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United States of America v. Christina Navarrette

May 27, 2011

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
CHRISTINA NAVARRETTE, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Edmund F. Brennan

COURT:

ORDER RE: PARTIES' MOTIONS IN LIMINE

TRIAL: May 31, 2011 TIME: 9:30 a.m.

This case came before the Court on April 20, 2011, for a hearing on both the defendants' and the Government's motions in limine. Counsel for both defendants appeared. The defendants did not appear, but have a waiver of appearance on file. Jill Thomas, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Rachana Shah, Special Assistant Attorney, and Colin Scott, Certified Law Student, appeared on behalf of the Government.

After considering the written briefs filed by the parties and after hearing oral arguments, the Court decided the motions in limine as set forth in the transcript attached to this summary order as Exhibit A. A summary of the Court's analysis and rulings is outlined below:

1. The Defendants' Statements to Ranger McMahon While in Custody. In light of the Government's non-opposition, the Court determined that the motion was moot. The Government reserved the right to use the statements for impeachment purposes should the defendants choose to testify.

2. Defendants' Motion To Exclude Reference to Incendiary Devices in the U-Haul. In light of the Government's non-opposition, the Court determined that this motion was moot.

3. Defendant Navarrette's Statements to CHP Officer Steve Rauch. Referring to Texas v. Cobb, 532 U.S. 162 (2001), the Court noted that the Sixth Amendment right to counsel is offense-specific, and therefore would only apply if Officer Rauch had made specific inquiries about possession of methamphetamine. The Court denied Defendant Navarrette's motion and her request for an evidentiary hearing, but noted that she could renew her motion after the Government filed a declaration from CHP Officer Rauch about the nature of his investigation.*fn1 The Court also noted that to the extent Defendant Navarrette argued that the offense-specific rule should not apply because the theft of the U-Haul and the possession of methamphetamine charge were inextricably intertwined, she could raise that if and when she renewed her motion.

4. Defendant Navarrette's Request to Be Provided with a Syringe. The Court ordered that the Government provide Defendant Navarrette's counsel with one of the syringes seized by Ranger Betsy McMahon on the condition that both defendants stipulate that they would not challenge the chain of custody. The Court further ordered that Defendant Navarrette's expert could obtain the syringe from the U.S. Attorney's Office and sign the syringe out as a receiver of evidence.*fn2

5. Defendants' Motion to Exclude the Butterfly Knife and Throwing Star. The Court denied the defendants' motion, noting that the butterfly knife and the throwing star were relevant to show possession of the brown leather bag in which the methamphetamine was found.

6. Defendant Navarrette's Motion To Reconstruct the Methamphetamine. Defendant Navarrette withdrew her motion.

7. Defendant Navarrette's Welfare Fraud Conviction. The Court ordered that Defendant Navarrette's Welfare Fraud Conviction could be introduced for the purposes of impeachment.

8. Defendants' Motion to Exclude Reference to Their Outstanding Warrants. The Court granted the defendants' motion to exclude reference to the warrants on the condition that the defendants' submit a limiting instruction that would enable the government to present a comprehensive narrative. Defendant Abke was ordered to file a proposed limiting instruction for the government's review indicating that the defendants were constitutionally investigated, arrested, and searched.*fn3

9. Defendant Abke's Motion to Exclude Prior Admission to Methamphetamine Addiction, Prior Possession of Knives, Prior Possession of ...


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