Davis, James v. Meisner, Michael et al
ORDER granting in part and denying in part 137 Motion to Appear by Video Conference Nikko Krohn and Quenton Thompson. The trial schedule is modified as follows:Final Pretrial Conference: October 16, 2017, at 12:30 p.m.Jury Selection and T rial: October 16, 2017, at 1:00 p.m.Davis and his incarcerated witnesses will appear to testify in the following order: October 16: Davis (in person), Robert Gant (in person) October 17: Nikko Krohn (via video conference), Quenton Thompson (via video conference), Curtis Daniels, Hipolito Claudio Jr. The clerk of court is directed to amend the writs of Daniels and Claudio Jr. to order their appearances on October 17, 2017. Signed by Magistrate Judge Stephen L. Crocker on 10/6/2017. (jef),(ps)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF WISCONSIN
JAMES JERMAINE DAVIS,
MICHAEL MEISNER, et al.,
This 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.
First, 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.
As to 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
As to 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
As to 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.
As to 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.
For 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 sees fit.
Davis 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 behalf.
IT IS ORDERED that:
(1) Defendants’ Motion for Incarcerated Witnesses to Appear by Video Conference
(dkt. #137) is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.
(2) The trial schedule is modified as follows:
Final Pretrial Conference: October 16, 2017, at 12:30 p.m.
Jury Selection and Trial: October 16, 2017, at 1:00 p.m.
(3) Davis and his incarcerated witnesses will appear to testify in the following order:
October 16: Davis (in person), Robert Gant (in person)
October 17: Nikko Krohn (via video conference), Quenton Thompson (via video
conference), Curtis Daniels, Hipolito Claudio Jr.
(4) The clerk of court is directed to amend the writs of Daniels and Claudio Jr. to order
their appearances on October 17, 2017.
Date: October 6, 2017
BY THE COURT:
STEPHEN L. CROCKER
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