Since first drafting this blog entry 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
Defendant's Motions In Limine:
- 217 Defendants’ Motion In Limine (First) Re: Adequate Training
- 218 Defendants’ Motion In Limine (Second) Re: To Admit Incident Reports Of Other Incidents
* Exhibit A: Incident Reports
- 219 Defendants’ Motion In Limine (Third) Re: Damages For Stress Of Litigation & Fear Of Losing Employment
Exhibit A: Non-uniform Interrogatories
- 220 Defendants’ Motion In Limine (Fourth) Re: Evidence Of Compensatory Damages
- 221 Defendants’ Motion In Limine (Fifth) Re: Shonk Memorandum & Saunders’ Deposition Testimony That It Was “Policy” On December 20, 2002
* Table of Contents: Defendant's Exhibits in Support of 5th Motion in Limine
* Exhibit A: Shonk Memorandum
* Exhibit B: Deposition of Richard Saunders
* Exhibit C: Deposition of Michael Ford
* Exhibit D: Response To Request For Production #1
- 222 Defendants’ Motion In Limine (Sixth) Re: Evidence Of Line Officers Traviolia’s & Romero's Thoughts Or Subjective Intent Of Purposes Of Checkpoint
* Table of Contents Defendant's Exhibits in Support of 6th Motion in Limine
* Exhibit A: Report of Officer Nicholas Romero
* Exhibit B: Deposition of Nicholas Romero
- 223 Defendants’ Motion In Limine (Seventh) Re: Transcript Of Evidentiary Hearing In State V. Bressi224 Defendants’ Motion In Limine (Eighth) Re: Work Product Privilege Related To Communications With Nicholas Romero
* Table of Contents Defendant's Exhibits in Support of 7th Motion in Limine
* Exhibit A: Transcript of Evidentiary Hearing
* Exhibit B: Deposition of Michael Ford
* Table of Contents Defendant's Exhibits in Support of 8th Motion in Limine
* Exhibit A: Deposition of Nicholas Romero
225 Defendants’ Motion In Limine (Ninth) Re: 1) Details Of Arrest And Detention, And Refiling Of Charges, 2) Facts Of Checkpoint's Reasonableness, 3) Bressi's Prior SR86 Checkpoint Experience, 4) Guidelines Promulgated After Checkpoint Or From Other Agencies 226 Request For Judicial Notice
* Westlaw Printout: City of Indianapolis et. al.
* Westlaw Printout: Michigan Dept. of State Police
Plaintiff's Responses To Defendant's Motions In Limine:
- 227 Response To Defendants’ Motion In Limine (First) Re: Adequate Training
- 228 Response To Defendants’ Motion In Limine (Second) To Admit Incident Reports Of Other Incidents
- 229 Response To Defendants’ Motion In Limine (Third) Re: Damages For Stress Of Litigation And Fear Of Losing Employment
- 230 Response To Defendants’ Motion In Limine (Fourth) Re: Evidence Of Compensatory Damages
- 231 Response To Defendants’ Motion In Limine (Fifth) Re: Shonk Memorandum
- 232 Response To Defendants’ Motion In Limine (Sixth) Re: Traviolia And Romero “Thoughts Or Subjective Intent”
- 233 Response To Defendants’ Motion In Limine (Seventh) Re: Transcript Of Evidentiary Hearing In State V. Bressi
- 234 Response To Defendants’ Motion In Limine (Eighth) Re: Work Product Privilege
- 235 Response To Defendants’ Motion In Limine (Ninth) Re: Various Facts About The Roadblock
"Is there any recourse? Is appeal a practical recourse?"
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Welcome to Checkpoint USA's blog. Here you'll find general information and discussions regarding growing threats to our right to privacy & travel.
While I refer to court cases along with state and federal law frequently in this blog, nothing written here should be construed as legal advice. I am not an attorney. Rather, I'm someone concerned about the growing disregard for individual rights present at all levels of government.
My conclusions are my own based upon personal experience and research. The law is made purposely complex however and varies significantly from place to place and circumstance to circumstance.
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