Case No. 1:06-cv-01332 JLT (PC)
ORDER RE: WITNESSES TESTIFYING AT TRIAL VIA VIDEO CONFERENCE
ORDER AMENDING THE PRETRIAL ORDER TO STRIKE JAMES MITCHELL
AND TO SUBSTITUTE T. BROOMFIELD FOR J. CASTRO ON DEFENDANTS' WITNESS LIST
On January 4, 2012, the Court conducted the pretrial conference in this matter. (Doc. 127) At that time, Defendants requested that inmate witnesses be allowed to testify via video conference, rather than via live testimony. The basis for this request was the cost of transporting, housing and securing these witnesses at trial. (Doc. 126 at 6) Mr. Thomas initially preferred that the witnesses be physically present at trial but, because he could not be assured of the opportunity to meet with the inmate-witnesses to prepare them for their testimony, he agreed that they could testify via video conference. (Doc. 126 at 6)
In the pretrial order, the Court required Defendants to notify the Court and Plaintiff whether the location where the prospective inmate-witnesses are housed has video-conferencing capabilities that are available on March 13 and 14, 2012. (Doc. 126 at 7) On January 12, 2012, Defendants verified that inmates S. Sharlhorne and E. Thomas are housed at Salinas Valley State Prison and that this facility has the equipment necessary, and it is available on March 13, 2012. (Doc. 128 at 1) In addition, the Court has verified its own capability to receive testimony in this fashion. Thus, the request for these inmate witnesses to appear and give testimony via video conference, is GRANTED.
Likewise, at the pretrial conference, Plaintiff and counsel expressed that prospective witness, James Mitchell II, a witness requested by Plaintiff, has been paroled. (Doc. 126 at 6) On January 12, 2012, Defendants verified that Mr. Mitchell was paroled on August 20, 2011 and is not currently in custody. (Doc. 12 128 at 1) Given that Plaintiff indicated that he would not call Mr. Mitchell to testify if he was not in custody, the Court STRIKES Mr. Mitchell from Plaintiff's witness list.
Finally, at the pretrial conference, Defendants alerted the Court and Plaintiff that J. Castro, their designated witness, was not available for trial. (Doc. 126 at 7) Counsel reported that Defendants sought to call Capt. Sexton or Deputy Warden Lambert in J. Castro's place. Id. Plaintiff had no objection to this substitution. The Court ordered Defendants to notify the Court and Plaintiff by January 13, 2012 which of these two identified witnesses would take J. Castro's place. Id. On January 12, 2012, Defendants alerted the Court and Plaintiff that, rather than one of the two previously identified witnesses, the replacement would be, instead, Correctional Counselor II, R. Broomfield. (Doc. 128 at 2) Defendants do not explain why R. Broomfield was not identified earlier. However, by the date of this order, Plaintiff has provided no objection to this substitution. Therefore, the Court ORDERS, that R. Broomfield will be substituted for J. Castro on Defendants' witness list. However, Plaintiff is granted 14 days from the date of service of this order, within which to file objections to this substitution, if he wishes.
Based upon the foregoing, the Court ORDERS,
1. The request that inmate witnesses, S. Sharlhorne and E. Thomas be allowed to testify at trial via video conference is GRANTED;
2. Witness James Mitchell II, is STRICKEN;
3. The request to substitute R. Broomfield for J. Castro, on Defendants' witness list, is GRANTED. Plaintiff may file his objection, if any, to this substitution within 14 days of the date of service of this order. If an objection is filed, Defendants may file a reply
within 7 days of the filing of the objection.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Jennifer L. Thurston
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE