Volume 99 - Issue 6 Georgetown Law Journal

An Appeal for Immediate Appealability: Applying the Collateral Order Doctrine to Orders Denying Appointed Counsel in Civil Rights Cases

Lee O. Wilson Jr. began his case as a pro se litigant. He alleged that the Virginia Department of Corrections misread his sentencing order, causing him to spend an extra five months in prison. He sought habeas corpus relief in state court as well as monetary damages pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. After Wilson’s sentence expired, § 1983 remained his only avenue for relief. As the complexity of his case became apparent, he requested that the district court afford him court-appointed counsel. On June 29, 2009, the district court denied his request.

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