Motions In Limine

Unfair trial tactics can prejudice the jury against your client. I recently witnessed a defense lawyer engage in improper tactics at trial. This post under “How I Practice Law” discusses pre-trial motions that address unfair tactics. The focus is on on a car collision case, but apply to any jury trial.

Failure to Call a Witness. There should be no comment concerning individuals who have knowledge of facts in the case but have not been called as witnesses. Both lawyers have subpoena power giving them the ability to call any witness they chose to testify at trial. To express, imply, or raise questions to or in front of the jury about individuals that have knowledge but have not been heard from has no purpose but to prejudice a party in the eyes of the jury. (This motion, which should be granted, puts the torch in advance to a lawyer who engages in this underhanded tactic).

Commenting on Documents that could have been Introduced into Evidence. There should be no mention of documents that could have been introduced but have not. Both lawyers have the ability to Request Production or Subpoena documents. As with commenting on absent  witnesses commenting on absent documents  has no legitimate purpose and is only done to poison the jury. (This is the document version of  failure to call a witness).

Commenting on Plaintiff’s Absence from Trial. Because of [plaintiff’s employment] she is unable to attend trial beyond the first day and at the time of her direct and cross examination. The jury should be informed of this reality. Thereafter any comment on plaintiff being absent has no relevance to our case. Any comment on absence can only prejudice plaintiff. (This motion is included when plaintiff is unable to attend the full trial).

Introduction of Photographs of only one Car. Counsel should be precluded from showing a witness and/or offering photographs of (party’s car). Although a picture can be worth a thousand words, an incomplete  picture is worth prejudice to the jury. Despite Request for Production opposition has failed to produce photographs of  the car of (its party). Opposition had the ability to photograph the car before it was repaired. Failure to photograph the damage should now preclude opposition from offering photograph’s of plaintiff’s car. (Note this may be spoliation of evidence. A letter should be sent to the insurance company as soon as case is initiated demanding either photographs of defendant’s car or making car available before any repair. If the car has yet to be repaired and is repaired after the demand there is a spoliation issue).

Not A Complete List. There are many improper trial tactics. The above highlights a few. Talk with experienced lawyers and search the internet for quality law firm sites.  Include searches  in the context of improper tactics in criminal cases.  Recognizing improper tactics and moving pre-trial to eliminate them increases your chances of getting fairness for your injured client.

    2 Responses to “Motions In Limine”

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    2. Sheila Gill says:

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