Washington v. Parkinson, No. 12-3042 (7th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Washington was arrested as a suspect in a double homicide. While charges were pending, he filed a civil suit (42 U.S.C. 1983) against Officer Parkinson, alleging that she kicked him in the face and hit him with a flashlight while he was transported. The district court judge conducted voir dire. Juror Evans answered questions concerning his family background without incident. Asked whether he had ever been involved with the civil or criminal justice system, Evans responded, “Not that I know of.” Upon examination, Evans said he did not understand the question. The judge broke the question down and Evans admitted he had been arrested and requested a sidebar. He explained that he had a DUI pending and had suffered head injuries in the accident, but did not have difficulty sitting and listening or any lasting cognitive problems. Evans spoke slowly and frequently closed his eyes. Washington unsuccessfully challenged Evans for cause. At trial, Washington interrupted several times. He fired his appointed counsel and proceeded pro se. The judge asked Washington whether he wanted to continue with jurors who had seen him argue with his attorney. Washington consented to continue with the original jury. He later returned to allowing representation by counsel, who had not left. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Parkinson. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, finding that Washington waived his challenge to Juror Evans.