Since first drafting this article in late May, significant developments have arisen regarding this lawsuit
. I'll be writing about this in more detail soon but for now please note that previously reported
trial dates have been vacated.
In broad terms, a Motion In limine
is a written request to a judge prior to the start of trial requesting that he/she take some action/make a ruling regarding how the trial will be conducted. Most common however, Motions in limine are written requests to the judge to disallow certain testimony or evidence from being presented to a jury during trial. For purposes of this blog entry and my ongoing civil rights lawsuit
, this latter description is the one that applies here.
What's interesting to note in the Motions in limine filed in this case is that we (the plaintiff) filed a single 4-page motion with the court dealing specifically with exclusion of hearsay testimony & any issues not directly related to the specific issues to be adjudicated at trial. The defendant's on the other hand submitted nine Motions in limine with fourteen separate exhibits, not including the various tables of content.
The breadth of the exclusions sought by the defendant's in their motions is quite extensive and covers everything from officer training (or lack thereof) to clear evidence of harassment and intimidation visited on the plaintiff by the defendants after the initial checkpoint incident from December of 2002. While it's quite understandable why the defendant's wouldn't want such information to come to light during trial, the attempt to exclude it is clearly designed to undermine the foundation for the defendant's illegal & unethical actions throughout the evolution of this case.
This has also been a real eye opener to me regarding 'legal' mechanisms available to litigants to not only prevent a jury from hearing the whole story but to cherry pick facts right out of the flow of events directly pertinent to the case at hand. While some may argue these legal mechanisms are available to both sides in a legal dispute, the truth of the matter is government prosecutors and government defendants more often than not receive the lions share of the benefits associated with such 'legal' wrangling. Regardless, it's clear to me that juries rarely are afforded an opportunity to judge the facts of a case based upon "the whole truth". Rather, a jury gets to hear only the "truth" that a judge ultimately allows them to hear.
Note - at the time of this writing, no ruling has been made regarding the Motions in limine filed in this case so the commentary above is general in nature.
Regarding the Motions in limine filed in this case, you'll find links to all of them below along with responses filed by both parties. The number appearing in front of the link is the court docket number for that motion. Some of the motions have attachments associated with them and appear below their respective motions.
While there are a lot of documents associated with this particular aspect of the case, each one is relatively short in length and worth the read. Especially if you're interested in seeing why it is juries rarely have an opportunity to hear the whole story regarding government misconduct/malfeasance in our modern day judicial system:
Plaintiff Motion In Limine:216 Plaintiff's Motion In Limine
* Exhibit D: Response To Request For Production #1
* Exhibit B: Deposition of Nicholas Romero
* Exhibit B: Defendants Response to Plaintiff's Request For Documents & Things (Second Set)
* Proposed Judicial Order
236 Defendant's Response To Plaintiff's Motion In Limine