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United States v. Canterbury

United States District Court, D. Nevada

February 9, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
RICHARD LEE CANTERBURY, Defendant.

          ORDER

          KENT J. DAWSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Presently before the Court is Defendant's Motion for Dismissal for the Violation of the Fourteenth Amendment (#86), Motion for Dismissal for the Violation of the Sixth Amendment, Speedy Trial Act, and Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 48 (#87), and Motion for Dismissal for the Violation of the Eighth Amendment (#88). Also before the Court is Defendant's Motion Requesting Additional Law Library Time to Prepare for Trial (#84). Also before the Court is Defendant's Motion Concerning Basic Medical Care (#85).

         I. Background

         On April 6, 2016, Defendant Richard Lee Canterbury was charged with violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a). Defendant's trial was originally set for June 20, 2016. As of now, Defendant has received seven continuances of his trial date. Additionally, Defendant has had four attorneys representing him in this matter thus far. On January 25, 2018, the Court granted Defendant's Motion to Allow Self Representation, and Thomas Ericsson, who was Defendant's fourth appointed attorney, remained appointed as Stand-By Counsel. Defendant requested different Stand-By Counsel, but the Court denied his request, finding no good cause to grant it.

         On January 31, 2018, Defendant requested an additional six-month continuance to prepare his defense for his trial. The Court denied Defendant's request, and instead granted the parties' stipulation to a two-week continuance, setting trial for February 20, 2018 at 9:00 AM. On February 6, 2018, Defendant filed the present five motions.

         II. Analysis

         Defendant alleges numerous Constitutional violations, and that such violations are grounds for dismissal of his charges. Defendant also moves for more time to prepare his defense, and moves to have the Court intervene in the handling of his medical needs during his pre-trial detention.

         As a preliminary matter, the Court set a deadline of May 13, 2016, for any and all pretrial motions (#14, Order Regarding Pretrial Procedure). Thus, Defendant's failure to timely file all present pretrial motions by the pretrial motion deadline, and failure to show good cause for the untimely filing, is grounds enough for their denial. See LCR 12-1. However, the Court will still address the merits of each motion in turn. Any contention not specifically addressed lacks merit enough to be considered.

         A. Motion to Dismiss for Fourteenth Amendment Violation

         Defendant argues his Fourteenth Amendment rights have been violated, stating his eyesight has been neglected, that there has been indifference regarding his prescription eyewear, and that his eyesight handicap has “doomed” his right to a fair trial. Under the Fourteenth Amendment, the pretrial detainee has a right to be free from conditions or deprivations that amount to punishment. Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 535 (1979). However, “[l]oss of freedom of choice and privacy are inherent incidents of confinement . . . [a]nd the fact that such detention interferes with the detainee's understandable desire to live as comfortably as possible and with as little restraint as possible during confinement does not convert the conditions or restrictions of detention into ‘punishment.'” Id. at 536. Permissible restrictions and conditions may be discomforting, and may be things that the detainee would not have to experience outside of detention, but that does not make them punitive. Id. at 540.

         The detention center's failure to provide Defendant with the prescription glasses he requests is not punishment. It is not punitive in nature, not causing Defendant any pain, nor is it keeping Defendant from being able to prepare his defense.[1] The Court understands this may be an inconvenience to Defendant, but “[c]oncern with minutiae of prison administration can only distract the court from detached consideration of the one overriding question presented to it: does the practice or condition violate the Constitution?” Id. at 544 (quoting Wolfish v. Levi, 573 F.2d 118, 124-25 (2nd Cir. 1979)). The policies and procedures of the detention center “are peculiarly within the province and professional expertise of corrections officials, and, in the absence of substantial evidence in the record to indicate that the officials have exaggerated their response to these considerations, courts should ordinarily defer to their expert judgment in such matters.” Pell v. Procunier, 417 U.S. 817, 826 (1974). Finding no punitive deprivation, this Court defers to the judgment of the prison officials, and denies Defendant's Motion to Dismiss for Violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.

         B. Motion to Dismiss for the Violation of the Eighth Amendment

         Defendant alleges his Eighth Amendment rights have been violated through deliberate indifference to or neglect of his medically necessary prescription eyewear, and that such indifference amounts to extraordinary circumstances that no longer allow him a fair trial. Claims by pretrial detainees are analyzed under the Fourteenth Amendment due process clause, rather than under the Eighth Amendment, as the Eighth Amendment protects individuals convicted of crimes. Bell, 441 U.S. at 579. As previously analyzed under the Fourteenth Amendment standard, there has been no violation of Defendant's rights. Thus, the Court denies Defendant's Motion for Dismissal for Violation of the Eighth Amendment.

         C.Motion to Dismiss for Sixth Amendment, Speedy Trial Act, ...


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