Motion In Limine To Exclude Evidence Relating To Plaintiff's Arrest

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR BALTIMORE COUNTY, MARYLAND

CRYSTAL SMITH - Plaintiff
v.
MARGARET A. WILSON - Defendant

CASE NO.: 03-C-02-21532

Motion in Limine to Exclude Evidence Relating to Plaintiff's Arrest

Plaintiff, Crystal Smith, by and through her attorneys, Ronald V. Miller, Laura G. Zois, and Miller & Zois, LLC, requests that this Court preclude testimony and evidence regarding Plaintiff's arrest in October, 2000. In further support, Plaintiff states as follows:

  1. Facts
  2. The Defendant has identified Officer M. Hammond as a potential witness in this case. In October of 2000, after attending her high school reunion, the vehicle in which Ms. Smith was a passenger was pulled over. Ms. Smith was cited for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. (See Statement of Charges attached as Exhibit A.) On May 9, 2001, she pled guilty to disorderly conduct. Judge Dryden struck the guilty verdict and granted her probation before judgment with no probationary period.

    Defense counsel has indicated intention to proffer that Plaintiff's physical ability to resist arrest has bearing on her claim for damages and injuries in this case. Defendant may seek to argue that the incident aggravated her herniated disc, or in the alternative, the incident is evidence of her physical abilities following the accident. But the allegations in the police report are not inconsistent with Ms. Smith injuries or her testimony and there is no medical records to indicate that this incident aggravated Plaintiff's injuries.

  3. Law
  4. Evidence, to be admissible, must be both relevant and material. Lai v. Sagel, 373 Md. 306, 319 (2003). Evidence is material if it tends to establish a proposition that has legal significance to the litigation; it is relevant if it is sufficiently probative of a proposition that, if established, would have legal significance to the litigation. Id .

    Even if relevant, under Maryland Rule 5-402, a trial court may exclude otherwise relevant evidence if "its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, or misleading the jury, or by considerations of undue delay, waste of time, or needless presentation of cumulative evidence."

  5. Argument

    1. The Evidence is Not Relevant
    2. The evidence being offered by the Defendant is not relevant to the issues in this case. Plaintiff does not contend would be unable to resist arrest as set forth by the Statement of Charges. She does not contend that she is an invalid unable to perform the activities alleged. Rather, it is her contention that she cannot engage in such activities without pain. In fact, Plaintiff's testimony will be that she does many strenuous things raising three small children that she continues to perform, albeit in pain of varying severity.

    3. Even If Relevant, the Prejudice Outweighs the Evidence's Probative Value .
    4. Even assuming, arguendo , that there is some modicum of relevancy to this evidence, its probative value is outweighed by its prejudicial effect. The prejudicial effect of evidence of Plaintiff's arrest is obvious and is likely to sway and confuse the jurors. As set forth above, if there is any relevancy to this evidence, it is marginal because it does not contradict Plaintiff's evidence. Defendant is essentially seeking to admit an elephant on the back of a mouse. She should not be permitted to do so because this evidence would unfairly prejudice the real issues the jury should consider at trial.

      WHEREFORE, Plaintiff respectfully requests that this Honorable Court preclude Defendant's counsel from referring to, interrogating, or attempt to convey or suggest to the jury that the Plaintiff was arrested and involved in a struggle with a police officer. Further, should Defendant believe that this evidence is legitimate impeachment evidence, Defendant should be required to notify the Court of its intend to use such evidence as impeachment.

Respectfully submitted,
MILLER & ZOIS, LLC

Ronald V. Miller, Jr.
Laura G. Zois
1 South St, #2450
Baltimore, MD 21202
(410)779-4600
(410)760-8922 (Fax)
Attorneys for the Plaintiff

Certificate of Service

I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing Motion in Limine to Exclude Evidence Relating to Plaintiff's Arrest was sent via U.S. Mail, first-class, postage prepaid, this 17 th day of March, 2004, to:

Daniel J. Moore, Esquire
Moore & Jackson, LLC
305 Washington Avenue, Suite 401
Towson, Maryland 21204
Attorney for Defendant
Laura G. Zois

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR BALTIMORE COUNTY, MARYLAND

CRYSTAL SMITH - Plaintiff
v.
MARGARET A. WILSON - Defendant

CASE NO.: 03-C-02-21532

O R D E R

Upon consideration of the Plaintiff's Motion in Limine to Exclude Evidence Relating to Plaintiff's Arrest; it is this _________ day of _____________, 2004, by the Circuit Court for Baltimore County, Maryland, hereby

ORDERED, that the Plaintiff's Motion is GRANTED and Defendant is precluded from introducing any evidence at the trial of this matter regarding the Plaintiff's arrest.

JUDGE

COPIES TO:

Ronald V. Miller, Jr., Esq.
Laura G. Zois, Esq.
Miller & Zois, LLC
Baltimore, MD 21202

Daniel J. Moore, Esquire
Moore & Jackson, LLC
305 Washington Avenue, Suite 401
Towson, Maryland 21204

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