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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK

 

x

 

KAREEM SHAMEL PERRY,

 

 

Plaintiff,

 

 

v.

 

99-CV-4934 (LAP)

CHARLES GREINER; Q. MAGWOOD;

 

 

R. HUMLOCK; M. HUGHES; D. BENNETT;

 

 

AND M. BARNES,

 

 

Defendants.

 

 

 

x

 

PLAINTIFF’S PROPOSED VOIR DIRE QUESTIONS

1.                  Have you seen or read any recent news reports concerning wrongdoing by prison guards?  Have you seen or read any news reports concerning any of the parties to this action – Lt. Magwood, Sgt. Hunlock, Officer Bennett, Officer Barnes, or Mr. Perry?

2.                  Do you have any opinions concerning Sing Sing Correctional Facility?  What are they?

3.                  Have you or any member of your family or a close friend ever been the victim of a crime?  If so, what was the nature of the crime?

 

-                    was the perpetrator punished?

-                                        were you satisfied with the result?

4.                  Have you or has any member of your family ever held a job in (a) a law enforcement agency, (b) any government agency, (c) the state or local police, (d) the FBI, (e) any prosecutor’s office, or (f) a private detective or security guard agency?

5.                  Have you ever served in the military?

 

-                    what rank did you hold?

-                    what duties did you have?

-                    were you ever in the military police?

 

6.                  Do you have any close family members who have served in the military?

7.                  Do you know anyone who was or is employed by or in any way connected with Sing Sing Correctional Facility?

8.                  Do you know anyone who was or is employed or in any way connected with the New York Department of Corrections?

9.                  Do you know anyone, including your neighbors, friends, co-workers or relatives, who works or has worked in a jail or prison or as a parole or probation officer?

10.              Does your job cause you to work with any law enforcement office or agency?

11.              Have you ever visited a jail or prison for either a personal or work-related reason?  In what specific circumstances?

12.              Do you think prisoners are treated too lightly?

13.              Do you believe that prisoners should be able to sue in federal court if beaten by guards?

14.              What is the purpose of prison?

15.              Under what circumstances, if any, do you think it would be appropriate for a prison official to hit a prisoner or use physical force against a prisoner?  Would it be acceptable for a prison guard to beat a prisoner in order to obtain information concerning a possible violation of prison rules?

16.              What do you think should be done to a prison official if it is shown that he beat a prisoner without provocation or saw others doing so and did not intervene?

17.              Do you know anyone who has been in prison?

-                    What is your relationship with that person?

-                    What was the person imprisoned for?

-                    How long was the sentence?

18.              If you knew someone had been convicted of a crime, would that make you less likely to believe that he or she was telling the truth?


 

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK

 

x

 

KAREEM SHAMEL PERRY,

 

 

Plaintiff,

 

 

v.

 

99-CV-4934 (LAP)

CHARLES GREINER; Q. MAGWOOD;

 

 

R. HUMLOCK; M. HUGHES; D. BENNETT;

 

 

AND M. BARNES,

 

 

Defendants.

 

 

 

x

 

 

 

 

STATE OF NEW YORK

)

 

 

:

ss.:

COUNTY OF NEW YORK

)

 

DALE R. COLLINGWOOD, being duly sworn, deposes and says:

1.                  I am over 18 years of age and am employed by Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering and am not a party to this action.

2.                  On April 18, 2001, I caused a true and correct copy of the attached Plaintiffs Proposed Voir Dire Questions to be served on the following party by facsimile and Federal Express for next business day delivery:

Lee Adlerstein
Office of the Attorney General
Of the State of New York
120 Broadway
24th Floor
New York, NY 10271
212-416-6009

                                                           
DALE R. COLLINGWOOD

Sworn to before me this
18th day of April, 2001

                                                           
Notary Public


 

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK

 

x

 

KAREEM SHAMEL PERRY,

 

 

Plaintiff,

 

 

v.

