United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING THE MOTION TO EXPAND THE
SEAN F. COX U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is habeas petitioner Antonio Watkins' motion to
expand the record. In his motion, petitioner actually
requests an evidentiary hearing and the appointment of
counsel. The Court DENIES the motion without prejudice.
The motion for an evidentiary hearing.
has requested an evidentiary hearing.
habeas petition is not dismissed at a previous stage in the
proceeding, the judge, after the answer and the transcript
and record of state court proceedings are filed, shall, upon
a review of those proceedings and of the expanded record, if
any, determine whether an evidentiary hearing is required. If
it appears that an evidentiary hearing is not required, the
judge shall make such disposition of the petition as justice
shall require. 28 U.S.C. foll. § 2254, Rule 8(a);
Hence v. Smith, 49 F.Supp.2d 547, 549 (E.D. Mich.
deciding whether to grant an evidentiary hearing, a federal
court must consider whether such a hearing could enable the
habeas petitioner to prove the petition's factual
allegations, which, if true, would entitle the petitioner to
federal habeas relief on his claim or claims. Schriro v.
Landrigan, 550 U.S. 465, 474 (2007). “[B]ecause
the deferential standards prescribed by § 2254 control
whether to grant habeas relief, a federal court must take
into account those standards in deciding whether an
evidentiary hearing is appropriate.” Id. If
the record refutes the habeas petitioner's factual
allegations or otherwise precludes habeas relief, a district
court is not required to hold an evidentiary hearing.
Id. Stated differently, a habeas petitioner is not
entitled to an evidentiary hearing on his claims if they lack
merit. See Stanford v. Parker, 266 F.3d 442, 459-60
(6th Cir. 2001). Under the provisions of the AEDPA,
evidentiary hearings are not mandatory in habeas cases.
See Vroman v. Brigano, 346 F.3d 598, 606 (6th
Cir.2003). An evidentiary hearing may be held only when the
habeas petition “alleges sufficient grounds for
release, relevant facts are in dispute, and the state courts
did not hold a full and fair evidentiary hearing.”
Sawyer v. Hofbauer, 299 F.3d 605, 610 (6th
Cir.2002). An evidentiary hearing is not required where the
record is complete or if the petition raises only legal
claims that can be resolved without the taking of additional
evidence. Ellis v. Lynaugh, 873 F.2d 830, 840
(5th Cir. 1989); United States v.
Sanders, 3 F.Supp.2d 554, 560 (M.D. Pa. 1998).
request for an evidentiary hearing will be denied without
prejudice because the Court has not yet received an answer or
the state court record from respondent. Without these
materials, the Court is unable to determine whether an
evidentiary hearing on petitioner's claims is needed.
Following receipt of these materials, the Court will then
determine whether an evidentiary hearing is necessary to
resolve petitioner's claims.
The motion for the appointment of counsel.
requested the appointment of counsel.
Court will deny the motion for the appointment of counsel.
There is no constitutional right to counsel in habeas
proceedings. Cobas v. Burgess, 306 F.3d 441, 444
(6th Cir. 2002). The decision to appoint counsel for a
federal habeas petitioner is within the discretion of the
court and is required only where the interests of justice or
due process so require. Mira v. Marshall, 806 F.2d
636, 638 (6th Cir. 1986). “Habeas corpus is an
extraordinary remedy for unusual cases” and the
appointment of counsel is therefore required only if, given
the difficulty of the case and petitioner's ability, the
petitioner could not obtain justice without an attorney, he
could not obtain a lawyer on his own, and he would have a
reasonable chance of winning with the assistance of counsel.
See Thirkield v. Pitcher, 199 F.Supp.2d 637, 653
(E.D. Mich. 2002). Appointment of counsel in a habeas
proceeding is mandatory only if the district court determines
that an evidentiary hearing is required. Lemeshko v.
Wrona, 325 F.Supp.2d 778, 787 (E.D. Mich. 2004). If no
evidentiary hearing is necessary, the appointment of counsel
in a habeas case remains discretionary. Id.
may be appointed, in exceptional cases, for a prisoner
appearing pro se in a habeas action.
Lemeshko, 325 F.Supp.2d at 788. The exceptional
circumstances justifying the appointment of counsel to
represent a prisoner acting pro se in a habeas
action occur where a petitioner has made a colorable claim,
but lacks the means to adequately investigate, prepare, or
present the claim. Id.
present case, petitioner has filed a 44 page petition for
writ of habeas corpus, in which he raises six claims for
relief. Petitioner has also attached to his petition numerous
exhibits in support of his claims. Petitioner therefore has
the means and ability to present his claims to the court.
Furthermore, until this Court reviews the pleadings filed by
petitioner and respondent and the Rule 5 materials, the Court
is unable to determine whether an evidentiary hearing is
necessary or required. Thus, the interests of justice at this
point in time do not require appointment of counsel. 18
U.S.C. § 3006A(a)(2)(B); 28 U.S.C. foll. § 2254,
Rules 6(a) and 8(c). The motion for the appointment of
counsel is denied without prejudice.
HEREBY ORDERED that the motion to expand the record [Dkt. #
15] is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. The Court will reconsider
petitioner's motion if, following receipt of the
responsive pleading and Rule 5 materials, the Court