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Argued: November 1, 2001

Appeal from judgment of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Weinstein, J.) denying appellant’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Appellant claims that his right to be present during sidebar voir dire conferences with prospective jurors was violated at his state court criminal trial. Affirmed.

Petitioner-appellant Victor Sanchez appeals from a judgment of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Weinstein, J.) denying his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Sanchez filed his petition in 1999, challenging his 1994 conviction in New York Supreme Court, Kings County on multiple counts of conspiracy, sexual abuse, aggravated harassment and criminal contempt. Respondent-appellee George Duncan was Superintendent of the New York prison where Sanchez was incarcerated when he filed his petition. Although the habeas petition was based on numerous grounds, only one issue was certified for appeal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. � 2253: whether Sanchez’s right to be present during sidebar voir dire conferences with prospective jurors was violated when the state trial court judge allegedly coerced him into waiving that right. The district court ruled that Sanchez had waived his right to be present at the questioning of the individual jurors, and that the state court had not unconstitutionally “influenc[ed]” that waiver. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the judgment of the district court.

 
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