On 4/11/2013, the Hawaiian court held a public hearing for “motions in limine” in Chris Deedy’s trial. A motion in limine is a written request or motion to a judge that can be used for civil or criminal proceedings. They are frequently used at a pre-trial hearing or during an actual trial, and request the judge to rule that certain testimony regarding evidence or information may be included or excluded.
Photo courtesy of istockphoto.com
At Chris’ hearing, the State filed 11 motions in limine to prohibit during trial:
- Any comment upon or reference to any “specific instances of aggressive conduct,” “prior bad acts,” and/or “prior criminal record,” of victim Kollin Elderts
- Any comment upon or reference to any toxicology tests done on the victim Kollin Elderts; Prohibiting any comment upon or reference to the presence of alcohol, cocaine, and cannabinoids in victim Kollin Elderts’ blood at the time of his death
- Any comment upon or reference to “specific instances of aggressive conduct,” “prior bad acts,” “prior arrests for violations where no conviction has been entered,” of any prosecution witness
- Referring to Defendant as “Special Agent”
- Any comment upon or reference to performance evaluations, award nominations, and/or recognition regarding Defendant Christopher Deedy’s employment in the U.S. State Department
- Any comment on or reference to an award given to Special Agent David Meyer due to conduct in an unrelated case and testimony related thereto
- Any comment on or reference to Federal Laws, Statutes, Acts, and/or Regulations not relevant to the instant case
- Any comment upon or reference to Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Indictment Based on Supremacy Clause Immunity, as well as any evidence relating to issues raised by that motion
- Any comment and/or reference, by a federal agent, regarding an ultimate issue at trial
- Any comment upon or reference to a cellular phone video recording taken by Charles Maisch
- Any comment on or reference to the fact that State’s Witness Samuel Tong is employed by a company which deals with Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)
Deedy’s defense team also filed their own motions in limine:
- Establish a 4-day trial week (as is customary in Hawaii) rather that the 5-day trial week proposed by the Court
- Proposal to provide a 1-page questionaire to prospective jurors when they report for jury duty.
At the hearing, which was open to the public, Judge Ahn denied State’s Motion #4 and Defendant’s Motion #2.
Defendant’s Motion #1 was granted in part, limiting the jury to 4-day weeks but keeping 5-day weeks for the prosecution and defense.
The Judge determined that the topics of the remaining motions would be more appropriately addressed during trial.
It should be noted that while the Defense argued against each of the State’s motions, the Defense also argued that their substance should be addressed during trial, not in motions in limine, to which the Court agreed.
So, what does that all mean?
The prosecution doesn’t want the jury to hear:
- that Elderts was arrested and fought with the police in the past,
- that Elderts had cocaine and marijuana in his blood, as well as an elevated blood alcohol content at the time of the incident,
- that witnesses for the prosecution may or may not have criminal histories that involve aggressive acts,
- that Christopher Deedy is a Special Agent,
- that Chris has received official awards for exemplary work as a Special Agent,
- that the State Department has given an award to another agent for law enforcement acts that took place while off duty in an unrelated incident,
- 8. & 9. that Federal Law may contradict Hawaiian law in this case,
- that there is a video that may contain content that contradicts the prosecution’s claims,
- and GMOs? Seriously? We hope we aren’t the only ones that are confused by that one…
We’re not experts, but it sounds to us like the prosecution was trying to stack the deck in their favor by having a lot of relevant stuff excluded before the trial’s even begun. Chris’ team argued against the limitations, but they ultimately decided it would be better to deal with them as they come up during the trial–and the judge agreed.