 

99-CV-4934 (LAP) (THK)

CHARLES GREINER; Q. MAGWOOD;

 

QUESTIONS TO VOIR DIRE

R. HUMLOCK; M. HUGHES; D. BENNETT;

 

 

AND M. BARNES,

 

 

Defendants.

 

 

 

x

 

 

Introduction

In this action, plaintiff Kareem Shamel Perry complains that, while located at the Sing Sing Correctional Facility, the defendant correctional officers Magwood, Hunlock, Bennett and Barnes used or caused the use of excessive force against him.  Plaintiff claims that correctional officer Hughes caused another inmate to attack and injure plaintiff.  The correctional officers deny that they used excessive force or caused a physical attack against plaintiff.

Personal contact with law enforcement

1.                  Have you or any family member of yours worked in law enforcement, state or federal prisons or the military?

-                    In what capacity?

-                    Does the person you know in law enforcement speak to you about their work?

-                    Is there anything about the connection you or the person you know has to law enforcement which might make it difficult for you to be fair and impartial in this case?

-                    Do you  think that your connection with law enforcement would make you tend to favor or disfavor the testimony of the corrections officers in this case?

General interaction with law enforcement

2.                  Have you had any interaction with law enforcement, for example, police officers?

-                    Have you ever asked a police officer for directions?

-                    Have you ever been pulled over for a traffic violation?

-                    Have you ever been the victim of a crime and interacted with police who handled the case?

In each case, was your impression of the law, enforcement person you interacted with negative or positive?  (May go into facts depending on reaction).

Do you think that your impression of that law enforcement person would have an influence on how you might view the corrections officers in this case?  Or could you separate your feelings about your prior contact with law enforcement and not hold it against these corrections officers?

Interaction with Corrections Officers

3.                  Have you or any member of your family or someone you know well been convicted of a crime and/or served time in prison [sidebar to discuss privately]?

How do you think that you or that person was treated at the time?

4.                  Have you or any member of your family or someone else you know been on parole after because of a conviction (again – discuss in sidebar)?

-                    If so, what has been your impression of the corrections or parole officer(s) that you or your family member interacted with?

-                    Do you feel that the officer(s) treated you or the person you know fairly?

-                    Do you feel that your impression of such officers(s) would affect how you might view the officers who will be testifying in this case?

-                    Or could you separate your impressions of that officer whom you or the person you know interacted with and not carry it over to this case?

Use of Force

5.                  There have been news accounts of law enforcement using what appears to be excessive force on the news lately.  In this case, you will be hearing that a corrections officers allegedly used, or caused to be used, force upon a prison inmate.

-                    Do you think that those accounts are so disturbing to you that you would have a difficult time being a fair and impartial juror in this case?

-                    Do you think that these accounts would make it difficult for you to listen impartially to the testimony of the corrections and other state officers in this case?  Would you hold those images against these particular officers?

-                    Do any of you think that there is ever a time when a law enforcement officer is justified in using some force?

-                    Based upon incidents in the news regarding the use of excessive force, and as you sit here now before hearing any testimony in the case, would it be difficult for you to believe that the corrections officers acted reasonably in the present case? 


Or could you keep an open mind and hear all the testimony of the witnesses before and consider all the circumstances in deciding whether the corrections officers acted properly.

Dated:  New York, New York
April 17, 2001

Respectfully submitted,

ELIOT SPITZER Attorney General of the
State of New York
Attorney for State Defendants
By:

                                                                       
LEE ALAN ALDERSTEIN (LA-7897)
Assistant Attorney General
12 0 Broadway
New York, New York 10271
(212) 416-8576


 

SAMPLE VOIR DIRE QUESTIONS

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK

 

x

 

[PLAINTIFF],

 

 

Plaintiff,

 

 

-- against --

 

____ Civ. ____ (  )

[DEFENDANT],

 

PLAINTIFF’S or DEFENDANT’S

 

 

PROPOSED

Defendants.

