Mar 28, 2016

People win key motions in limine in Bullock jury trial before defense begins their case

This morning before the jury in the Gary Lee Bullock case was scheduled to arrive,at 9 a.m.attorneys met with Judge John Feeney.

I will update this post with complete coverage later. The People won motions in limine, one was their own, one filed by the defense.

"The defense is now trying to reduce the defendant's mental state and his accountability of his actions."People win motion to bar defense from using Bullock's statements to law enforcement"

This afternoon at 1:30 p.m., "outside the presence of jurors" Judge John Feeney addressed motions in limine and admissibility of certain exhibits.

Besides Judge Feeney, Deputy District Attorney Andrew Isaac, DA Investigator John Burke, Gary Lee Bullock and his attorney, Mr. Kaleb Cockrum and court staff, I was the only one in the audience.

"What I would like to address is the People's motion in limine to bar the defense from using Mr. Bullock's statements to law enforcement," said Judge Feeney.

Judge Feeney said he had considered and read the People's motion as well as the defense's opposition.

"I understand that the defense position is that Mr. Bullock's statements to law enforcement are non-hearsay and being offered for the falsity of his staements," said Judge John Feeney.

Before he stated his tentative decision, Judge Feeney said he had looked at the California evidence manual. He cited Evidence Code 1251 and 1252.

"The defense seeks Mr. Bullock's statement as evidence of state of mind on the night in question," said Judge Feeney. "Evidence code 1251 appears to be on point."

Judge Feeney said that Bullock was not unavailable as a witness. He also cited a case People v Aguilar.

Judge Feeney also referred to Page 1567 from the Court of Appeals

Judge Feeney said his tentative decision was to grant the People's motion.

Attorneys gave their oral arguments and input.

Mr. Cockrum said the defense wanted to use those statements to provide  "circumstantial evidence of the defendant's state of mind"

Mr. Isaac responded, "I don't think that is enough to refute case law" and mentioned Evidence Code 1251 and 1252. "The defense is now trying to reduce the defendant's mental state and his accountability of his actions."

Evidence Codes 1251-52:

1251.  Subject to Section 1252, evidence of a statement of the
declarant's state of mind, emotion, or physical sensation (including
a statement of intent, plan, motive, design, mental feeling, pain, or
bodily health) at a time prior to the statement is not made
inadmissible by the hearsay rule if:
   (a) The declarant is unavailable as a witness; and
   (b) The evidence is offered to prove such prior state of mind,
emotion, or physical sensation when it is itself an issue in the
action and the evidence is not offered to prove any fact other than
such state of mind, emotion, or physical sensation.

1252.  Evidence of a statement is inadmissible under this article if
the statement was made under circumstances such as to indicate its
lack of trustworthiness.

The People have two other motions in limine which will be decided between 8:30 to 9 a.m. on Monday. One is a motion to exclude an expert opinion on Bullock's mental health. The other is to exclude testimony from non-intimate witnesses. 

"I could not find  evidence that these people are intimate acquaintances and Mr. Bullock has not shown that," said Mr. Isaac.

Mr. Cockrum has yet to decide if he will present an opening statement at the start of the defense case and give his witness list to the prosecution and Court, by this Monday.

In response to a question by an alternate juror, there was a stipulation in Court today made on the record that "St. Bernard's Church as well as the Bruno residence are in Humboldt County, California." This will be presented in writing to the jurors.

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