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Jean-Pierre K. Thomas v. M. Garcia

January 18, 2013

JEAN-PIERRE K. THOMAS
PLAINTIFF,
v.
M. GARCIA, ET. AL, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jennifer L. Thurston United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER DENYING REQUEST NOT TO BE SHACKLED DURING TRIAL AND GRANTING REQUEST TO WEAR STREET CLOTHES AT TRIAL (Doc. 136) ORDER DENYING REQUEST FOR AN ORDER TO CORRESPOND WITH INMATE-WITNESSES (Doc. 139) ORDER DISREGARDING LETTER (Doc. 142)

Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding in forma pauperis with a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Before the Court are several motions filed by Plaintiff related to his trial.

I. Request to be unshackled and to wear street clothes at trial

On January 2, 2013, Plaintiff filed a motion requesting that he not be shackled during his trial on this civil rights claim. (Doc. 136) Presumably Plaintiff is concerned that jurors will be aware that he is in custody and he will suffer prejudice thereby.

Notably, Plaintiff's claim stems from a claim that he suffered excessive force while housed at Kern Valley State Prison. (Doc. 1) Indeed, his claim is based upon the Eighth Amendment which applies only to convicted inmates and which will require him to prove he was in prison at the time of 2 the events at issue. (Doc. 5) 3

On the other hand, the Court will make efforts at trial to disguise the fact that Plaintiff is now in custody. For example, counsel will be required to remain seated so that Plaintiff's inability to 5 stand-due to his shackles-will not be noted as unusual. Also, he will only be moved in and out of 6 the courtroom when the jury is not present so that the jurors will not see his shackles.
Moreover, Plaintiff offers no authority or justification explaining why he should not be shackled during trial and the Court will not second-guess prison officials' determination in this regard.

Thus, the request is DENIED.

However, Plaintiff will be allowed to wear street clothes during the trial if they are provided to the US Marshal Service in advance of trial. It is Plaintiff's sole responsibility to ensure that clothes are provided in accordance with the requirements of the CDCR and the US Marshal Service. Thus, to this extent, the request is GRANTED.

II. Motion to correspond with inmate-witnesses

Plaintiff seeks an order permitting him to correspond with inmates Michael Key, Frank Ward*fn1 , Lovoyne Macon, Damion Moore and Dewayne Thedford. (Doc. 139 at 1) He asserts that he has requested through his correctional counselor, to be allowed to have this correspondence but his requests have been denied. Id.

Review of the documents attached to the motion reveals that Plaintiff did not complete the process required by the California Code of Regulations. (Doc. 139 at 8) On December 16, 2012, Plaintiff made a request to his counselor to have the correspondence with the inmates. Id. The request was denied because Plaintiff failed to provide a "request for correspondence" form for each inmate with which he wished to correspond. Id. He failed to do this.

Interestingly, on August 4, 2010, he was approved to correspond with Michael Key. (Doc. 139 at 18) Indeed, Plaintiff has corresponded with Key and has received a declaration from him. (Doc. 118 at 4) However, his request as to Dewayne Thedford and Lovoyne Macon made on May 28, 2010, was denied because the inmates were not relatives. Id. at 19, 20. On these forms, Plaintiff failed to 2 provide information that Mr. Macon was a witness in a case nor any documentation of the litigation. 3

Id. When he again submitted the form, the prison where Macon was housed could not verify that the 4 litigation truly existed. Id. at 21. He did not provide a renewed request with additional documentation 5 as to either Thedford or Macon. There is no indication that Plaintiff ever ...


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