United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on the motions in limine
filed by Plaintiff Fernando Gomez (Doc. 101) and Defendants
Joshua Schoenbeck, Michael Atchison, Richard Harrington, and
Kevin Reichart (Doc. 102). Trial will begin on
Tuesday, August 20, 2019.
Plaintiff's Motions in Limine (Doc.
in Limine No. 1:
any testimony or evidence of Gomez's criminal history and
criminal convictions. Gomez argues the alleged probative
value from evidence of his criminal convictions would not
substantially outweigh its prejudicial effect. Furthermore,
evidence of Gomez's convictions has little-to-no
probative value because none of his convictions relate to his
propensity for truthfulness and would not assist a jury in
assessing whether he is telling the truth. Gomez is, however,
willing to stipulate to the fact that he was incarcerated at
Menard Correctional Center at the time of the incidents at
argue this request should be denied because Gomez has failed
to meet his burden of demonstrating that evidence of his
criminal convictions is inadmissible for any purpose.
Defendants further object to barring any reference to
Gomez's conviction for murder, because the Federal Rules
of Evidence allow evidence that a witness has been convicted
of a crime within the previous 10 years (if the crime was
punishable by imprisonment of more than one year) as long as
its probative value is not substantially outweighed by the
danger of unfair prejudice. Defendants argue that while
evidence of Gomez's convictions may be prejudicial, he
has not shown that he will suffer unfair prejudice that will
substantially outweigh the probative value of his
portion of Gomez's motion is GRANTED in part and
DENIED in part. Defendants will be allowed to
introduce evidence/testimony regarding the number of felony
convictions for which Gomez is currently incarcerated.
Defendants shall not elicit any further testimony regarding
the nature of the convictions or the sentence that Gomez
received, because such testimony would be highly prejudicial
and outweighs the probative value of the evidence. If
Defendants believe the specific facts and circumstances of
this case warrant admissibility of the evidence, they may ask
the Court to reconsider this ruling as appropriate during
in Limine No. 2:
any testimony or evidence of Gomez's prior bad acts.
Gomez seeks to exclude evidence that, because of Gomez's
criminal convictions, he is the kind of person who would be
involved in a physical altercation, would tend to be violent,
or would have an ulterior motive for filing this lawsuit
oppose this request, as the evidence is not clearly
inadmissible on all potential grounds. Here, one of the
issues is Gomez's alleged involvement in an assault on a
correctional lieutenant, which led to his being placed on
investigative status and then in administrative detention.
Defendants argue that reference to this allegation should be
allowed because it provides the basis for Defendants'
actions in this case.
true that prior bad acts generally constitute inadmissible
character evidence under Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b),
which prohibits evidence of a crime, wrong, or other act to
prove a person's character in order to show that, on a
particular occasion, the person acted in accordance with the
character. Testimony regarding a particular assault may be
appropriate for other purposes, however, “such as proof
of motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge,
identity . . . absence of mistake or accident, or other
relevant, nonpropensity purposes.” Duran v. Town of
Cicero, Ill., 653 F.3d 632, 645 (7th Cir. 2011).
Accordingly, the Court RESERVES RULING on
this portion of Gomez's motion.
in Limine No. 3:
any testimony or evidence regarding the number of times or
the length of time that Gomez has been or will be detained in
Hill Correctional Center, or anywhere else where Gomez may
have been detained or served time for a criminal charge or
conviction. Gomez argues this evidence has no probative value
in this lawsuit, and its admission would improperly confuse
and mislead the jury and inflict unfair prejudice against
response, Defendants argue that the length of Gomez's
sentence is relevant because one of the factors as to whether
Gomez was deprived of a liberty interest when he was placed
in administrative detention is whether the length of time in
administrative detention compared with the length of his
sentence would have been a hardship. Here, Gomez was in
administrative detention at Menard for more than two years,
but, Defendants argue, Gomez was serving a 40-year sentence.
Thus, the amount of time in administrative detention may not
be considered a hardship given the context of Gomez's
portion of Gomez's motion is GRANTED. At
summary judgment, the Court determined, as a matter of law,
that the 741 days Gomez spent in Administrative Detention
implicated a protected liberty interest. Thus, the question
remaining for the jury is whether-given that Gomez had a
liberty interest at stake-was he afforded the process he was
due. Evidence of the total length of Gomez's sentence
would be highly prejudicial and would outweigh any probative
in Limine No. 4:
any testimony or evidence of the size of the law firm
representing Gomez or the amount of time or money that may
have been expended litigating this matter. Gomez argues such
information is irrelevant and would only cause prejudice to
have no objection unless Gomez opens the door to such
testimony; accordingly, this portion of the motion is
in Limine No. 5:
any testimony or evidence that argues, implies, or suggests
to the jury that Gomez has sought to prevent the jury from
receiving, either through objections or through pretrial
motions, information that may have a bearing on the issues in
this case or the rights of the parties to this suit.
have no objection unless Gomez opens the door to such
testimony; accordingly, this ...