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Ford v. Bell

April 24, 2012

FORD
v.
BELL, ET AL.



Name of Assigned Judge Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge Blanche M. Manning than Assigned Judge

CASE TITLE

DOCKET ENTRY TEXT

For the reasons stated below, the parties' motions in limine are granted and denied as detailed below. Specifically, the plaintiff's motions in limine [114-1] are ruled on as follows: motion in limine number (1) is granted, motion in limine number (2) is granted in part and denied in part and motion in limine number (3) is granted. The defendants' motions in limine (1) [105-1], (2) [106-1], and (4) [108-1] are granted. The defendants' motions in limine (3) [107-1], (6) [110-1], (7) [111-1], and (9) [113-1] are denied. The defendants' motions in limine (5) [109-1] and (8) [112-1] are denied in part and granted in part.

O[ For further details see text below.]

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Evidence should be excluded on a motion in limine "only when evidence is clearly inadmissible on all potential grounds .... [and][u]nless evidence meets this high standard, evidentiary rulings should be deferred until trial...." See Steck v. Bimba Mfg Co., 96 C 7442, 1997 WL 685003, at *1 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 30, 1997) (citation omitted). The denial of a motion in limine does not mean that the evidence is necessarily admissible, rather, it means only that the party moving in limine has not demonstrated that there is no possible basis for the admission of the evidence. Holmes v. Sood, No. 02 C 7266, 2006 WL 1988716, at *1 (N.D. Ill. July 12, 2006). See also Alexander v. Mt. Sinai Hosp. Med. Center of Chicago, No. 00 C 2907, 2005 WL 3710369 at *2 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 14, 2005). Further, the denial of a motion in limine does not preclude a party from objecting to the admission of any evidence at trial. United States v. Connelly, 874 F.2d 412, 416 (7th Cir. 1989) ("a ruling [on motion in limine is] subject to change based upon the court's exposure to the evidence at trial"). Keeping in mind these observations, the court addresses the parties' motions in limine in turn.

Plaintiff's Motions in Limine

The plaintiff, Bobby Ford, moves in limine to (1) exclude evidence regarding his prior lawsuits; (2) exclude evidence regarding his criminal record; and (3) preclude the defendants from testifying or appearing in court while wearing their uniforms.

As for the plaintiff's motion in limine number (1), the defendants state that they do not intend to offer any evidence of the plaintiff's prior civil lawsuits as long as the plaintiff does not raise the issue himself. Accordingly, the motion is granted.

In his second motion in limine, the plaintiff asks the court to bar evidence regarding his prior criminal record. With respect to the offenses over 10 years old, the defendants assert that they do not intend to offer evidence of those convictions. Thus, the motion is granted with respect to those convictions. According to the plaintiff's criminal record, then, which he attached to his motion in limine, the only convictions at issue are a 2004 conviction for robbery, a 2010 conviction for retail theft and a 2011 conviction for possession of contraband in a penal institution. Under Fed. R. of Evid. 609(a),

[t]he following rules apply to attacking a witness's character for truthfulness by evidence of a criminal conviction:

(1) for a crime that, in the convicting jurisdiction, was punishable by death or by imprisonment for more than one year, the evidence:

(A) must be admitted, subject to Rule 403, in a civil case or in a criminal case in which the witness is not a defendant . . .

Fed. R. Evid. 609(a)(1)(A). Thus, Rule 609 provides that the aforementioned felony convictions "must be admitted" for impeachment purposes subject to Rule 403 considerations. Rule 403 states that "[t]he court may exclude relevant evidence if its probative value is substantially outweighed by a danger of one or more of the following: unfair prejudice, confusing the issues, ...


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