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Jordan v. City of Chicago et al

December 8, 2011

JORDAN
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO ET AL



Name of Assigned Judge Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge Amy J. St. Eve than Assigned Judge

CASE TITLE

DOCKET ENTRY TEXT

The Court grants Plaintiff's motion in limine #1, grants in part and denies in part Plaintiff's motion in limine #2, and denies Plaintiff's motions in limine #3 and #4 [93].

O[ For further details see text below.] Notices mailed by Judicial staff.

STATEMENT

Plaintiff, Bianca Jordan, as guardian of Delbert Van Allen, a minor, brought this lawsuit based on an October 31, 2008 incident at 6922 South Aberdeen Street in Chicago, Illinois involving Defendant Chicago Police Officers O'Shaughnessy and Rigan and the shooting of Van Allen. (R. 50, Amend. Compl. ¶¶ 9-12.) Plaintiff brings excessive force, false arrest, malicious prosecution, and battery claims. Before the Court are Plaintiff's motions in limine #1 through #4. For the following reasons, the Court, in its discretion, grants Plaintiff's motion in limine #1, grants in part and denies in part Plaintiff's motion in limine #2, and denies Plaintiff's motions in limine #3 and #4.

LEGAL STANDARD

"Although the Federal Rules of Evidence do not explicitly authorize in limine rulings, the practice has developed pursuant to the district court's inherent authority to manage the course of trials." Luce v. United States, 469 U.S. 38, 41 n.4, 105 S.Ct. 460, 83 L.Ed.2d 443 (1984). In limine rulings avoid delay and allow the parties the opportunity to prepare themselves and witnesses for the introduction or exclusion of the applicable evidence. See Wilson v. Williams, 182 F.3d 562, 566 (7th Cir. 1999); United States v. Connelly, 874 F.2d 412, 416 (7th Cir. 1989). Trial courts have broad discretion in ruling on evidentiary issues before trial. See United States v. Chambers, 642 F.3d 588, 594 (7th Cir. 2011). Regardless of the Court's initial ruling on a motion in limine, the Court may adjust its ruling during the course of trial. See Farfaras v. Citizens Bank & Trust of Chicago, 433 F.3d 558, 565 (7th Cir. 2006). The Court will only grant a motion in limine when the evidence is clearly inadmissible for any purpose. See Jonasson v. Lutheran Child & Family Servs., 115 F.3d 436, 440 (7th Cir. 1997); Thakore v. Universal Mach. Co. of Pottstown, Inc., 670 F.Supp.2d 705, 714 (N.D. Ill. 2009). The moving party bears the burden of establishing that the evidence is not admissible for any purpose. See Mason v. City of Chicago, 631 F.Supp.2d 1052, 1056 (N.D. Ill. 2009).

Courtroom Deputy KF

Initials:

ANALYSIS

I. Evidence of Prior Contact with Police

In Plaintiff's motion in limine #1, she seeks to exclude all evidence of prior contact that Van Allen and Vince Hinton -- an eyewitness to Van Allen's arrest -- had with any police department prior to the October 31, 2008 incident at issue in this lawsuit. Specifically, Van Allen was arrested on August 29, 2007 for criminal trespass to land and Hinton has been arrested on three occasions, including an arrest for possession of an unregistered gun. Van Allen and Hinton were not convicted of any charges.

Arrests, standing alone, are generally inadmissible for impeachment purposes. See United States v. Sanchez, No. 07 CR 0149, 2009 WL 5166230, at *9 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 22, 2009) ("arrests absent convictions and convictions for minor offenses, standing alone, are generally not admissible for impeachment."). Also, Van Allen was a juvenile when he was arrested for trespass and juvenile adjudications are not admissible under Rule 609(d). See Lenard v. Argento, 699 F.2d 874, 895 (7th Cir. 1983). Hinton's first arrest is at least fifteen years old and the charge was dismissed. See Fed.R.Evid. 609(b); Cobige v. City of Chicago, Ill., 651 F.3d 780, 784 (7th Cir. 2011) ("convictions that occurred more than ten years before the date of trial ordinarily may not be used 'for the purpose of attacking the character for truthfulness of a witness') (citation omitted). Hinton's second arrest was in 2003 and was also dismissed and there is little evidence in the record about Hinton's 2006 arrest. Meanwhile, Defendant Officers' argument that these arrests show bias against police officers is unavailing because "taken to its logical ...


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