United States District Court, N.D. California
FINAL ORDER ON MOTIONS IN LIMINE RE: DKT. NOS. 58,
CHHABRIA UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
order sets forth the Court's rulings on the evidentiary
issues raised in the motions in limine and at the pretrial
conference. As always, in limine rulings can be revisited
depending on how the evidence comes in at trial.
Defendant's Motions in Limine
motion to exclude prior convictions and bad acts is granted
in part and denied in part. The government may use the two
felony convictions that fall within Rule 609(b)'s scope
to impeach Garcia-Zarate, should he choose to testify. While
the probative value of these convictions is relatively low,
the risk of prejudice is even lower for the reasons discussed
at the pretrial conference.
motion to exclude evidence that Steinle was shot and killed
is denied, because the shooting is inextricably intertwined
with the possession charge. However, evidence and argument
regarding Steinle's death will be sharply limited
pursuant to Rule 403. Furthermore, per the defendant's
request, the Court will give the jury a limiting instruction
regarding the relevance of her death.
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
motion to exclude the testimony of James Steinle is granted.
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. And 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
motion to exclude evidence about DNA testing of the firearm
is denied as moot. The parties have agreed to stipulate that
no DNA evidence was found on the gun. The government may
establish that the officers were diligent in conducting DNA
motion to exclude evidence of gunshot residue is denied.
motion to exclude medical examiner photographs is granted.
The parties have agreed to stipulate that the bullet
recovered from Steinle's body came from the gun found in
the bay. The government may introduce the bullet into
evidence, but photos of Steinle's body are highly
prejudicial and inadmissible under Rule 403.
motion to exclude coroner testimony is granted for similar
motion regarding editing and enhancement of video footage is
granted in part and denied in part. The government may use
footage of the pier that has been edited to zoom in on the
scene. But it may not use footage with superimposed photos,
labels, or comments. 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 a murder.
motion to exclude the video showing the shooting is denied.
The video was taken from afar: it captures people as shadowy,
indistinct figures. The video's probative value is