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United States v. Larsen

United States District Court, E.D. California

November 22, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
GEORGE LARSEN, et. al., Defendants.

          AMENDED VOIR DIRE

          GARLAND E. BURRELL, JR. SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         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 Clerk is Shani Furstenau. Next to her is the Certified Court Reporter. Ms. Furstenau, please administer the oath to the prospective jurors.

         We are about to begin what is known as voir dire. Voir dire consists of questions designed to provide the court and the parties with information about each potential juror. After questioning is complete, the parties will exercise what is known as peremptory challenges.

         1. Parties, the Jury Administrator has already randomly selected potential jurors and their names are on the sheet you have been given in the order of the random selection. Each potential juror has been given a large laminated card on which the number is placed showing the order in which the potential juror was randomly selected.

         2. I will ask the potential jurors questions as a group. If a potential juror has a response, he or she shall raise the laminated card. Generally, the potential juror with the lowest number will respond first. If no laminated card is raised, I will simply state “no response” 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 seat number by stating your seat number, then your response. That could expedite the process.

         3. If a potential juror concludes a question unduly pries into a private matter, the potential juror may request to respond out of the earshot of other potential jurors. I'm authorized to try to protect legitimate privacy interests, but may ask questions in the area that you indicate a desire to discuss in private to determine whether it, or any aspect of the matter, should be responded to as indicated. This approach is taken because the trial should be open unless I have a legitimate reason to close an aspect of it.

         4. The presentation of evidence and closing argument portions of the trial are expected to be completed in approximately 6 court days, after which the case will be submitted to the jury for jury deliberation. Trial will be conducted on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, from 9:00 a.m. to about 4:30 p.m. However, once you commence jury deliberations, you will be expected to deliberate every day except weekends until you complete your deliberations. Does the schedule pose a special problem for any prospective jury?

         5. I will now state the names of the parties and certain persons seated at the tables in the well of the courtroom for the purpose of ascertaining if you know and/or have had contact with a person named or referenced. Seated at the table closest to the jury box are Assistant United States Attorneys Audrey Hemesath and Todd Pickles, the lawyers representing the United States. Also seated at that table is Virginia Waldrop, a paralegal specialist in the United States Attorney's Office, and Special Agents Jonathan Fairbanks and Matthew Weissenborn from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Defendants in this case are George Larsen and Larry Todt. Attorney Dustin Johnson represents George Larsen. Larry Todt has elected not to be represented by an attorney. Jason Lawley is seated in the well of the courtroom.

         a. Do you know and or have you had any contact with a person just named?

         6. I will now ask one of the prosecutors to name the anticipated witnesses the United States may call so it can be determined whether any potential juror knows or has had contact with a person named.

         a. Do you know and or have you had any contact with a person just named?

         7. This is a criminal case brought by the United States against defendants. Defendants George Larsen and Larry Todt are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and falsely making financial institution documents. George Larsen is also charged with four counts of bank fraud. Larry Todt is also charged with one count of bank fraud. The indictment alleges that, beginning no later than April 22, 2010 and continuing through at least November 18, 2011, in the Eastern District of California and elsewhere, the defendants conspired among themselves and with others to file fraudulent documents, including those purporting to be from financial institutions, at county recorders' offices for the ...


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