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Christopher v. S. Corknard

July 20, 2012

CHRISTOPHER IRIZARRY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
S. CORKNARD, CORRECTIONS OFFICER, COXSACKIE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY; ROBERT DAVIES, III, CORRECTIONS OFFICER, COXSACKIE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY; FERNANDEZ, CORRECTIONS OFFICER, COXSACKIE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY; STEVEN GRIMALDI, CORRECTIONS OFFICER, COXSACKIE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY; MARK HARRIS, CORRECTIONS OFFICER, COXSACKIE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY; AND JASON T. YUNG, SERGEANT, COXSACKIE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mae A. D'Agostino, U.S. District Judge:

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

Currently before the Court is Plaintiff's motion in limine seeking the following relief: (1) an order precluding Defendants from introducing evidence of Plaintiff's and Mr. Dozier's prior convictions; (2) an order precluding Defendants from introducing evidence regarding the details of Plaintiff's conviction for attempted assault; (3) an order precluding Defendants from introducing evidence or testimony regarding Defendant Davies' alleged facial fracture; (4) an order precluding Defendants from presenting Plaintiff's disciplinary records and the infraction from the incident at issue; and (5) an order precluding Defendants from admitting the use of force reports that were issued in relation to this incident. See Dkt. No. 75.

II. BACKGROUND

The Court assumes the parties' familiarity with the facts of this case and refers them to the Court's March 19, 2012 Memorandum-Decision and Order granting in part and denying in part Defendants' motion for summary judgment for a complete recitation of the facts. See Dkt. No. 54.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Standard of review

The purpose of a motion in limine is to allow the trial court to rule in advance of trial on the admissibility of certain forecasted evidence. See Luce v. United States, 469 U.S. 38, 40 n.2 (1984); see also Palmieri v. Defaria, 88 F.3d 136, 141 (2d Cir. 1996). A court should exclude evidence on a motion in limine only when the evidence is clearly inadmissible on all potential grounds. See Baxter Diagnostics, Inc. v. Novatek Med., Inc., No. 94-cv-5220, 1998 WL 665138, *3 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 25, 1998). Courts considering a motion in limine may reserve decision until trial so that the motion is placed in the appropriate factual context. See Nat'l Union Fire Ins. Co. v. L.E. Myers Co. Group, 937 F. Supp. 276, 287 (S.D.N.Y. 1996). Alternatively, the court is "free, in the exercise of sound judicial discretion, to alter a previous in limine ruling" at trial as "the case unfolds, particularly if the actual testimony differs from what was contained in the [movant's] proffer." Luce, 469 U.S. at 41-42.

B. Plaintiff's and Isaac Dozier's prior convictions

Defendants' counsel has informed the Court that he will not seek to introduce evidence or testimony regarding Plaintiff's or Mr. Dozier's prior convictions, but will simply establish that they are both currently serving a term of incarceration for a felony offense. Plaintiff's counsel has informed the Court that she does not object to this practice.

Based on the foregoing, the Court denies without prejudice to renewal this portion of Plaintiff's motion in limine as moot.

C. Plaintiff's conviction for Attempted Assault in the Second Degree

In relation to the events of July 26, 2009, Plaintiff eventually pled guilty to Attempted Assault in the Second Degree, in which he admitted to striking Defendant Davies in order to prevent him from performing a lawful duty. See Dkt. No. 48-2 at 8. Plaintiff claims that the Court should preclude Defendants from introducing evidence and testimony regarding this guilty plea because it "is not probative evidence; it would mislead and confuse the jury, waste court time and it is highly prejudicial[.]" See Dkt. No. 75 at 7-12.*fn1

Pursuant to Rule 609(a) of the Federal Rules of Evidence, a witness' character for truthfulness may be attacked by evidence of a criminal conviction as follows: "(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). Rule 403 of the Federal Rules of Evidence provides that the court may exclude otherwise relevant evidence "if its probative value is substantially outweighed by a danger of one or more of the following: unfair prejudice, confusing the issues, misleading the jury, undue delay, wasting time, or needlessly presenting cumulative evidence." Fed. R. ...


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