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Denton v. James-Hutchison

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma

May 30, 2018

MICHAEL DENTON, Plaintiff,
v.
LT. CHARLA JAMES-HUTCHISON, SGT. JACKIE CARUSO, Defendants.

          ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUBPOENA FORMS, AND PETITIONS FOR WRITS OF HABEAS CORPUS TESTIFICANDUM

          ROBERT J. BRYAN United States District Judge

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion to Request Four Subpoena Forms to Call Four Pierce County Employees to be Witnesses at Trail [sic] (Dkt. 170), Plaintiff's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus Ad Testificandum for Plaintiff Michael Denton (Dkt. 171) and Plaintiff's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus Ad Testificandum for Oscar Sanabria (Dkt. 172).

         On April 28, 2016, Plaintiff, a prisoner acting pro se, filed this case pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Dkts. 1 and 4. In his Second Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that while he was a pre-trial detainee in the Pierce County, Washington jail, Defendants Lieutenant Charla James-Hutchinson and Sergeant Jackie Caruso violated his due process rights when they revoked his good time credits and placed him in administrative segregation. Dkt. 99. He asserted that Defendants Sheriff Paul Pastor and Captain Marvin Spencer violated his first amendment rights when they created a policy which denied Plaintiff (and all prisoners in administrative segregation) receipt of incoming publications, including subscription magazines and books. Id. On January 5, 2018, the undersigned adopted a Report and Recommendation (Dkt. 155), and dismissed all Plaintiff's claims except the claim that Defendants Lieutenant Charla James-Hutchinson and Sergeant Jackie Caruso violated his due process rights when they revoked his good time credits. Dkt. 166. (The caption for this order reflects, and all future pleadings shall reflect, that the only defendants left are Defendants James-Hutchinson and Caruso). This case is set to begin trial on August 13, 2018 on one claim: Plaintiff's claim that Defendants James-Hutchinson and Caruso denied him due process when they revoked his good time credits.

         On January 25, 2018, Plaintiff filed the pending motion and two petitions. Dkts. 170-172. The Defendants responded and Plaintiff replied. Dkts. 175 and 178. The parties then agreed to attempt to settle the case, and the matter was referred to a U.S. Magistrate Judge for a settlement conference. The pending motion and two petitions were renoted for consideration on May 25, 2018. The case did not settle. The motion and petitions are now ripe.

         Plaintiff's Motion to Request Four Subpoena Forms to Call Four Pierce County Employees to be Witnesses at Trial.

         In this motion, the Plaintiff moves the Court to send him four subpoena forms in order that he may subpoena Pierce County, Washington employees: “Sgt. Forrest Ake, Officer Sandoval, Officer Elizabeth Earp, and Officer Kristie Herbison.” Dkt. 170. In response, the Defendants state that “they have no objections to the Court forwarding forms to Plaintiff, if that is how the Court wants the subpoenas to issue.” Dkt. 175. The Defendants argue, however, that the Court should reserve ruling on this matter until the pre-trial order is filed. Id.

         Plaintiff's motion for four subpoena forms (Dkt. 170) should be granted. The Clerk should be directed to send Plaintiff four subpoena forms with the employee names filled out.

         Writ of Habeas Corpus Ad Testificandum Generally.

         Under 28 U.S.C. §2241 (c)(5), “[t]he writ of habeas corpus shall not extend to a prisoner unless . . . [i]t is necessary to bring him into court to testify or for trial.”

         Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus Ad Testificandum for Plaintiff Michael Denton.

         When determining whether it should issue a writ of habeas corpus ad testificandum to bring a state prisoner plaintiff into federal court, the district court must exercise its discretion based upon consideration of “whether the prisoner's presence will substantially further the resolution of the case, the security risks presented by the prisoner's presence, the expense of the prisoner's transportation and safekeeping, and whether the suit can be stayed until the prisoner is released without prejudice to the cause asserted.” See Wiggins v. Alameda Cty., 717 F.2d 466, 469 n. 1 (9th Cir. 1983).

         Wiggins was decided in 1983, around 35 years before the present day, with all sorts of technology advances in the courtroom. Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 43 (a), “for good cause in compelling circumstances and with appropriate safeguards, the court may permit testimony in open court by contemporaneous transmission from a different location.” There is sufficient good cause and compelling circumstances in this case to have the Plaintiff appear via live videoconferencing. Plaintiff has already appeared in front of the magistrate judge for the settlement conference using this technology.

         Considering the availability of live videoconferencing, the question, then, is whether Plaintiff's physical presence at court for the trial outweighs the considerations of security risks and expenses, which are discussed below. See Howard v. Farmers Insurance Company, Inc., 2017 WL 3891654 (C.D. Cal. Sept. 6, 2017)(denying pro se prisoner plaintiff's petition for writ of habeas corpus ad testificandum and finding under the Wiggins factors that he could prosecute his breach of contract case in California federal court via video conference while being housed in Florida state prison).

         Factor ...


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