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Turner v. Brown

United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin

October 4, 2019

GLENN T. TURNER, Plaintiff,
v.
LEBBEUS BROWN, HEIDI BLOYER, JULIE BULMANN, and ZACHARY BERGER, Defendants.

          FINAL PRETRIAL CONFERENCE ORDER

          JAMES D. PETERSON DISTRICT JUDGE.

         The court held a final pretrial conference by phone on September 26, 2019, at which plaintiff Glenn T. Turner appeared pro se and defendants appeared by counsel, Eliot Held and Brandon Flugaur. This order summarizes the rulings made at the conference, and it provides further rulings about the parties' exhibits.

         A. Witnesses

         In a previous order, I directed the clerk of court to issue writs of habeas corpus ad testificandum for Turner's inmate witnesses Byron Stewart, Dion Matthews, Tingia Wheeler, and Mical Thomas. The next day, defendants' counsel filed a motion requesting that Matthews, Wheeler, and Thomas be permitted to appear by video conference on the ground that it would be a significant burden for DOC to transport four inmates and Turner to Madison for trial. Dkt. #106. For the reasons stated at the conference, I will grant defendants' motion and will direct the clerk of court to cancel the writs for Matthews, Wheeler, and Thomas. Counsel must ensure that the video conferencing at the relevant institutions meets the court's standards, including that (1) counsel identify a person at the prison responsible for arranging video conferencing who will be available to coordinate with the court in advance of trial and who will be available to address any problems that arise during the trial; (2) the inmate must be positioned properly in front of the camera, so that his face fills most of the screen; (3) the microphone is positioned near the witness, so that the audio is clear and free of interference; and (4) the inmate will be ready and available at the appropriate time. The writ for Stewart will remain in place.

         B. Exhibits

         1. Defendants' objections to Turner's exhibits

         Defendants objected to several of Turner's proposed exhibits. I will rule on those objections as follows:

         Exhibits 1, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10:

         These documents relate to Turner's grievances and litigation regarding administrative confinement review hearings that were held in 2014 and 2015 that Turner believed violated DOC regulations. Defendants contend that the documents are not relevant to Turner's claims in this case. But according to Turner, his efforts to challenge the administrative confinement review hearings caused defendants to retaliate against him in various ways, including by confiscating his inhaler and impeding his progress through the High Risk Offender Program (HROP). Therefore, I will not exclude these exhibits. Turner should make sure at trial to put in evidence showing that (1) defendants knew about his grievances and litigation concerning the administrative confinement review hearings, and (2) defendants were motivated by the grievances and litigation to take retaliatory actions against Turner. In addition, I caution Turner against spending a significant amount of time at trial discussing the administrative confinement review process or why he thought his 2014 and 2015 hearings were procedurally deficient. Such facts are irrelevant and would confuse the jury. Turner should instead use these documents to show that he filed complaints and engaged in litigation against prison officials.

         Exhibit 2:

         This document is a June 2015 decision by Warden Boughton and the DAI Administrator to retain Turner in administrative confinement. Turner does not have a claim in this case challenging his continued placement on administrative confinement generally. His retaliation claims relate only to his stalled progression through HROP and the confiscation of his inhaler. In addition, Boughton has been dismissed as a defendant and the DAI administrator is not a defendant. Therefore, I will exclude this exhibit as irrelevant.

         Exhibit 11:

         These are some of Turner's writings regarding his experience in solitary confinement. Defendants argue that the writings are irrelevant. But because Turner says that defendants were motivated to retaliate against him because of these writings, I will not exclude them.

         Exhibit ...


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