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United States v. Johnson

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


August 7, 2007

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL SCOTT JOHNSON, DEFENDANT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hayes, Judge

ORDER

The matter before the Court is the Motion to Compel the MCC to provide Michael Johnson with appropriate shaving equipment filed by Defendant Michael Scott Johnson (Doc. #42).

On September 29, 2006, the grand jury returned an indictment charging in Count One that on or about December 25, 1978 the Defendant unlawfully killed Suesette Bluing with premeditation and malice aforethought and in Count Two that on or about December 25, 1978 the Defendant unlawfully killed Suesette Bluing with malice aforethought in the attempt to perpetrate a rape. Defendant remains in pretrial custody at the Metropolitan Corrections Center (MCC) awaiting trial.

Defendant requests that the Court order the MCC to allow him to purchase and maintain an electric clipper, or order the MCC to provide a separate electric clipper which is not used by other inmates for his use. Defendant's Memorandum of Points and Authorities in support of his motion asserts that he suffers from a condition called "Pseudofolliculitis Barbae" which causes severe inflammation if his beard is not trimmed properly; that the appropriate shaving equipment is either electric clippers or battery operated clippers; that the MCC has insisted that he use electric clippers which are used by numerous other inmates. Defendant submits an administrative appeal of the denial of his request for battery operated clippers and a denial of the appeal by the Administrator of the National Inmate Appeals. The denial states in part that "[t]he most effective treatment for this condition is to permit the beard to grow" and, in the alternative, "the housing unit has clippers available for your use." (Doc. # 42-3.)

Defendant contends that pretrial detainees are not prisoners and are not constitutionally subject to punishment. Defendant contends that it not an unbearable burden to require the institution to maintain separate electric clippers for his use not used by other inmates.

RULING OF THE COURT

"Pretrial detainees have a substantive due process right against restrictions that amount to punishment. This right is violated if restrictions are imposed for the purpose of punishment. There is no constitutional infringement, however, if restrictions are but an incident of some other legitimate government purpose. In such circumstances restrictions are permissible." Valdez v. Rosenbaum, 302 F.3d 1039, 1045 (9th Cir. 2002)(citations and quotations omitted). The motion before this court does not allege facts from which the Court could conclude that the Defendant is subject to any conditions of detention which "amount to punishment, or otherwise violate the Constitution." Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 538, 567, 99 S.Ct. 1861, 1873 (1979).

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Motion to Compel the MCC to provide Michael Johnson with appropriate shaving equipment filed by Defendant Michael Scott Johnson (Doc. #42) is DENIED.

WILLIAM Q. HAYES United States District Judge

20070807

© 1992-2007 VersusLaw Inc.



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