United States District Court, D. Nebraska
JARIEL A. PITTMAN, Petitioner,
SCOTT R. FRAKES, Respondent.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
John M. Gerrard United States District Judge
This matter is before the court on preliminary review of Petitioner Jariel Pittman’s Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (Filing No. 1) brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Upon review of the habeas corpus petition, the court determines that the claims, when liberally construed, are potentially cognizable in federal court. However, the court cautions Petitioner that no determination has been made regarding the merits of these claims or any defenses to them or whether there are procedural bars that will prevent Petitioner from obtaining the relief sought.
Petitioner seeks the appointment of counsel in this matter. “[T]here is neither a constitutional nor statutory right to counsel in habeas proceedings; instead, [appointment] is committed to the discretion of the trial court.” McCall v. Benson, 114 F.3d 754, 756 (8th Cir. 1997). As a general rule, counsel will not be appointed unless the case is unusually complex or the petitioner’s ability to investigate and articulate the claims is unusually impaired or an evidentiary hearing is required. See, e.g., Morris v. Dormire, 217 F.3d 556, 558-59 (8th Cir. 2000), cert. denied, 531 U.S. 984 (2000); Hoggard v. Purkett, 29 F.3d 469, 471 (8th Cir. 1994). See also Rule 8(c) of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts (requiring appointment of counsel if an evidentiary hearing is warranted). The court has carefully reviewed the record and finds there is no need for the appointment of counsel at this time.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that:
1. Petitioner’s Motion to Appoint Counsel (Filing No. 8) is denied without prejudice to reassertion.
2. Upon initial review of the habeas corpus petition, the court preliminarily determines that Petitioner’s claims are potentially cognizable in federal court.
3. The clerk of the court is directed to mail copies of this Memorandum and Order and the habeas corpus petition to Respondent and the Nebraska Attorney General by regular first-class mail.
4. By March 4, 2016, Respondent must file a motion for summary judgment or state court records in support of an answer. The clerk of the court is directed to set a pro se case management deadline in this case using the following text: March 4, 2016: deadline for Respondent to file state court records in support of answer or motion for summary judgment.
5. If Respondent elects to file a motion for summary judgment, the following procedures must be followed by Respondent and Petitioner:
A. The motion for summary judgment must be accompanied by a separate brief, submitted at the time the motion is filed.
B. The motion for summary judgment must be supported by any state court records that are necessary to support the motion. Those records must be contained in a separate filing entitled: “Designation of State Court Records in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment.” C. Copies of the motion for summary judgment, the designation, including state court records, and Respondent’s brief must be served on Petitioner except that Respondent is only required to provide Petitioner with a copy of the specific pages of the record that are cited in Respondent’s brief. In the event that the designation of state court records is deemed insufficient by Petitioner, Petitioner may file a motion with the court requesting additional documents. Such motion must set forth the documents requested and the reasons the documents are relevant to the cognizable claims.
D. No later than 30 days following the filing of the motion for summary judgment, Petitioner must file and serve a brief in opposition to the motion for summary judgment. Petitioner may not submit other documents unless directed to do so by the court.
E. No later than 30 days after Petitioner’s brief is filed, Respondent must file and serve a reply brief. In the event that Respondent elects not to file a reply brief, he should inform the court by filing a notice stating that he will not file a reply brief and that the motion is therefore fully submitted for decision.
F. If the motion for summary judgment is denied, Respondent must file an answer, a designation and a brief that complies with terms of this order. (See the following paragraph.) The documents must be filed no later than 30 days after the denial of the motion for summary judgment. Respondent is warned that failure to file an answer, a designation and a brief in a ...