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United States v. Payne

United States District Court, D. Nevada

October 2, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
RYAN W. PAYNE, Defendant.

          ORDER

          GLORIA M. NAVARRO, CHIEF JUDGE.

         Pending before the Court is Defendant Ryan W. Payne's ("Defendant's") second Motion regarding Jury Selection (ECF No. 1673), with Supplement[1] (ECF No. 1683). The Government filed a Response (ECF No. 1790), and Defendant filed a Reply (ECF No. 1838).[2]

         On January 5, 2017, Defendant filed his first Motion regarding Jury Selection. (ECF No. 1241). The Court granted in part, denied in part this motion. (ECF No. 1380). In his instant motion, Defendant makes several similar demands.

         First, Defendant seeks to participate in the juror questionnaire process, suggesting modifications to the prior questionnaire. (Mot. 4:8-8-2, ECF No. 1673). Defendant asks for participation by counsel regarding for-cause and hardship excusals made prior to the m-person voir dire. (Id. 8:3-7). He asks that the parties meet and confer and submit agreed-upon prospective jurors to be struck for cause prior to voir dire. (Id. 8:8-20). He seeks extended attorney-conducted voir dire because of pretrial publicity, along with individual sequestered voir dire when necessary. (Id. 8:21-9:4). Lastly, he proposes a schedule for voir dire. (Id. 9:5-7). As part of this schedule, Defendant requests completed questionnaires be provided to counsel one week prior to jury selection. (See Ex. B to Mot. at 25, ECF No. 1673-1).

         Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure ("Rule") 24 provides guidance on voir dire:

(a) Examination.
(1) In General. The court may examine prospective jurors or may permit the attorneys for the parties to do so.
(2) Court Examination. If the court examines the jurors, it must permit the attorneys for the parties to:
(A) ask further questions that the court considers proper; or B submit further questions that the court may ask if it considers them proper.

         Fed. R. Cnm. P. 24(a). First, the Court notes that it is not required to provide a juror questionnaire, but it has done so. Further, the parties have no right to be involved in the questionnaire, yet the Court solicited questions from the parties and incorporated them into the questionnaire. (See ECF Nos. 1107, 1639). Moreover, the parties have no right to personally voir dire the potential jurors, but the Court allows each party time for follow-up questions, as this Court has always exercised its discretion to do under Rule 24.[3]

         As such, the Court has already allowed Defendant input regarding the questionnaire. Completed questionnaires will be provided as soon as they are available. The parties will be involved in for-cause excusals. In accordance with the District of Nevada Jury Plan, the Court excuses potential jurors for hardship. See also 28 U.S.C. § 1863(b)(5). Defendant fails to cite any authority requiring the Court to seek his input prior to these hardship excusals. Next, the Court will not order the parties to meet and confer regarding potential jurors that may be struck prior to voir dire for cause; however, the parties are welcome to meet and confer and file under seal a list of for-cause excusals by juror number, particularly any for-cause excusals stipulated to by all parties.

         As the Court has explained multiple times, the Court is conducting voir dire. (See Order on Mot. for Att'y Conducted Voir Dire 2:2, ECF No. 1368); (Order on Mot. Jury Selection 2:3-9, ECF No. 1380). However, as in the previous trials, the Court will allow timed, attorney-conducted follow-up questions during the voir dire process for the upcoming trial. Each Defendant's attorney or pro se defendant will have fifteen minutes, and the Government will have thirty minutes.[4] Additionally, in accordance with the Court's usual procedure, the Court may allow individual sequestered follow-up voir dire if the Court finds it to be necessary.

         Ultimately, Defendant fails to both point to a defect in the Court's current procedure and demonstrate any advantages of the alternate procedure suggested. As the history of this case indicates, the Court's current procedures resulted in selecting a jury in two and three days for the prior two trials. (See ECF Nos. 1552, 2161). Therefore, the Court finds that the current procedures are sufficient.[5] Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendant's Motion regarding Jury Selection (ECF No. 1673) is DENIED.

         IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Motions for Joinder (ECF Nos. 1685, ...


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