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UNITED STATES v. SHAPIRO

February 26, 1998

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, against ROBERT SHAPIRO, Defendant.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: BLOCK

 BLOCK, District Judge:

 On December 23, 1997, defendant Robert Shapiro ("Shapiro") was convicted, after a jury trial, of attempted escape from the custody of the Attorney General, 18 U.S.C. § 751(a), and forging the signature of an officer of a federal court, 18 U.S.C. § 505. Since his conviction, Shapiro has written several letters to the Court requesting access to juror information pursuant to the Jury Selection and Service Act (the "Act"), 28 U.S.C. § 1861 et seq. The Court issues this Memorandum and Order to address concerns raised by Shapiro in this correspondence.

 BACKGROUND

 By letter dated September 3, 1997, Shapiro requested leave of the Court to examine jury qualification forms and other data in preparation for the filing of a motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1867 challenging the procedures used in the Eastern District of New York to select jurors. This letter was docketed in the Office of the Clerk of the Court on October 7, 1997.

 Shapiro's request for juror information was addressed at a session of the Court on December 17, 1997, just prior to Shapiro's trial. The Court granted Shapiro's request; however, in response to security concerns raised by the Government, the Court specifically directed that the information was to be turned over to Thomas F.X. Dunn ("Dunn"), who acted as Shapiro's attorney at trial. *fn1" The Court advised Dunn on the record:

 
And I'm instructing you to do the appropriate job to satisfy yourself, on behalf of your client, that the law has been satisfied, or that there's no basis for proceeding with a motion, should we come to that decision, or if there is a basis for proceeding to that motion with respect to the issue that he has chosen to raise.

 12/19/97 Tr. at 35. The Court specifically rejected the Government's argument that it could satisfy its responsibilities under the statute by providing information only in respect to the 41 potential jurors in Shapiro's own case, stating "how . . . is somebody supposed to determine whether or not the law has been complied with by looking at 41 names and people?" Id. at 71. The Court stated on the record at that time that more extensive disclosure of jury information was required since Shapiro "[was] supposed to have the opportunity to find out whether the system and the law has been complied with, whether there is proper representation throughout the community and elsewhere." Id.

 On December 19, 1997, the Court received a memorandum from Robert C. Heinemann ("Heinemann"), the Clerk of the Court, in response to the Court's concerns as to the availability of sufficient information to satisfy an appropriate inquiry under the Act. This memorandum was marked as Court Exhibit "2." According to the memorandum, pursuant to the jury plan for the Eastern District of New York the Clerk's Office refills the jury wheel every two years. The most recent jury wheel began on September 1, 1997. Heinemann stated that the jurors selected for the Shapiro trial were drawn from a pool of 750 citizens who were sent summonses for the December 15, 1997 return date. He also advised that tens of thousands of citizens received a jury qualification questionnaire for the September 1, 1997 two-year jury wheel.

 On December 22, 1997, the Court again addressed the issue of juror information with the parties. At that time, the Court indicated that Dunn should be given access to the information regarding the 750 people who were called on December 15, 1997. The Court stated at that time:

 
When I spoke with [Heinemann] . . . he's talking about a total of 750 citizens were sent summonses for that return date. That's a large number and I think that that's really going to give you fairly what you need. I'm not going to really make him make available tens of thousands of people who receive qualification questionnaires for the September 1, 1997 two year jury wheel. That would be unnecessarily burdensome. I don't think it's indicated. So, in the exercise of my judgment call, I think that this information is sufficient. After you look at the 750 names, which Mr. Dunn can do, you can get a sense as to whether there is any problem that seems to surface there to support a motion if you deem it necessary.

 Trial Transcript of December 22, 1997, at 130-131. The Court also reiterated its prior ruling that Dunn would inspect the records on Shapiro's behalf. Id. at 131.

 As noted above, since his conviction, Shapiro has written the Court on several occasions to request the release of jury information to him directly. In order to clarify the responsibilities of the Clerk's Office, as well as Shapiro's ...


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