United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER RE MOTIONS IN LIMINE RE: DKT. NOS. 58, 60,
CHHABRIA, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
order is intended to give the parties guidance for
tomorrow's pretrial conference. If a ruling is described
as “tentative, ” this means the Court wishes to
hear argument. If the ruling is not described as tentative,
it means the ruling is final and the Court will not hear
argument. The Court will issue a separate order following the
pretrial conference that summarizes all final rulings on the
motions in limine.
Defendant's Motions in Limine
ruling is tentative. The motion to exclude prior convictions
and bad acts is granted in part and denied in part. It is
granted as to the use of prior felony convictions to impeach
Garcia-Zarate. It is denied as to evidence that Steinle was
shot and killed, as the shooting is inextricably intertwined
with the possession charge. However, as discussed below,
evidence and argument regarding Steinle's death will be
sharply limited. Furthermore, the Court will consider giving
the jury a limiting instruction regarding the relevance of
her death if the defense requests one. The defense's
related request to introduce evidence that Garcia-Zarate was
acquitted in state court is denied; the parties must refrain
from specific references to the state court trial, instead
referring generically to “prior proceedings” or
“prior testimony under oath.”
motion to exclude the testimony of James Steinle is granted,
because the details regarding Kate Steinle's death are
barely relevant to the possession charges, particularly since
the government does not contend that Garcia-Zarate intended
to shoot her. Further, it would be unfairly prejudicial to
Garcia-Zarate for the trial to include anything (much less
the testimony of her father) beyond the fact of her death. To
ensure that undue time is not spent on details regarding
Steinle's death, the government must provide a detailed
offer of proof as to each witness's testimony and its
motion to exclude references to DNA testing of the firearm is
denied. The government does not seek - and would not be
permitted absent agreement by the defense - to introduce
portions of the interrogation in which the topic of DNA
evidence is discussed.
ruling is tentative. The motion to exclude evidence of
gunshot residue is denied, provided, of course, that the
witness responsible for the report is subject to
motion to exclude medical examiner photographs is granted,
assuming the defense stipulates that the bullet that struck
Steinle came from the gun found in the bay.
motion to exclude coroner testimony is granted, subject to
the same assumption.
ruling is tentative. The motion regarding video footage is
granted in part and denied in part. Edits or manipulations to
the video must be disclosed, and they are subject to further
objection. Portions of the video that say “Homicide
Investigation” are inadmissible. Witnesses may narrate
and describe events in a video based on their perceptions.
They may not speculate as to the intention of other actors
captured in the video, nor may they describe the shooting as
ruling is tentative. The motion to exclude the video showing
the shooting is denied. The video was taken from afar: it
captures people as shadowy, indistinct figures and lacks the
kind of detail that might shock a viewer. The video's
probative value is therefore not outweighed by the risk of
unfair prejudice it may create. The Court will entertain any
further objections the defense has to edits to or
manipulation of the video.
unopposed motion to require that files be generically named
the government does not call a witness on its list and the
defense wishes to call that witness, it may do so.
motion to exclude witnesses from the courtroom is granted,
except as ...