625 F.2d 704 (5th Cir. 1980), 79-5607, United States v. Corey

Docket Nº:79-5607
Citation:625 F.2d 704
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Edward Harold COREY, Defendant-Appellant.
Case Date:September 12, 1980
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
 
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Page 704

625 F.2d 704 (5th Cir. 1980)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

Edward Harold COREY, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 79-5607

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

September 12, 1980

Page 705

Stanley M. Serwatka, El Paso, Tex., for defendant-appellant.

LeRoy Morgan Jahn, Asst. U. S. Atty., San Antonio, Tex., Jerry M. Tanzy, El Paso, Tex., for plaintiff-appellee.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas.

Before AINSWORTH, FAY and RANDALL, Circuit Judges.

PER CURIAM:

Edward Harold Corey appeals from his escape attempt conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 751(a) (1976). 1 He contends that his sixth

Page 706

amendment right to a fair and impartial jury was violated because the trial judge refused to ask on voir dire certain requested questions dealing with possible credibility choice bias favoring the testimony of law enforcement and other government officials. Corey also claims that the trial court committed reversible error in allowing a prison psychologist to testify as an expert on Corey's mental state at the time of his confession. We find no error in admitting that testimony. Moreover, because we find no error committed in the conduct of voir dire which could have deprived Corey of a fair and impartial jury, his conviction is affirmed.

On the evening of May 10, 1979, appellant Corey hid in the recreation yard of the Federal Correction Institute at El Paso, Texas, until the guard had secured the yard and left. He later claimed that his purpose was to be found in an unauthorized area so that he would be placed in segregation, out of the reach of his gambling debt creditors in the prison population. That asserted purpose was certainly achieved later that evening when Corey began traversing the recreation yard. Guards in three different locations who spotted him fired at him, wounding him three times. Corey was taken into custody and treated for his injuries at a nearby hospital.

While recuperating the next day from surgery performed under general anesthesia, Corey was questioned by F.B.I. Special Agent Byron MacDonald and prison psychologist Dr. William Lucker. Corey testified at trial that he had no recollection of this interview, but Lucker and MacDonald both stated that he had confessed his intent to escape from the prison. An anesthetist testified at trial that on occasion the anesthesia given Corey could induce amnesia. Corey further asserted at trial that he had never intended to escape, but only to commit an infraction which would land him in the comparative safety of a segregation unit.

Emphasizing the crucialness of credibility choice in his case, Corey contends on appeal that the trial court gave inadequate protection to his constitutional right to a fair and impartial jury. He argues that the judge improperly declined to ask on voir dire the substance of three questions he submitted to discern any credibility choice bias held by jurors. Corey's requested questions were the following:

(a) Are there any members of the panel who would tend to believe the testimony of a Government agent or employee over the testimony of a private citizen, solely because he is a government employee or agent?

(b) Are there any members of the panel who would tend to believe the testimony of a Government agent or employee over the testimony...

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