The opinion of the court was delivered by: Garland E. Burrell, Jr. Senior United States District Judge
Attached are the Court's voir dire questions and preliminary jury instructions.
The Court will not ask certain proposed voir dire questions since a number of the questions appear overbroad, and certain questions appear to probe whether a juror will accept a party's position in the case. "While it is true that [parties are] entitled to a voir dire that fairly and adequately probes a juror's qualifications, [parties are] not necessarily entitled to test the jurors on their capacity to accept [their] theory of the case." United States v. Toomey, 764 F.2d 678, 683 (9th Cir. 1985).
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
Sujla Maharaj, Plaintiff, v. VOIR DIRE California Bank & Trust, Defendant.
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. This is a civil case concerning Defendant's termination of Plaintiff's employment as a bank teller in 2010.
Plaintiff alleges Defendant terminated her and subsequently refused to rehire her because of her disability and need for extended medical leave in violation of federal and state employment laws. Defendant denies Plaintiff's allegations and alleges Plaintiff has unreasonably failed to return to gainful employment since her termination.
5. Raise your hand if you have any knowledge of the facts or events in this case.
6. Raise your hand if there is anything about the allegations which causes you to feel that you might not be a fair juror in this case.
7. Raise your hand if there is any reason why you will not be able to give your full attention to this case.
8. Raise your hand if you will not be able to decide this case based solely on the ...