This is the story of "The Case of the Beard" and how Timothy Loman Robinson got four months in jail for a haircut and a shave.

It is a story that officials of the Career Criminal Unit of the U.S. Attorneys Office hope will be widely circulated to show that prosecutors here mean business. They said they knew of only one similar case in the District of Columbia.

It is a story that has many sides. The way Robinson told it to Judge Orman W. Ketcham in D.C. Superior Court yesterday, he was "feeling dirty" when he was taken to D.C. jail last month on an armed robbery charge. So he went to the jail barber, he said, and had his beard and sideburns shaved off and his hair and moustache trimmed.

The last thing on his mind, he testified, was Ketcham's order that he appear in a "lineup" where his alleged victim would try to pick him out. The order said he must do nothing to change his looks before the "lineup" took place.

George Denny, the Public Defenders Service attorney representing Robinson, told Ketcham that he had neglected to give his client a copy of the order. He added that jail officials should have seen to its enforcement, anyway, because they were supposed to get two copies of it.

Denny told the judge he had been unable to find out who at the jail was responsible for the whole thing.

Harry R. Benner, an assistant U.S. attorney and a member of the Career Criminal Unit, said Robinson, 26, had three prior convictions, was wise in the ways of the laws, and had "willfully and intentionally" changed his appearance in defiance of Ketcham's directive.