United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Southern Division
ORDER ON JURY SELECTION PROCEDURES AND DAILY TRIAL
KAYS, CHIEF JUDGE.
before the Court are Defendant's Proposed Jury-Selection
Procedure seeking individual voir dire (Doc. 299), and the
Government's Motion Under Federal Rule of Evidence 611
for Abbreviated Trial Schedule (Doc. 359). After carefully
considering the parties' arguments and all the evidence
in the record, including various affidavits, exhibits, and
hearing testimony, the Court DENIES Defendant's motion
and GRANTS IN PART the Government's motion for the
argues conducting mandatory, individualized voir dire of
every member of the venire panel is a critical component to
assuring Defendant a fair trial, and that it can be performed
in a timely and efficient manner. The Court finds conducting
individualized voir dire on such a scale is neither necessary
to obtain an impartial jury in this case nor desirable
because it would inordinately prolong the jury selection
process. The Court will, however, use individualized voir
dire where appropriate; for example, where a prospective
juror indicates he or she would be more comfortable
discussing his or her answer in private. The Court will also
explain to the venire panel at the beginning of the jury
selection process that they may answer in private if they
would feel more comfortable.
Court will conduct jury selection as follows.
After the parties respond to the pending motions to strike
jurors for cause (Docs. 348, 349), the Court will rule
promptly on the motions.
remaining prospective jurors will be divided into groups of
approximately 40. The first group will be brought in Monday
morning, September 25 at no later than 9:00 a.m. The second
group will be brought in Monday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. The
third group will be brought in Wednesday morning at 9:00 a.m.
The fourth group will be brought in Wednesday afternoon at
1:30 p.m. A subsequent group will be brought in if necessary.
Court will conduct general voir dire on each group of 40. As
part of this process, the Court will provide an overview of
how voir dire works, explain the general legal concepts
involved in this case (including the possibility of the death
sentence and how aggravating and mitigation factors are
considered), and then conduct a general voir dire. This
general voir dire will cover issues on which more
individualized voir dire is unnecessary, such as hardships,
pretrial publicity, general bias, and prior contact with
Defendant, attorneys, witnesses, and court personnel.
After the general voir dire is complete, prospective jurors
will be brought back to the courtroom in groups of 12-14 for
individual questioning on the answers in their questionnaires
and views on the death penalty.
Court will conduct most of this questioning. After the Court
is finished asking questions, one attorney from each side
will be given a limited opportunity to ask additional
questions of these individuals.
this questioning is complete, these jurors will be excused
and challenges for cause will be made and argued. Each
prospective juror who is not excused for cause will remain
eligible for jury service.
Steps 4 through 6 will be repeated until all 40 jurors have
been excused or qualified. The Court anticipates this process
will be complete by approximately 1:00 p.m.
1:30 p.m., or as soon as possible thereafter, the Court will
repeat the process will the second group. If the process is
not complete by 5:30 p.m., the Court will adjourn and
reconvene Tuesday morning at 9:00 a.m., at which time it will
continue until the process is complete.
Wednesday, the Court will repeat steps 4 through 8 with the
third and fourth groups, or until 60 jurors have been
qualified. If the process is not complete by 5:30 p.m., the
Court will adjourn and reconvene Thursday morning at 9:00