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Godfrey v. Faulkner

United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division

April 14, 2015

ALLEN LEE GODFREY, SR. Plaintiff,
v.
OFFICER D. R. FAULKNER, ET AL., Defendants.

ORDER

NORMAN K. MOON. District Judge.

After review of the record, it is now ORDERED as follows:

1. Defendants' objection and request for reconsideration (Docket No. 145) is OVERRULED. After I denied summary judgment for some defendants and allowed pretrial discovery, I granted plaintiff's motion to amend to substitute Officer Collins of the Roanoke City Police Department for the John Doe defendant in the complaint who allegedly pulled off plaintiff's pants after he was in handcuffs. Defendants assert, with no reference to evidence in the record, that plaintiff had no factual basis for naming Collins as a defendant, because Collins did not arrive at the scene of arrest until after plaintiff was "in custody." I find no merit to defendants' objection to the amendment.
2. Defendants' motion for clarification of the issues to be set for trial (Docket No. 146) is DENIED. Defendants express concern that I did not address plaintiff's claims that Officer Faulkner did not have probable cause to question Godfrey, to pull him from his truck, or to arrest him. I find no such claims asserted in Godfrey's complaint.
3. Godfrey's motions for appointment of counsel (Docket Nos. 130 & 136) are DENIED. "[A] ยง 1983 litigant has no right to appointed counsel...."[1] McMillian v. Wake Cnty. Sheriff's Dep't, 399 F.Appx. 824, 829 (4th Cir. 2010) (unpublished) (citing Bowman v. White, 388 F.2d 756, 761 (4th Cir. 1968)). Nevertheless, a district court may appoint counsel when "a pro se litigant has a colorable claim but lacks the capacity to present it.'" Id. (quoting Whisenant v. Yuam, 739 F.2d 160, 163 (4th Cir. 1984), abrogated on other grounds by Mallard v. U.S. Dist. Ct., 490 U.S. 296, 298 (1989)). Plaintiff states that he needs counsel to conduct pretrial discovery under the timeline set in the pretrial scheduling order, to choose and to cross-examine defendants' witnesses. I find from review of plaintiff's pleadings and motions, however, that plaintiff has the capacity to present his case, which rests on the parties' differing versions of what happened on the night of plaintiff's arrest. If plaintiff believes that he needs a reasonable extension of time to prepare for trial, he may so move. I will address separately plaintiff's motion for preparation of subpoenas.
4. Plaintiff's motion for an "MRI" (Docket No. 150) for use as evidence at trial is DENIED. This motion asks the court to direct state prison officials to arrange for plaintiff to have a "designated medical examiner/expert to conduct a[n] MRI/Full body scan on plaintiffs back, left shoulder and both wrists, so plaintiff can present these findings to the jury." Plaintiff's right to access the court does not encompass a right to require the court, the federal government, state prison officials, or defendants to fund the costs of obtaining evidence plaintiff wishes to develop to support his case. See Johnson v. Hubbard, 698 F.2d 286, 289 (6th Cir. 1983), abrogation on other grounds recognized by L & W Supply Corp. v. Acuity, 475 F.3d 737 (6th Cir. 2007) (noting that plaintiff's right of access to the courts does not obligate "a court to grant every party a perfect trial in all aspects").

The Clerk is directed to send a copy of this order to plaintiff and to counsel of record for defendants.


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