United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
D. PETERSON DISTRICT JUDGE.
plaintiff and prisoner Jovan Williams is proceeding on a
claim that defendant Jose Reyes, a correctional officer at
Green Bay Correctional Institution, violated Williams's
Eighth Amendment rights by failing to prevent his attempted
suicide. Trial is scheduled for April 1, 2019. Before the
court is Williams's fourth motion for court assistance in
recruiting counsel to represent him. Dkt. 75.
says that on March 3, 2019, he overdosed and was sent to the
emergency room. When he returned to the prison, he was placed
on observation status and did not have access to his
property, including his legal file that he needs for trial.
He was released from observation on March 7, but he has not
yet received his property. Williams also says that he has
several witnesses he wishes to call at trial, but he does not
know how to do so.
deny Williams's request for assistance in recruiting
counsel for the same reasons that I provided in previous
orders. Williams's single deliberate indifference claim
against a single defendant is relatively simply in comparison
to many cases brought by pro se litigants. On February 22, I
gave Williams specific instructions about what specific facts
he should present to the jury during his own testimony. I am
not persuaded that Williams will be unable to present his
version of events at trial.
concerned about Williams's inability to access his legal
file. Williams was supposed to file his witness and exhibit
lists with the court by March 8, but he has not done so. It
is not clear from Williams's motion whether he missed his
deadlines because he did not have access to his legal files,
because he was on observation status and unable to file
documents with the court, or for some other reason. However,
I do not think that this is a sufficient reason to recruit
counsel for Williams or to delay the trial. This trial should
not involve an extensive number of documentary exhibits.
Presumably, Williams will use as trial exhibits the same
handful of documents that both sides cited to during summary
judgment briefing. If Williams still does not have access to
his legal file at the time of the final pretrial conference
next week, on March 26, 2019 at 12:30 p.m., Williams should
be prepared to identify at the final pretrial conference the
specific documents that he wants to introduce as exhibits at
trial. The court will then make copies of those documents
from the summary judgment record and provide them to Williams
before the start of trial on April 1.
the witnesses that Williams wishes to call, he identifies the
following witnesses, all of whom appear to be DOC employees:
Ms. Kroll (restrictive housing office, Waupun Correctional
Institution); Raymond Koeller (correctional officer); Andrew
Raddatz (correctional officer); Gary Maier (doctor); and Jose
Reyes (defendant). Williams missed the March 1, 2019 deadline
to subpoena these witnesses and has not stated that he would
be able to pay their witness fees. Therefore, Williams cannot
compel these individuals to testify at trial.
Williams may be able to introduce some of the information
that these witnesses could provide through other evidence.
From my review of Williams's summary judgment documents,
it appears that Williams wanted to call some of these
witnesses to testify about records they were involved in
creating: Ms. Kroll wrote Williams a note identifying the
dates on which he was on a nutraloaf restriction, Dkt. 51-3;
Officer Koeller wrote an incident report regarding the
incident at issue, Dkt. 51-8; Officer Raddatz responded in
writing to questions Williams asked him about the incident,
Dkt. 51-7; and Dr. Maier wrote summaries of mental health
appointments he had with Williams, Dkt. 51-6. It appears that
some of these documents may be considered DOC business
records. Normally, Williams would need to introduce the
documents through the testimony of a witness who could
authenticate them. But because the documents are DOC records
and Williams cannot subpoena the necessary witnesses, the
state may be willing to agree to the admissibility of these
records. I will not require the state to agree to their
admissibility, but defense counsel should review these
documents and inform the court at the final pretrial
conference on March 26 whether defendant will object to the
admissibility of these specific documents.
Williams says that he is concerned that defense counsel will
engage in racial profiling during jury selection and he asks
for information about how to prevent this. As explained in
the Trial Preparation order, Dkt. 59 at 9, I will be the only
person who asks questions to the jury. A total of 14 possible
jurors will be called forward. After I have finished
questioning the 14, each side will be allowed to strike the
names of three potential jurors. If Williams believes that
defense counsel strikes a juror because of race, Williams can
raise that concern during the jury selection process.
ORDERED that plaintiff Jovan Williams's motion for court
assistance in ...