The opinion of the court was delivered by: Garland E. Burrell, Jr. United States District Judge
Attached are the Court's voir dire questions and preliminary jury instructions.
The Court notes that certain of Plaintiffs' proposed voir dire questions appear aimed at "lay[ing] a foundation for [their] case," and inappropriately seek to instruct the jury on the law. DeLaCruz v. Atchison, T. & S. F. Ry. Co., 405 F.2d 459, 462 (5th Cir. 1968). "While . . . a [party] is entitled to a voir dire that fairly and adequately probes a juror's qualifications, a [party] is not necessarily entitled to test the jurors on their capacity to accept his [or her] theory of the case." United States v. Toomey,764 F.2d 678, 683 (9th Cir. 1985).
Further, the parties are notified that the Court only has nine court days within which trial must be completed. Therefore, if a party reasonably opines that more time is needed, that party shall request a continuance of the trial date.
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
Markus M. Hall, Monique G. Rankin, Lindsey K. Sanders, Plaintiffs, v. City of Fairfield, Officer ) Nick McDowell, Officer Chris ) Grimm, Officer Tom Shackford, ) Officer Zack Sandoval, and ) Sergeant Steve Crane, Defendants.
Thank you for your presence and anticipated cooperation in the jury selection questioning process we are about to begin. This process concerns the right to a trial by jury, which is a right that the founders of this nation considered an important component of our constitutional 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, [__________________].
We are about to begin what is known as voir dire. The purpose of voir dire is to ascertain whether you can be a fair and impartial juror on this case. Near or at the end of the process, each party can use a certain amount of what are called peremptory challenges, which excuse a potential juror from sitting as a juror on this case. A potential juror can also be excused for other reasons.
1. Ms. Furstenau, please administer the oath to the panel. 2. Counsel, the Jury Administrator has already randomly selected potential jurors and placed their names on the sheet that has been given to each party in the numerical sequence in which they were randomly selected. 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 responding first. If no hand is raised, 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 or your seat number, by stating your last name or just your seat number, then your response. That should expedite the process.
4. In this civil case, the parties dispute whether the plaintiffs were falsely arrested at an In-N-Out Burger restaurant in Fairfield, California during the early morning hours of July 4, 2009. The parties also dispute whether unreasonable force was used against Plaintiff Lindsey Sanders during her arrest.
Raise your hand if there anything about the allegations or about anything else I've said which causes you to feel that you might not be a fair juror in this particular case.
5. Raise your hand if you have any knowledge of the facts or events in this case.
6. The parties have informed me that the evidence and argument portion of the trial should be completed in approximately 7-10 court days, after which the case will be submitted to the jury for jury deliberation. We will be in trial on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. to about 4:30 p.m. But as soon as you begin jury deliberation, you will be expected to deliberate every day, except weekends, from 9:00 a.m. to about 4:30 p.m. until you complete your deliberation.
If you cannot participate as juror during these times, raise your hand.
7. Would Plaintiffs' counsel introduce [himself/themselves], [his/their] clients, and indicate any witness that [his/their] clients may choose to call.
8. Defendants' counsel now has the opportunity to do the same thing.
Raise your hand if you know or have had any interaction with any person just introduced or named.
9. Raise your hand if you would tend to believe the testimony of a witness just because that witness is a law enforcement ...