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Washington v. Carpenter

November 20, 2009

LARRY M. WASHINGTON AND JENNIFER A. JENKINS, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
DETECTIVE PAUL CARPENTER, DETECTIVE JAMES GRAHAM, DETECTIVE J. T. OOLDRIDGE, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jeanne E. Scott, U.S. District Judge

OPINION

This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiffs Larry Washington and Jennifer Jenkins' Motions in Limine (d/e 271, 272, 273, 279, 285, 289) (hereinafter referred to by docket entry numbers); Defendant Graham's Motion for Order to Adopt Defendant Carpenter's Responses to Plaintiffs' Motions in Limine (d/e 301); and Defendant Wooldridge's Motion for Order to Adopt Defendant Carpenter's Response to Plaintiffs' Motions in Limine Filed on November 16, 2009; Graham's Response to Plaintiffs' Motions in Limine Filed on November 18, 2009; and Defendant Graham's Responses to Plaintiffs' Motions in Limine Filed on November 19, 2009 (d/e 302). The motions to adopt responses (d/e 301 and 302) are allowed. The Court rules on the Motions in Limine as follows: MOTION 271

Motion 271 contains twenty-four separate motions in limine. The Court rules on these motions as follows:

Paragraph 1

The Plaintiffs seek to exclude evidence regarding their employment records. The request is denied. Plaintiffs claim that the Defendants planted cocaine in their home. The Defendants claim that the cocaine was already there. This puts at issue whether the Plaintiffs were involved in drug trafficking. Proof that the Plaintiffs were involved in drug trafficking would be relevant to show that the cocaine belonged to them. Evidence that a person's lifestyle and expenditures greatly exceed his legitimate income is circumstantial evidence of the person's involvement in illegal activity such as drug trafficking. See e.g., United States v. Briscoe, 896 F.2d 1476 (7th Cir. 1990). The Defendants therefore may present evidence regarding the Plaintiffs' income and expenditures, including their employment records.

The Plaintiffs seek to exclude evidence regarding insurance claims filed prior or subsequent to the search and arrest at issue in March 2005. The motion is denied. The Defendants want to present evidence of the Defendants' insurance claims for losses arising from a house fire in 2005 and a theft in 2004. The property lost by the Plaintiffs is evidence of the Plaintiffs' lifestyle and, as explained above, is relevant.

The Defendants also intend to admit an allegedly false statement made under oath to the insurance company in connection with the 2005 insurance claim. Washington verified that certain unsigned tax returns for 2002, 2003, and 2004 were the returns that he filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The Defendants intend to prove that these statements, under oath, were false. This evidence may only be admitted for impeachment purposes.

The Defendants also intend to admit photographs of a men's beaver fur coat, a men's mink fur coat and multiple flat screen televisions that were submitted with the 2005 insurance claim. These photographs will be barred. The photographs are cumulative and the potential for prejudice outweighs their probative value. Also, unlike the items listed on the insurance claims, there is no indication of when the items portrayed in the photos were purchased.

Paragraph 3

The Plaintiffs seek to bar evidence about the Plaintiffs' prior arrests. This request is allowed, except that the Defendants may admit Defendant Graham's Affidavit for search warrant dated March 16, 2005 (Affidavit). The Affidavit references a 1994 conviction of Washington. The Defendants may not go into any more detail about the conviction beyond the reference in the Affidavit.

Paragraph 4

The Plaintiffs seek to bar evidence of the Plaintiffs' prior convictions. This request is allowed except that the Defendants may admit the Affidavit for search warrant, which references a 1994 conviction of Washington. The Defendants may not go into any more detail about the conviction beyond the reference in the Affidavit.

Paragraph 5

The Plaintiffs seek to bar evidence of gang affiliation. This request is allowed except that the Defendants may admit the Complaint for Search Warrant (Warrant Complaint), Affidavit, the Search Warrant issued March 16, 2005 (Warrant), and the Return of the Warrant dated October 31, 2005 (Return), to the extent that any of the items recovered were gang-related. The Affidavit references Washington's alleged gang affiliation, and the Warrant Complaint and Warrant mention gang records and paraphernalia. Defendants Carpenter and Graham may also testify regarding information on which they allegedly relied to search Washington's trash, as referenced in the Affidavit. The Court will entertain a limiting instruction that the evidence is admitted to explain the basis for their actions rather than the truth of the matter asserted. The Court bars other evidence of gang affiliation.

Paragraph 6

The Plaintiffs seek to exclude witnesses that were not disclosed. This request is allowed without objection.

Paragraph 7

The Plaintiffs seek to bar photographs and documents that were not disclosed in discovery. This request is allowed without objection.

Paragraph 8

The Plaintiffs seek to bar evidence of the number of televisions in the Plaintiffs' residence at the time of the search and arrest. The request is denied. This is evidence of the Plaintiffs' lifestyle at the ...


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