Abuse of Discretion 8th Amendment Violation.

Byline: Derek Hawkins

7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: Randy McCaa v. Todd Hamilton, et al.,

Case No.: 19-1603

Officials: KANNE, ROVNER, and HAMILTON, Circuit Judges.

Focus: Abuse of Discretion 8th Amendment Violation

Plaintiff Randy McCaa is a Wisconsin prisoner who alleges that prison officials violated his Eighth Amendment rights by responding with deliberate indifference to his threats to commit suicide or to harm himself in other ways. The district court granted summary judgment for defendants over McCaa's pro se efforts to oppose the motion. In McCaa v. Hamilton, 893 F.3d 1027, 103435 (7th Cir. 2018), we ruled that in denying plaintiff's fourth motion for recruitment of counsel, the district court had not addressed sufficiently McCaa's ability to present his case himself. The district court had already denied earlier requests by McCaa to recruit counsel. We were most concerned about the effects of McCaa's transfer to a different prison where he said he could not locate witnesses or obtain other discovery, as well as the effects of his fifth-grade reading level and serious mental illness. We remanded with instructions to the district court to reconsider recruitment of counsel, but we pointedly did not say that recruitment of counsel would be required.

On remand, the district court took a fresh look at the issue and reached the same decision to not attempt to recruit counsel. McCaa has appealed again, arguing that the district court failed to comply with our mandate. We affirm. Judge Stadtmueller wrote a detailed and persuasive opinion explaining why he did not think this was an appropriate case for attempting recruitment of counsel. He complied with our mandate and did not abuse his discretion in reaching that decision.

As recounted in our prior opinion, 893 F.3d at 103031, McCaa sued prison officials for violating the Eighth Amendment through their deliberate indifference to his risk of suicide and self-harm. The district court denied McCaa's requests to recruit counsel and simultaneously granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment when it denied McCaa's renewed request in 2016. The court...

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