United States District Court, D. Nevada
J. Dawson United States District Judge
before the Court is Defendant's Objections to Magistrate
Judge's Order to Shackle Defendant (#18). The Government
did not file a response, and the time to do so has passed.
August 31, 2017, Defendant appeared before Magistrate Judge
Ferenbach in leg restraints. Prior to this initial
appearance, the U.S. Marshals Office (“Marshals”)
gave both counsel and the Magistrate Judge a prisoner
restraint form which detailed why the Marshals felt leg
restraints were appropriate for this particular Defendant. In
this form, the Marshals stated that on August 8, 2017,
Defendant had resisted arrest of an officer with a firearm.
Based on that particular event, the Magistrate Judge had
Defendant brought into the courtroom in leg restraints.
However, prior to beginning Defendant's initial
appearance, the Magistrate Judge held a hearing pursuant to
U.S. v. Sanchez-Gomez, 850 F.3d 649 (9th Cir. 2017),
to allow argument as to whether Defendant should remain in
leg restraints for the remainder of the appearance.
this hearing, the Government stated that in addition to the
Marshals' request, it too was requesting Defendant be
placed, at a minimum, in leg restraints. The Government
detailed the circumstances of Defendant's previous
resisting of an officer. It stated that Defendant had
forcibly resisted officers when they requested he accompany
them outside of a 7-Eleven. Defendant reached for his
waistband during the officers' attempt to detain him, and
later the officers recovered a firearm that had been located
in Defendant's front right pants pocket.
had no factual objection to the Government's explanation,
but instead stated that the Government's arguments were
“not good arguments” under U.S. v.
Sanchez-Gomez. Defendant argued there are three
scenarios in which Sanchez-Gomez envisioned
shackling, and that none of those scenarios were present
here. Ultimately, the Magistrate Judge highlighted his
responsibility to look at all factors, stating, “My job
is to protect not only the court personnel . . . but the
defendant himself from any acting out.” He stated he
must look at factors that in his discretion and experience
raise a safety concern, and that these particular facts raise
a concern for this particular defendant. As such, Defendant
remained in leg restraints during the hearing.
September 14, 2017, Defendant filed the present objections to
the Magistrate Judge's ruling.
non-dispositive order entered by a magistrate must be
deferred to unless it is ‘clearly erroneous or contrary
to law.'” Grimes v. County of San
Francisco, 951 F.2d 236, 241 (9th Cir. 1991); 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1)(A). The clearly erroneous standard applies
to factual findings, and the contrary to law standard applies
to legal determinations. Grimes, 951 F.2d at 240. A
magistrate judge's order is “contrary to law when
it fails to apply or misapplies relevant statutes, case law,
or rules of procedure.” U.S. v. Desage, 2017
WL 77415, at *3 (D. Nev. Jan. 9, 2017).
636(b)(1)(A) states a judge may reconsider any pretrial
matter upon a showing that the magistrate judge's order
is clearly erroneous or contrary to law. Magistrate judges
are given broad discretion and should not be overruled absent
a showing of clear abuse of discretion. Anderson v.
Equifax Info. Services, LLC, 2007 WL 2412249, at *1 (D.
Or. 2007). As such, “[t]he reviewing court may not
simply substitute its judgment for that of the deciding
court.” Grimes, 951 F.2d at 241 (citing
U.S. v. BNS, Inc., 858 F.2d 456, 464 (9th Cir.
1988)); see also Merritt v. International Broth. of
Boilermakers, 649 F.2d 1013, 1016-17 (5th Cir. 1981)
(“Pre-trial orders of a magistrate under 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1)(A) . . . are not subject to a de novo
determination as are a magistrate's proposed findings and
recommendations under § 636(b)(1)(B).”).
argues the Magistrate Judge's decision to place him in
leg restraints was inconsistent with Ninth Circuit precedent
U.S. v. Sanchez-Gomez. Defendant heavily relies on
the following language in Sanchez-Gomez:
“‘In all [ ] cases in which shackling has been
approved, ' we have noted, there has been ‘evidence
of disruptive courtroom behavior, attempts to escape
from custody, assaults or attempted assaults while in
custody, or a pattern of defiant behavior toward
corrections officials and judicial authorities.'”
Sanchez-Gomez, 859 F.3d at 660 (quoting Gonzalez
v. Pliler, 341 F.3d 897, 900 (9th Cir. 2003) (alteration
in original)). Defendant argues “[t]hese
are the circumstances the Court must find exist before
shackling a defendant, ” and that “[i]ndividual
facts that do not involve the type of disruptive behavior
identified in Sanchez-Gomez do not justify the use
of shackles.” (#18, at 6). However, Defendant's
tunnel vision on these examples mischaracterizes what
Sanchez-Gomez requires. The Ninth Circuit states it
[W]e hold that if the government seeks to shackle a
defendant, it must first justify the infringement with
specific security needs as to that particular defendant.
Courts must decide whether the stated need for security
outweighs the infringement on a defendant's right. This
decision cannot be deferred to security providers or
presumptively answered by routine policies.the infringement
on a defendant's right. ...