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Satterfield v. City of Englewood

February 6, 2007

RE: SATTERFIELD
v.
CITY OF ENGLEWOOD



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

U.S. Post Office & Courthouse Bldg. Federal Square, Newark, NJ 07101 (973) 645-6596

LETTER OPINION & ORDER

Dear Litigants:

The Court is in receipt of plaintiff Jamal Satterfield's request for appointment of pro bono counsel under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1), filed January 31, 2007. For the reasons set forth below, the plaintiff's request is denied.

BACKGROUND

On December 18, 2006, plaintiff filed a Complaint and an application to proceed in forma pauperis ["IFP"]. The plaintiff's request to proceed IFP was granted, his Complaint was filed, and he was permitted to pursue his claims, that on August 12, 2006, the defendants violated his civil rights by assaulting him, illegally searching him and filing false charges against him. See Order, dated January 9, 2007 Compl. at ¶ 4.

On January 31, 2007, the plaintiff filed this application for the appointment of counsel. See Docket Entry No. 6. In his application, plaintiff argues that he is entitled to counsel because:

(1) he cannot afford an attorney; and (2) he is not knowledgeable about the law or civil procedure. 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 ...


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