'Chronic Masturbation Syndrome' Sufferer Sues Jail for Porn Ban

Kyle Richards thinks that the ban on pornography and erotica enforced by the Macomb County Jail—and, to a lesser extent, the absence of video games in individual cells—amounts to "cruel and unusual punishment," and is therefore unconstitutional. Is he right?

Well, not explicitly: the Eighth Amendment doesn't provide many details on how to regulate porn in U.S. jails. But 21-year-old Richards—who's coping with "chronic masturbation syndrome and severe sexual discomfort," and apparently needs porn to treat these medical conditions—wants to explore this legal issue in court. To that end, he's filed a "five-page handwritten lawsuit" in the U.S. Court in Detroit against Gov. Rick Snyder and the state of Michigan, in which he demands that prisoners at the jail (located near Detroit) be allowed to "possess erotic/pornographic materials along with personal televisions, video game consoles and radios."

It's the porn, though, that he really wants:

"Sexual deprivation has been used against plaintiff in a way as to both sexually frustrate the plaintiff, deprive the plaintiff of any sort of sexual gratification, and deny the plaintiff his right to sexual reproduction," Richards wrote.

Unfortunately for Richards, his Chronic Litigation Syndrome might have already robbed him of his chance at (certain) victory:

The civil rights suit is the latest in a growing string of complaints filed by the Fraser man since last year in federal court. Federal judges have dismissed more than three of the cases, labeling them frivolous.

That distinction puts Richards in a special class. A federal judge simply can dismiss a case if the court tossed that inmate's previous lawsuits because they were frivolous, malicious or failed to state a claim, U.S. Magistrate Judge R. Steven Whalen wrote in a filing June 20.

It also probably harms his case that he forgot to name Macomb County Jail—which, as its name does suggest, is run by the county—in his suit, and instead names the state. The state doesn't directly oversee the jails but the prisons—where some forms of sexy literature, like Playboy issues, are allowed. Richards pleaded guilty to bank robbery on Thursday and now awaits sentencing; because of the nature of his crime (which can carry up to a life sentence in Michigan), it's quite possible that he will spend some time in the penitentiary. But given his medical issues this would actually be fortuitous, because there he could actually get Playboy, at least.

He just has to be patient.

[Detroit News, Image via Macomb Daily.]