 

VOIR DIRE QUESTIONS

 

x

 

These general questions are usually asked of all jurors regardless of the type of case:

Background Questions:

1.                  Where do you live?  How long have you lived there?

2.                  Are you employed?  If so, what is your occupation and how long have you held it?  If retired, what was your occupation?

3.                  Are you married, divorced, separated or single?

4.                  Does your spouse work, if so what type of job does your spouse hold?  If retired, what was your spouse’s occupation.

5.                  Do you have children?  If so, what are their ages and are they employed?

6.                  What is your highest level of education?

Prior Court Experience:

1.                  Have you ever served on a jury?  If so, was it civil or criminal?  Without disclosing the verdict, did you reach a verdict?  Was there anything about your prior jury experience which would make it difficult for you to sit as an impartial juror in this case?

2.                  Have you ever been involved in a lawsuit as a plaintiff or defendant?  If so, was it criminal or civil?  Did it go to trial?  If so, what was the outcome?

3.                  Have you ever been a witness in court?  If so, under what circumstances?

The following are examples of questions designed to elicit information from jurors which may call into question their ability to be fair and impartial to either side.

Prisoner’s Civil Rights:

1.                  Have you or any member of your family ever been employed as a law enforcement or corrections officer for any federal, state, local agency or a correctional facility?

2.                  Do you have friends who are law enforcement or corrections officers?

3.                  Have you ever known anyone who went to jail?  If so, who and for what crime?  How long was the sentence?

4.                  Have you ever been inside a jail or prison?

5.                  Do you believe law enforcement officers, including corrections officers or prison guards are more trustworthy than other people?  Should they be given the benefit of the doubt if their conduct is challenged?

6.                  Do you believe prisoners are less trustworthy than other people?  Would the fact that the plaintiff or a witness in this case is a prisoner make you less likely to render a favorable verdict for the plaintiff?

7.                  Do you believe prisoners are treated too lightly?  If so, why?

8.                  Do you believe serving a prison sentence is sufficient punishment, or do prisoners deserve additional punishment?

9.                  Do you believe that prisoners have certain legal rights while they are incarcerated, or do you believe that prison officials should have the right to do whatever they feel is necessary to maintain order and discipline?

10.              Do you believe that anyone who was ever convicted of a crime is incapable of telling the truth?

Employment Discrimination:

1.                  In your present or former occupation did you hold a supervisory position or have you [ever] been responsible for personnel decisions such as hiring, firing and employee discipline?

2.                  Did you ever evaluate another employee’s work performance?  If so, have you ever given a negative performance evaluation?

3.                  Have you or a family member or close friend ever been required to fire or demote another employee?  If so, under what circumstances?

4.                  Have you or a family member or close friend ever been involved in any litigation relating to employment?  If so, please describe the nature of the litigation including the outcome.

5.                  Have you or a family member or a close friend ever had filed against you a formal or informal complaint or charge asserting discrimination in employment?  If so, please describe the nature of the complaint and the outcome.

6.                  Have you ever filed a charge or complaint of discrimination?  What was the result?

7.                  Have you ever been evaluated negatively or fired from a job?  If so, did you feel it was based on your age, gender, race, national origin, color, religion or disability?

8.                  Have you ever been denied or passed over for a promotion or have you ever felt that the terms and conditions of your employment were different because of your age, gender, race, national origin, color, religion or disability?

9.                  As an employer or supervisor, have you ever failed to accommodate a disability, including pregnancy?

10.              As an employee, do you believe you were ever penalized for being disabled or pregnant or for taking a parental leave of absence?  As an employer, do you believe pregnant women or disabled persons should not be given special accommodations at work?

11.              What do you think of anti-discrimination programs and laws in general?

12.              Do you have strong feelings on what restrictions, if any, should be placed on businesses concerning their personnel decisions, such as hiring, promotions, demotions and terminations?  If so, please explain.

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