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Rodriguez v. Passaic County Juvenile Detention Center

September 12, 2006

RE: RODRIGUEZ
v.
PASSAIC COUNTY JUVENILE DETENTION CENTER ET AL.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Patty Shwartz United States Magistrate Judge

LETTER OPINION

Dear Litigants:

The Court is in receipt of plaintiff Mark Anthony Rodriguez, Jr.'s ["the plaintiff"] request for appointment of pro bono counsel under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1), dated July 17, 2006 and filed August 4, 2006. For the reasons set forth below, the plaintiff's request is denied without prejudice to reapply if his circumstances change.

BACKGROUND

The plaintiff is currently confined in the Passaic County Jail in Paterson, New Jersey.*fn1 On February 7, 2006, plaintiff filed the Complaint and an application to proceed in forma pauperis ["IFP"] against Passaic County, the Passaic County Juvenile Detention Center, and five officers of the Passaic County Juvenile Center. He alleges that on November 10, 2005, the defendants violated his civil rights when they used excessive force against him, which resulted in a fractured nose, severe back, neck, and head pain, lost consciousness, dizziness, and nose bleeds. [See Compl. at 2].

On June 28, 2006, the Court granted plaintiff's IFP application. [See Docket Entry No. 2]. On August 4, 2006 the plaintiff filed this application for the appointment of counsel. [See Docket Entry No. 6 "App. for Counsel"]. In his application, plaintiff argues that he is entitled to counsel because: (1) he lacks the ability to present an effective case and needs an attorney trained in civil rights matters; and (2) he has been unable to find an attorney who will accept his case. [See App. for Counsel at 3].

DISCUSSION

There is no constitutional or statutory right to appointed counsel for indigent civil litigants. Parham v. Johnson, 126 F.3d 454, 456-57 (3d Cir. 1997). District courts have broad discretion in determining whether the appointment of counsel is appropriate. 28 U.S.C. § 1915 (c)(1); Tabron v. Grace, 6 F.3d 147, 153 (3d Cir. 1993).

In considering a request for appointment of counsel, the Court must first assess the threshold matter of ". . . whether the claimant's case has some arguable merit in fact and law." Montgomery v. Pinchak, 294 F.3d 492, 498-99 (3d Cir. 2002). If the applicant satisfies this threshold requirement, then the Court should consider the following factors:

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

(2) the difficulty of the particular legal issues;

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

(4) the extent to which a case is likely to turn on ...


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