United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
STEPHEN L. CROCKER MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter is proceeding with the final pretrial conference on
October 16, 2017, at 8:30 a.m., and jury selection and trial
on October 16, 2017, at 9:00 a.m. However, because another
jury selection is taking place in this court on October 16, I
need to push back the schedule so that the final pretrial
conference and jury selection and trial will begin in the
afternoon. Also, defendants have filed a Motion for the
Incarcerated Witnesses to Appear by Video Conference (dkt.
137). Beyond resetting the trial, this order grants
defendants' motion in part and modifies the writs for the
testimony of Davis's incarcerated witnesses.
the final pretrial conference is reset for October
16, 2017, at 12:30 p.m., and the jury selection and
trial is reset for October 16 at 1:00 p.m.
defendants' motion, I previously granted Davis's
petitions for writs for five incarcerated witnesses, four
appearing in person and one appearing via video conference.
(Dkt. 131.) Specifically, I ordered the appearances of:
Robert Gant and Curtis Daniels, to be transported from Waupun
Correctional Institution, where Davis is incarcerated;
Quenton Thompson to be transported from Wisconsin Secure
Program Facility (WSPF); Hipolito Claudio Jr. to be
transported from Columbia; and Nikko Krohn to appear via
video conference. However, defendants now ask that Gant,
Daniels, Thompson, and Claudio Jr. appear via video
conference because the transport of these inmates is too
costly and cause staffing issues at both Waupun and WSPF.
Gant and Daniels, defendants explain that on October 16,
Waupun needs to have two additional staff available for
medical visits, and transporting Davis himself requires two
transport officers and a van. The transport of Gant and
Daniels in addition will require a second transport van and
two additional transport officers. This will result in the
facility having to either hire additional officers on an
overtime basis or remove other officers from their assigned
posts that day. While transporting these additional witnesses
certainly poses an inconvenience, defendants have not
represented that inmates at Waupun actually have medical
needs on October 16. Nor do defendant represent that Davis
has to be transported alone in a van. Therefore, it appears
that Davis could travel in the same van with one other inmate
in the van as well. With that in mind, I still am going to
require Gant and Daniels to appear in person, just on
different days. Given that this trial will last at least two
days, I will maintain the writ for Gant's appearance on
October 16, and I will modify Daniel's writ to order his
appearance on October 17.
Thompson, defendants explain that Thompson is a high risk
inmate whose security status requires three officers to
transport him to court. They also explain that Thompson would
need to wear an electronic control device during the
transport and in court. Defendants ask that he appear via
video conference because his in-person appearance would
require WSPF to pay three transport officers overtime, and to
backfill the positions of the officers that are transporting
Thompson. I agree that these costs are quite burdensome.
Moreover, Thompson's appearance via video conference
appears to serve Davis better: whatever benefit Davis stands
to gain from Thompson's in-person testimony could be
counterbalanced by a three-officer security squad shadowing
his court appearance. Accordingly, I am granting
defendants' motion as to Thompson.
Claudio Jr., defendants have not provided any specific reason
why I should cause him to appear via video conference, so I
am denying their motion as to him but I am modifying his writ
to order his appearance on October 17.
planning purposes, here is how the court will arrange for the
appearances of the incarcerated witnesses: Jury selection
will take up 60 to 90 minutes of the afternoon on October 16.
After the parties' opening statements, Davis will begin
putting on his case, beginning with his own direct testimony
and cross examination. This should leave time for Davis to
present testimony from one more witness on October 16. Based
on my reasoning above, and because Gant's testimony
appears limited, I will keep his writ for appearance at
October 16, and will end the jury's trial day after Gant
testifies. On October 17, I will begin the day with
Krohn's and Thompson's testimony via video conference
so that the court can arrange for a specific start time with
each institution. Then Davis can elicit testimony from
Daniels and Hipolito Claudio Jr., who each will appear in
person. At that point, Davis can present his witnesses as he
has a longer list of witnesses and may have a different order
in mind, but for trial management purposes, we shall proceed
as set forth above. The court and several DOC institutions
are devoting a significant amount of time and resources to
this lawsuit, and scheduling the incarcerated witnesses in
this order prior to trial is necessary for the court and the
institutions to ensure that these witnesses can appear on his
Defendants' Motion for Incarcerated Witnesses to Appear
by Video Conference (dkt. #137) is GRANTED in part and DENIED
trial schedule is modified as follows:
Pretrial Conference: October ...