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Sanders v. York


April 14, 2009



Good morning, and welcome to the United States District Court. Thank you for both your presence and your anticipated cooperation in the questioning process we are about to begin. You are performing an important function in our legal system.

The court personnel who will assist me in this trial are on the platform below me. The Courtroom Deputy is Shani Furstenau. She is on the platform below me on my left side. Next to her is the Certified Court Reporter, Kimberly Bennett.

I am about to ask you questions intended to provide the parties with information about each prospective juror

1. Ms. Furstenau, please administer the oath to the panel.

2. The Jury Administrator has already randomly selected potential jurors and placed their names on a sheet that has been provided to each party. The names are listed in the numerical sequence in which they were randomly selected, and each juror has been placed in his or her randomly-selected seat.

3. I will ask a series of questions to the jurors as a group. If you have a response, please raise your hand or the number you've been given, which reflects your seat number. Generally, you will be given an opportunity to respond in accordance with the numerical order in which you are seated, with the juror in the lowest numbered seat first. If no juror raises his or her hand, I will simply state "no response" for the record and then ask the next question. If you know it is your turn to respond to a question, you may respond before I call your name by first stating your last name, then your seat number, and lastly your response. That should expedite the process.

4. This case involves Plaintiff's claim that each defendant violated his Eighth Amendment Constitutional right by placing him in an upper bunk following his hernia surgery, despite what Plaintiff asserts was his obvious need to have been placed in a lower bunk. Each Defendant disagrees with Plaintiff's position. Is there anything about the nature of this case which might prevent you from being fair and impartial to either side of this case?

5. I think it will take two or three days to complete this trial. A trial day is scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. and usually ends around 4:30 p.m. As soon as you commence jury deliberations, you will be expected to deliberate as necessary during these hours, but not on the weekends, until you complete your deliberations. Will any of you find it difficult or impossible to participate in this trial during these times?

6. The parties may now introduce themselves and name the witnesses they anticipate calling.

Do you know any of the named individuals, or any of the potential witnesses, or ever had any business or other dealings with any person just named?

7. Is there any member of the panel who has any problem that would make it difficult to serve as a juror?

8. Do you suspect you have a belief or feeling which could interfere with your ability to be a fair and impartial juror in this case?

9. Have you ever served as a juror in a criminal or a civil case?

i. Please state the nature of the case and, without stating the result reached, state whether the jury reached a verdict.

10. Plaintiff will present his case first. Only after Plaintiff has presented his case will Defendants have an opportunity to present their side of the case. Please raise your hand if you can not agree to keep an open mind and make no decisions about the evidence until after all the evidence has been presented by both sides and I have instructed you regarding the law in this case.

11. It is important that I have your assurance that you will, without reservation, follow my instructions and rulings on the law. To put it somewhat differently, whether you approve or disapprove of the court's rulings or instructions, it is your solemn duty to accept as correct these statements of the law. You may not substitute your own idea of what you think the law ought to be. Please indicate by raising your hand if you will not be able to follow the law as given to you by me in this case.

12. Is there any reason why you could not be fair to both sides in this case?

13. My deputy clerk will give juror number 1 a sheet on which there are questions that I want each of you to answer. Please pass the sheet to the juror next to you after you answer the questions.

(a) Name

(b) Age

(c) Educational background

(d) Present and former occupations for you and your spouse and/or companion; include military service

(e) Hobbies and/or favorite activities


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