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United States v. Perez

United States District Court, E.D. California

July 9, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
JUAN MANUEL PEREZ, Defendant.

ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTIONS IN LIMINE

LAWRENCE J. O'NEILL, District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Defendant Juan Manuel Perez ("Perez") is charged in a three-count indictment for 1) possession of an unregistered firearm in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 5845(a); 2) felon in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1); and 3) felon in possession of ammunition in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). (Doc. 29). Now pending before the Court are Perez's motions in limine. (Doc. 24). Plaintiff the United States of America ("government") filed an opposition. (Doc. 32). Having reviewed the parties' submissions, the Court rules on the motions in limine as follows.

BACKGROUND

On April 23, 2013, Perez's son Manuel Perez ("Manuel") was shot. Manuel told an officer from the Fresno Police Department that he was shot by unknown men. Three days later, on April 26, 2013, Manuel's mother and Perez's ex-wife Linda Soliz ("Soliz") informed Fresno police that Manuel told her Perez had shot Manuel during an argument and where to locate Perez. Fresno police interviewed Manuel who stated that his father shot him on April 23, 2013.

On April 26, 2013, based on information from Soliz and Manuel, a Fresno police officer went to a residence to arrest Perez. Perez and a woman were at the residence, and no firearm was in plain sight. The officer told Perez he was being arrested, handcuffed Perez, and told him the residence would be searched. The officer questioned Perez about a firearm. Perez indicated the location of the firearm in the chair where the woman was seated.

LEGAL STANDARD

A party may use a motion in limine to exclude inadmissible or prejudicial evidence before it is actually introduced at trial. See, Luce v. United States, 469 U.S. 38, 40 n. 2 (1984). "[A] motion in limine is an important tool available to the trial judge to ensure the expeditious and evenhanded management of the trial proceedings." Jonasson v. Lutheran Child and Family Services, 115 F.3d 436, 440 (7th Cir. 1997). A motion in limine allows the parties to resolve evidentiary disputes before trial and avoids potentially prejudicial evidence being presented in front of the jury, thereby relieving the trial judge from the formidable task of neutralizing the taint of prejudicial evidence. Brodit v. Cambra, 350 F.3d 985, 1004-05 (9th Cir. 2003).

Motions in limine that exclude broad categories of evidence are disfavored, and such issues are better dealt with during trial as the admissibility of evidence arises. Sperberg v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber, Co., 519 F.2d 708, 712 (6th Cir. 1975). Additionally, some evidentiary issues are not accurately and efficiently evaluated by the trial judge in a motion in limine, and it is necessary to defer ruling until during trial when the trial judge can better estimate the impact of the evidence on the jury. Jonasson, 115 F.3d at 440.

PEREZ'S MOTIONS IN LIMINE

1. Exclusion of Perez's statements at his arrest

Perez seeks to exclude Perez's statements made at his arrest including his statement as to the location of a firearm. Perez argues that his statements must be excluded because the arresting officer failed to advise him of his Miranda rights. 374 U.S. 436, 444-445 (1996). The government contends that the public safety exception applies because the officer had "an objectively reasonable need to protect the public of police from any immediate danger" when Perez made the statement. New York v. Quarles, 467 U.S. 649 (1984).

This motion in limine is DENIED. The police had information that Perez was in possession of a firearm, that Perez had used a firearm, and were unaware of where the firearm was located. They had no information that Defendant had disposed of the firearm. They were lawfully at Defendant's residence, in a confined area. The danger to the ...


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