raising civil rights claims have no absolute constitutional right to counsel. Parham v. Johnson, 126 F.3d 454, 456-57 (3d Cir. 1997). In determining whether to appoint counsel, a court should consider several factors:

As a preliminary matter, the plaintiff's claim must have some merit in fact and law. ... If the district court determines that the plaintiff's claim has some merit, then the district court should consider the following factors:

(1) the plaintiff's ability to present his or her own case;

(2) the complexity of the legal issues;

(3) the degree to which factual investigation will be necessary and the ability of the plaintiff to pursue such investigation;

(4) the amount a case is likely to turn on credibility determinations;

(5) whether the case will require the testimony of expert witnesses;

(6) whether the plaintiff can attain and afford counsel on his own behalf.

[Tabron v. Grace, 6 F.3d 147, 155-56, 157 n.5 (3d Cir. 1993), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 1196 (1994).] This list of factors is not exhaustive, but instead should serve as a guide post for the district courts.

Correspondingly, courts should exercise care in appointing counsel because volunteer lawyer time is a precious commodity and should not be ...


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