United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
G. FLEISSIG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on petitioner Walter
Griffith's “motion to stay amended/supplemental
pleadings or, in the alternative, motion for extension of
time.” (Docket No. 8). Petitioner has also filed a
motion to appoint counsel. (Docket No. 9). For the reasons
discussed below, petitioner's motion to stay and motion
for extension of time will be denied. However, petitioner
will be given an opportunity to file a third amended petition
within thirty days, containing all his grounds for relief.
Additionally, the Court will deny petitioner's motion for
appointment of counsel at this time.
30, 2012, the State of Missouri filed a 24-count indictment
against petitioner, charging him with statutory sodomy in the
first degree, statutory rape in the first degree, child
molestation in the first degree, forcible rape, and forcible
sodomy. State of Missouri v. Griffith, No.
1222-CR04269 (22nd Judicial Cir., St. Louis
City). Following a jury trial, petitioner was
convicted of twenty counts of sexual abuse. On June 13, 2014,
he was sentenced to a term of life imprisonment on the child
molestation charge, as well an aggregate prison term of over
300 years on the various other charges.
filed a notice of appeal on June 23, 2014. The judgment was
affirmed by the Missouri Court of Appeals on August 18, 2015.
State of Missouri v. Griffith, No. ED101622
(Mo.Ct.App. E.D. 2015). Petitioner also filed a motion to
vacate, set aside or correct the judgment or sentence,
pursuant to Missouri Supreme Court Rule 29.15. Griffith
v. State of Missouri, No. 1422-CC08967 (22nd
Judicial Cir., St. Louis City). The circuit court granted the
motion in part, in order to resentence petitioner on Count
XX, and to correct the written judgment as to Count XVIII.
The balance of the motion was denied, and petitioner
appealed. The Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed the
judgement of the circuit court on June 5, 2018. Griffith
v. State of Missouri, No. ED105488 (Mo.Ct.App. E.D.
2018). The Court of Appeals issued its mandate on June 29,
filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2254 on September 28, 2018. (Docket No. 1).
Initially, he failed to sign the petition, and was ordered to
do so by the Court on December 14, 2018. Petitioner returned
a signed petition on January 7, 2019. (Docket No. 5).
February 8, 2019, the Court directed petitioner to file a
second amended petition that included his proposed grounds
for relief. (Docket No. 6). Petitioner was given thirty days
in which to file his second amended petition. Petitioner duly
complied with the Court's order by filing a second
amended petition for writ of habeas corpus that included an
ineffective assistance of counsel claim. At the same time,
petitioner also filed a motion to stay, or in the
alternative, a motion for an extension of time. (Docket No.
8). In the motion, petitioner states that he has additional
grounds he wishes to pursue, but that he is awaiting legal
documents from his public defender. He requests an additional
thirty days in which to supplement his pleadings.
is requesting additional time in which to supplement his
petition for writ of habeas corpus with additional grounds
for relief. (Docket No. 8). The Court will not allow
petitioner to bring his claims piecemeal. Therefore, his
motion to stay the proceedings or for an extension of time to
supplement his petition will be denied.
petitioner will be allowed to file a third amended petition
containing all his grounds for relief. The
Clerk of Court will be directed to send to petitioner a copy
of the Court's 28 U.S.C. § 2254 form. Petitioner is
directed to fill out the form, sign it, and return it to the
Court. In completing the form, petitioner must allege all his
grounds for relief and provide facts to support each ground.
He is cautioned that only those grounds he has exhausted in
state court will be allowed to proceed in federal court. That
is, the grounds he presents in his § 2254 petition must
be the same as those he presented to the Missouri Appellate
Courts in his direct appeal and the appeal on his Rule 29.15
motion. Petitioner is also cautioned that if he fails to
assert all grounds for relief, he may be barred from
presenting additional grounds at a later date. Petitioner
will be given thirty (30) days from the date
of this order in which to file his third amended petition for
writ of habeas corpus.
has also filed a motion for appointment of counsel. (Docket
No. 9). The motion will be denied at this time. “A pro
se litigant has no statutory or constitutional right to have
counsel appointed in a civil case.” Stevens v.
Redwing, 146 F.3d 538, 546 (8th Cir. 1998). A district
court may appoint counsel in a civil case if the court is
“convinced that an indigent plaintiff has stated a
non-frivolous claim…and where the nature of the
litigation is such that plaintiff as well as the court will
benefit from the assistance of counsel.” Patterson
v. Kelley, 902 F.3d 845, 850 (8th Cir. 2018).
When determining whether to appoint counsel for an indigent
litigant, a court considers relevant factors such as the
complexity of the case, the ability of the pro se litigant to
investigate the facts, the existence of conflicting
testimony, and the ability of the pro se litigant to present
his or her claim. Phillips v. Jasper Cty. Jail, 437
F.3d 791, 794 (8thCir. 2006).
reviewing these factors, the Court finds that the appointment
of counsel is not warranted at this time. Plaintiff has
demonstrated, at this point, that he can adequately present
his claims to the Court. The Court will entertain future
motions for appointment of counsel as the case progresses.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that petitioner's
“motion to stay amended/supplemental pleadings or, in
the alternative, motion for extension of time” (Docket
No. 8) is DENIED.
IS FURTHER ORDERED that petitioner's motion for
appointment of counsel (Docket ...